Sunday, 22 January 2017

Reality

In Alan Moore's Jerusalem (London, 2016), pp. 805-806, Alma Warren:

walks through Northampton;

thinks about people, issues and memories;

supposes that all the other pedestrians are similarly preoccupied;

reflects that reality is all these "...illusions, memories, anxieties, ideas and speculations, constant in six billion minds." (pp. 805-806)

If, by "reality," we mean everything that exists, then reality is much more than the contents of six billion minds on one planet. If we mean the world as experienced by humanity in general, then she is closer to being correct. However, the world is bigger than our ideas of it. If A and B converse about the world, then three factors are involved:

A's world-view;
B's world-view;
the world.

The third factor is bigger than either or both of the first two and is full of surprises. For example, I would have denied that there could ever be a Jeremy Corbyn movement inside the British Labour Party. And, while the Corbynites must be encouraged to organize and campaign, I think that it remains a dangerous illusion to believe that the Labour Party itself can ever be or become the instrument of social transformation. Indeed, Corbyn is compromised and held back by the Parliamentary Labour Party which has tried to remove him despite his overwhelming endorsement by the membership.

Having identified reality with the contents of six billion minds, i.e., with the sum total of all our world-views, Alma goes on to reflect that:

"The actual events and circumstances of the world are just the sweaty and material tip of this immense and ghostly iceberg..." (p. 806)

However, I believe that material and economic conditions and circumstances determine world-views, not vice versa. Accumulation of a surplus led to class divisions which led to kingship which led to the idea of the divine right of kings. The abstract idea did not precede the social relationship although it was possible for generations of humanity to believe that the idea had come first. The idea was thought to have existed first in the mind of God or in the minds of the founders of civilizations...

Alma reflects that:

"...no individual being can conceivably experience...the entirety..." of reality (p. 806)

- and therefore wonders:

"...just whom or what is reality real to." (p. 806)

But she has answered her question. No individual being can experience all of reality. Reality can be real without being, in its entirety, experientially, real to anyone. I argued with a guy who kept trying to say that, if an event was not experienced, then it did not happen, to which I replied "non sequitor." There must have been events before the first conscious being began to exist, as a result of which that being began to exist.

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