Archive for October 26th, 2012

October 26, 2012

Reality Tunnel

Anaïs Nin

Reality tunnel is a term coined by Timothy Leary and popularized by Robert Anton Wilson, akin to the idea of representative realism (equivalent to the accepted view of ‘perception’ in natural science that states that we do not and cannot perceive the external world as it really is but know only our ideas and interpretations of the way the world is). The theory states that, with a subconscious set of mental ‘filters’ formed from their beliefs and experiences, every individual interprets the same world differently, hence ‘Truth is in the eye of the beholder.’ According to Wilson, ‘Every kind of ignorance in the world all results from not realizing that our perceptions are gambles.

We believe what we see and then we believe our interpretation of it, we don’t even know we are making an interpretation most of the time. We think this is reality.’ The idea does not necessarily imply that there is no objective truth; rather that our access to it is mediated through our senses, experience, conditioning, prior beliefs, and other non-objective factors. The implied individual world each person occupies is said to be their reality tunnel. The term can also apply to groups of people united by beliefs: we can speak of the fundamentalist Christian reality tunnel or the ontological naturalism reality tunnel.

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