I have been pondering the interaction of multiple realities for some time. How is it that, if reality is based on perception, some realities seem to dominate the realities of others in spite of the will of the individual? I would submit that the nature of communication comes into play here, in a very powerful role. In order to understand the nature of communication, one must understand that communication is a socio-cultural activity.
At the most fundamental level, communication is the act of deriving meaning from abstract symbols in the context of the culture in which they are utilized. In producing, interpreting or sharing communication, we are taking part in an act which is sanctioned by the culture we are interacting in. It is not individuals, but their culture which assigns meaning to individual and composite elements of the abstract, be they audible or visual elements. For example, to most Americans of English speaking descent, the abstract symbols “Nee hao” have no meaning, but to those who are immersed in a culture that incorporates Chinese language and culture, it is interpreted as “Hello.”
It cannot be said that the abstract symbols so arranged have meaning in and of themselves, nor can it be said that the individuals who are communicating are establishing meaning for their communication. Rather, it is the group to which the individuals belong which assigns meaning to combinations of phonemes and dictates acceptable and unacceptable uses of such abstractions. In this manner, through cooperation and education, we are able to not only assign meaning, but to create meaning of our own. The universe need not dictate that I am hungry, but my ability, or even my desire, to communicate meaning may serve as the basis for the reality of my statement.
The same is true of a shared reality. In choosing to participate with other individuals in a meaningful manner, we are forced to interpret reality in a cooperative manner in order to derive meaning from our experiences. That is to say, we lend our perceptions to and may even push aside aspects of our own reality, in order to interact with other beings in their realities. The question has been raised, “Why is it that in some instances (such as two rival teams in a competition), one reality can overpower an equal and opposing reality?” The answer is fairly simple. One reality must choose to be dominated in order to allow the two realities to interact and produce meaning to individuals with a group. Sometimes we have to choose to accept the reality of others as our own in order to sustain the complex yet illusory world we have chosen to interact in.
Humans are constantly making and remaking our world in order to incorporate new knowledge and perspectives. We adjust to new interactions, and we derive meaning and understanding from these perspectives and interactions. We cannot do this if we refuse to accommodate the realities of others. In a very real way, we acknowledge the validity of the realities of others and give acquiescence to their reality, to their perspectives and meaning. We co-operate, or operate with others, to provide the foundations necessary for a group understanding of the world and our place in it. We have unlimited free will, including our decisions to live, work, and love with other sentient beings in a world predicated on perception so that we can learn who we are, why we’re here, and what we need to learn to be at peace.
So…what kind of reality are you building? What are you trying to learn? What concessions are you making in your daily life? Are you choosing to limit yourself by abiding by the realities of those around you, or are you letting others help you to grow and blossom into the master you were born to be?