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Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. ~ Philip K. Dick

Reality in everyday usage means "the state of things as they actually exist." The term Reality, in a wider sense indicates the whole of which everything is a part, including everything that exists, has existed, or can exist, whether it is observable, comprehensible, or contradictory in regard to various sciences, philosophies, or any system of perception or analysis.

CONTENT : A - F , G - L , M - R , S - Z , See also , External links


Quotes are arranged alphabetically by author

A - F[edit]

Reality has a well-known liberal bias. ~ Stephen Colbert
Reality leaves a lot to the imagination. ~ John Lennon
  • Shinji: I don't understand. I don't understand what reality is.
Rei: You can't bridge the gap between your own truth and the reality of others.
Shinji: I don't know where to find happiness.
Rei: So you only find happiness in your dreams.
Shinji: Then... this is not reality? This world where no one exists?
Rei: No. It is only a dream.
Shinji: Then I don't exist here either.
Rei: This convenient fabrication is your attempt to change reality.
Shinji: Is that wrong?
Rei: You were using fantasy to escape reality.
Shinji: Why can't I dream that I'm alone?
Rei: That is not a dream. That is a substitute for reality.

[Another shot of the theatre. A few seconds later, the scene dissolves into a shot of the same theatre, now empty]

Shinji: So where is my dream?
Rei: It is a continuation of reality.
Shinji: But where is my reality.
Rei: It is at the end of your dream.
  • Nothing is wholly obvious without becoming enigmatic. Reality itself is too obvious to be true.
    • Jean Baudrillard, in The Perfect Crime (1993), as translated by Ian Michel and William Sarah (1995)
  • My God, how can you stand such things, children? They say, "Mom, don't you know it is only television, it is not real."
    • Dr. Lauretta Bender [1] Testimony of Dr. Lauretta Bender Testimony of Dr. Lauretta Bender, senior psychiatrist, Belleveu hospital Newyork N.Y.
  • He who has the bigger stick has the better chance of imposing his definitions of reality.
    • Peter Berger, "The Social Construction of Reality", p. 109, 1966
  • I myself find the division of the world into an objective and a subjective side much too arbitrary. The fact that religions through the ages have spoken in images, parables, and paradoxes means simply that there are no other ways of grasping the reality to which they refer. But that does not mean that it is not a genuine reality. And splitting this reality into an objective and a subjective side won't get us very far.
  • Things and actions are what they are, and the consequences of them will be what they will be: why, then, should we desire to be deceived?
  • Stellar wars are a sort of parallel reality in the filmic imagination, terrestrial wars are still today a harsh daily reality.
    • Fausto Cercignani in: Brian Morris, Simply Transcribed. Quotations from Writings by Fausto Cercignani, 2014, quote 45
  • There's times to be real, and there's times to be phony. That's right, I said it, phony! You think I'm this nice in real life? Fuck that, son! That's just 'cause I'm on TV. I'd pull my balls out right now... skeet skeet skeet skeet!
  • Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
    • Philip K. Dick, in "How To Build A Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later" (1978)

G - L[edit]

  • The Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.
    • J. B. S. Haldane, Possible Worlds and Other Papers (1927), p. 286
    • Often paraphrased: The world is not only stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.
  • The foolish read to escape reality; the wise surrender to it.
    • Tom Heehler, Well-Spoken Thesaurus: The Most Powerful Ways to Say Everyday Words and Phrases, p. 176
  • Reality can take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut.
    • Stephen King, in the introduction to Nightmares and Dreamscapes

M - R[edit]

