Reality: A Personal Construct

Our perception of reality is a consensus construction, a complex of agreements about how things are based upon shared experiences, the stories we’re told and the images that normalize meaning and values within the group. 

To affirm our reality and maintain order and stability in our lives we look for, find and support the people, ideas, behaviors and resources that are in accord with our perception. We see what we want to see. And we find what we look for. Therefore, as we see so we create. For example, neither strict socialism nor pure capitalism are viable in the long run because they are based on perceptions that are out of harmony with nature. 

The first law of nature is grow or die. If in the human body each cell was required to function for the good of the whole with only the promise that it would be maintained, the law of energy conservation predicts that the cells would reduce their functioning to the minimum required for survival. Without incentives for the cells to grow, innovate and prosper from their effort, the body would suffer a crisis of meaning and eventually die from debilitating depression. In human societies, because not everyone is willing to work for and behave in ways that are good of the whole—and who’s to say what’s good?—corruption inevitably leads to breakdown.    

Likewise, if the cells in the body operate indiscriminately and unimpeded on the basis of self-interest, some of them will do whatever they can to maximize their gain irregardless of the good of the whole. At the cellular level this is cancer. In human societies unregulated capitalism promotes ever-increasing materialism and consumerism which eventually degrades the environment. Economically it fosters greed, particularly for those who have the means to exert power over others. Eventually the environment can’t support the whole and as the gap between haves and have-nots increases, so does conflict. Breakdown.

Breakdowns are important and natural. They teach us what does not work and lead to breakthroughs, innovations that are more in harmony with nature. 

Nature, as demonstrated in the patterns of evolution, favors a balance between competition and cooperation, between the good of the individual and that of the whole. And it is perception that drives the process. Human evolution is an evolution in consciousness, requiring us to constantly modify our perception of ourselves, each other and the planet.     

Edgar Mitchell, Astronaut

My other sites—

Contemplative Photography

David L. Smith Photography

Ancient Maya Cultural

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