Defining Reality...

Well in the discussion of my last thread there was a litle sidebar on how our own beliefs affect reality. I went ahead and gave my own explanation of how reality works, and I’m making a new thread for the sake of exploring, changing, and arguing my definition. Here’s how it started:

ooh wow fun! eheh… this sounds like the lead in to a HUGE debate we had in my TOK (Theory Of Knowledge) class. To take a diversion from the creationism bent for a moment, let’s discuss the makeup of reality, shall we?

ahem IMHO as formed by an exaustive debate a little while ago…

Reality is the sum of every internal personal interpretation(and constant reinerpretation) of every one of our perceptions, as filtered through the previously existent notions of “reality” that have been formed by perceptions from birth. [In this case “perception” being us “perceiving” things]. Every perception we have is received into the conglomeration of our “reality” by passing through a filter of previous knowledge at some point on the spectrum between pure reason and pure emotion. We are constantly perceiving the world around us and thus constantly building our current understanding and knowledge. Every time a new interpreted perception is blended into our reality(i.e. constantly), every other part of that reality is reinterpreted through the now slightly redefined filters. If and when one part of our previously accepted reality is changed in reinterpretation, every other part including the one that caused the change is then reinterpreted, and so on.

Thus our mind is constantly perceiving, interpreting, and reinterpreting itself, and the sum definition of all the current interpretations at any one given moment in time is our current reality. Now usually the changes that are occuring to our reality are relatively minor. For example, I move my cup over 3 inches. I perceive that it is cold, that it is half-empty, and that it is now 3 inches displaced. This changes my reality, because when I leave the room, I know that there is a cold, half full cup in the new spot. When I return to find the cup empty, this new perception is interpreted through the part of my reality which states that logically, my cup that is empty and slightly displaced is so because someone else drank it. This new perception is then interpreted through the part of my current reality built on the perception that there is only one other person in the house. The resultant addition to my reality is that I now know that at a previous point in time in my reality, that other person drank the rest of my water.

Now, as far as belief is concerned, technically EVERY aspect of our perceived reality is belief, because we BELEIVE it to be so, where belief is our mental assertion based on our reality at the time. However, the definition of belief that you are reffering to is one of the many interpretive subsets of our own reality. Remember the bit about the spectrum of pure reason and pure emotion? In simple terms, pure emotion is not “emotion” as we know it, but pure unreasonable “feeling” about something. Pure reason is interpretation based entirely on defined “facts” of reality with zero conjecture. Every new perception is interpreted along every possible point and variation along this spectrum simultaneously. Then, depending on the person and their current structural reality, the large majority of these interpretations are dismissed and archived outside of the defined reality until new perceptions render them more feasible.

Usually, only one or possibly two slightly different interpretations are added to the internal reality, but when it comes to perceptions of things that there is little or no interpretation for in the current reality, a second and entirely different set of interpretations is created as a subset of the person reality, as opposed to becoming a part of it, and is reffered to as precedence or explaination whenever a perception is encountered that is inexplicable for the “actual” reality. This subset is the subset of the “supernatural,” and the reference to it without fully assimilating it into the internal definition of reality is the process of “belief” as you are referring to it.

Now look back at your question: “My question is: How would you know the current belief in science does not affect reality? More simply, that belief affects reality?”

The “belief” in science is the reference to science as a subset of reality that is not entirely “proven” to be a part of that reality, but it is a subset that, being an interpretation through the side of the spectrum closer to reason (which is the side that is in most people usually the more accepted for adding to the definition of reality), is “closer” to reality than the “supernatural” subset is. Thus, in graphic terms, if the “science” subset is “closer” to what is part of “reality” than the “supernatural” subset, then it will be referred to “first” when something needs explaining.

Therefore, you see, the current “belief in science” DOES affect reality. However, that belief affects the consensual “group reality” only insofar as the “world around us” reality is our definition of reality as filtered through the definitions of the rest of humanity(or at least those whose beliefs we have perceived). If the majority of the people whose definitions of reality you encounter “believe” in the scientific method, then that will affect how you interpret your reality. The “world around us” reality can only be seen thorough the personal interpretation of the individual viewing it, and thus can only be defined insofar as it is for that individual.

I think my explaination of reality (again, submitted IMHO) speaks to the rest of what you wrote too.
Alright Dopers! Tell me what you think, and how I could rework it, w/e.

Reality is simply experience. If you can’t/won’t/don’t experience something, it’s not reality for you. If you are very rich, going hungry without a shelter is not reality for you. You may have knowledge that it is the reality of others, but lack of experience keeps you from really understanding it. Knowledge of, is not the same as experience of. Poor people give far more money to charity than the rich do, on a percentage of income basis, because they know what it is like to experience being poor.

You can learn all the knowledge in the world, and still be unable to use any of it.
Experience is the key, do it, feel it, live it, that is your reality.

Everyone knows intellectually there is a lot of ocean on this planet. But until you experience its vastness, peer into its depths, observe its inhabitants, taste and smell its waters, ocean is not a reality to you it’s only a thought.