There is an ongoing debate about reality. Seriously, go find any online philosophy forum (the term forum here meaning anywhere people can discuss things online, be it a bulletin board, IRC, whatever), an almost every single discussion boils down to it. What’s real? What’s perceived? Is perception reality or is reality perception? Does my butt look big in these jeans? While I’m no expert on any of this, you’re here reading this so I’m going to pretend to be an authority. And as that authority, I’m going to say this. Perception IS reality.
There’s this thing that everyone’s been going on and on about. You’ve heard about it. It’s quantum theory, and it’s as close to proof as you can get for the existence of God. Interestingly, it’s also as close to proof as you can get for the nonexistence of God. That’s what makes Quantum Theory great (or a load of donkey squat, depending on your frame of reference). I can’t hope to start explaining Quantum theory, but one part of it explains that everything that can happen actually does. I think this is called the Many Universes theory.
Basically, every time something happens, it also doesn’t happen, and the universe splits into two so that both outcomes exist. This goes on and on. Since there is fundamentally an infinite number of possibilities, there is an infinite number of universes, and that number is expanding at an infinite rate. Not sure how infinity gets bigger, mind you.
The thrust of this whole post, in fact, is that this particular aspect of quantum theory has changed science. It’s changed philosophy, and all sorts of other fields of interest. It’s changed literature, since every author in the world is doing something with what my sister now calls Quantum Religion. What I haven’t seen, but am exploring here, is how quantum theory affects psychology.
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder which affects about one percent of the population. Despite popular opinion that schizophrenia means a split personality (in reality a disorder called MPD, or Multiple Personality Disorder), it is a disorder which affects perception. Those afflicted are subject to incredibly troubling distortions of perception, from hearing voices to full blown hallucinogenic events – seeing things that don’t exist.
And that is where quantum theory becomes relevant. If every possibility exists, than maybe schizophrenic people are not, in fact, perceiving things that aren’t there, but are perceiving things in alternate realities. While that may be academic, since the effect on the afflicted person is the same no matter what you call it, it does raise questions when treatment is considered.
Because treatment can help control the distortion of perception experienced by a schizophrenic person, the origin of these perceptions becomes important. If the perceptions are glimpses of alternate realities, it means that the barrier between different quantum realities are internal, not external. Because the barriers can be effectively closed by chemical reactions in the brain, it becomes likely that they can be opened by chemical means as well.
And since “reality” as we know it is simply a perception of one of many realities, doesn’t it then become possible to view, and possibly change our “default” reality?
To quote Keanu Reeves, whoa.
Deep. But it’s interesting. It suggests to me that reality is what we make it. Such a suggestion seems to validate many ideas traditionally considered “impossible” in the past. Maybe man really can move mountains, if he believes enough. Maybe anything is possible if we truly put our minds to it.
Maybe perception really is reality.