“The real poetry and beauty in life comes from an intense relationship with reality in all its aspects. Realism is in fact the ideal we must aspire to the highest point of human rationality.” – Robert Greene
It’s commonplace for individuals to consider their decisions and choices as rational. This is because as humanity there is our inherent desire to appear to be in control of our lives, our jobs and anything in between. On the same account, as much as we consider ourselves as rational beings, we are not always able to give any basis for some of the very things we so much are devoted to and consider rational choices. If I told you to take another persons’ life for example, you’d consider that a criminal act but at the same time may not be able to justify what makes it a crime. There is no concrete evidence to make it a crime other than the common notion and value for human life. This has morphed to be an integral part of international laws which means it’s globally accepted that human life is sacred.
Reality being a state of things as they actually exist as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them in some form puts our beliefs to the test. A while back I had a chance to read on socialization processes and how individuals get to perceive themselves in an environment and the environment in which they exist. In the process, it made sense that by being accustomed to a particular notion majority if not all people in a particular environment get used to that norm and treat it as the reality of how things are or should always be. It’s the very reason certain cultures in the business world may not be easy to change. Consider education for a moment. Post colonization in Africa, education was introduced as a means to train industrial workers to be able to work in the industries and farms. With this, the individual level of competence and mastery of the art made them get promotions to higher ranks with better privileges. Post the industrialization era being we got accustomed to this, we still maintain the same kind of trainings with not much additional value to our needs in the current circumstances.
Additionally, with extra qualifications in terms of academic achievements they were considered more qualified and better placed to service the needs of the corporations. This have driven the academic industry to a point that we have professors with limited if any practical knowledge on application of the concepts they have learnt. Unfortunately, in an era where this was the hallmark of competence they got high ranking jobs, shriveled innovation & creativity and the status quo was maintained. That’s one of the critical failures of this era.
I’ve been reading Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari and he explains the concept of reality as being composed majorly of objective reality (based on facts and evidence) and subjective reality (based on our perceptions and inherent gut feeling). These merge at an intersection and we get the inter-subjective reality where my subjective reality is informed or influenced by a common narrative that makes me believe things are made to be in a particular way. This is the notion that I alluded to in line with taking another persons’ life. It’s not what you feel and can justify but you’ve found it as a standard and accepted it to be real. He argues that through communication human communities have been formed and made to thrive. It’s on the same premise that corporations, religions and governments have been made to thrive and have dominance over the mass populations. Come to think of it from the point of Facebook forcing us to provide our data in order to use Whatsapp from February onwards otherwise we risk losing it. Being we’ve been made to believe in the power of communication through these channels we’ll either onboard or shift to another platform. Either way we buy a narrative of data privacy or focus on the communication.
Reality is clouded because we have so many interrelated and conflicting faculties to contend with to a point that you may not be able to pin point what you consider real. However, we are encouraged to try pursue our reality whatever that is. When we do, then should we sell that narrative and try influence others to join our cause for it’s only through this that we can drive meaningful change in different facets of our lives as communities. At the bare minimum, question the norms and widely accepted narratives.