  • Your goals, minus your doubts, equal your reality.
  • It is not the form of things that must be attended to but their spirit. The real is what matters, not the apparent. In politics, reality is that which is unseen.
    • José Martí, in The Monetary Conference of the American Republics (1891)
It is not the form of things that must be attended to but their spirit. The real is what matters, not the apparent. In politics, reality is that which is unseen. ~ José Martí
Psychologically speaking, this present moment is all we have. ~ Rollo May
Reality is what you make of it. ~ "Prot" in "K-PAX"
  • The first thing necessary for a constructive dealing with time is to learn to live in the reality of the present moment. For psychologically speaking, this present moment is all we have.
    • Rollo May, in Man’s Search for Himself (1953)
  • Consciousness is unquantifiable, a ghost in the machine, barely considered real at all, though in a sense this flickering mosaic of awareness is the only true reality that we can ever know.
  • Ideas, unlike solid structures, do not perish. They remain immortal, immaterial and everywhere, like all Divine things. Ideas are a golden, savage landscape that we wander unaware, without a map. Be careful: in the last analysis, reality may be exactly what we think it is.
  • Il n'est rien de réel que la rêve et l'amour.
    • Translation: Nothing is real but dreams and love.
    • Anna de Noailles, Le Cœur innombrable (1901), IV, "Chanson du temps opportun"
  • Kyle: Dude, this book says there could be infinite alternate realities to every reality.
Cartman: Sure Kyle.

Kyle: Oh my God, this book says that negative and positive are the same thing; that real and not real are one.

Kyle: I can't deal with it, Stan. I mean, all the stuff I've been reading; I really don't think I exist!

Kyle: Light is a wave unless it's observed? That means all matter is just a wave. [Cartman opens the window and floats in grinning] Nothing's real! Reality in a nuh- Oh God, it's happening! [begins to disappear]
    • South Park The Tooth Fairy Tats 2000 written by Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Nancy M. Pimental
  • Cartman: What the hell do you think you're doing declaring leprechauns aren't real?!
General: What?
Cartman: You just can't declare that imaginary things aren't real! Who are you to say what's real?! Think about it: is blue real? Is love really real?
Lab Tech: Imaginary things are things made up by people, like Santa and Rudolph.
Tom: Yeah, and they detract from real things, like Jesus.
Tech 1: Maybe Jesus is imaginary too.
Tom: Ooooh, you'd better not say that! You'll go to hell!
Tech 7: It's possible that hell is also imaginary.
Tech 2: Uh so then, we're about to nuke hell... that's a good thing, right?
Personnel: [not all at once] Hell yeah, that's a good thing, yeah.
Lab Tech: What if heaven is imaginary? We'd be nuking heaven.
Tech 3: Yeah, but it wouldn't be real.
Lab Tech 2: So it'd be all right.
Cartman: Look, maybe they're all part of the same thing. Santa and Jesus and hell and- leprechauns. Maybe they're all real in the same way, right?
Tom: Santa Claus and leprechauns are imaginary, but Jesus and hell are real!
Tech 3: Well then, what about Buddha?
Tom: Well of course he's imaginary!
Lab Tech 3: Awww, see? Now you're being intolerant, Tom.
Tech 7: Am I real?
General: All right, enough! Keep that kid out of the way and let's get back to the nuking at hand!
Cartman: [two guards haul him away] No! Leprechauns are real, Goddammit!
  • Kyle: It's all real. Think about it. Haven't Luke Skywalker and Santa Claus affected your lives more than most real people in this room? I mean, whether Jesus is real or not, he...he's had a bigger impact on the world than any of us have. And the same could be said of Bugs Bunny and Superman and Harry Potter. They've changed my life, changed the way I act on the Earth. Doesn't that make them kind of "real." They might be imaginary, but they're more important than most of us here. And they're all gonna be around long after we're dead. So in a way, those things are more realer than any of us.
    • South Park Imaginationland: The Movie written by Trey Parker
  • Rust: If the only thing keeping a person decent is the expectation of divine reward then, brother, that person is a piece of shit. And I’d like to get as many of them out in the open as possible. You gotta get together and tell yourself stories that violate every law of the universe just to get through the goddamn day? What’s that say about your reality?
  • A fundamental value in the scientific outlook is concern with the best available map of reality. The scientist will always seek a description of events which enables him to predict most by assuming least. He thus already prefers a particular form of behavior. If moralities are systems of preferences, here is at least one point at which science cannot be said to be completely without preferences. Science prefers good maps.
    • Anatol Rapoport Science and the goals of man: a study in semantic orientation. Greenwood Press, 1950/1971. p. 224; Partly cited in: Book review by Harold G. Wren, in Louisiana Law Review, Vol 13, nr 4, May 1953
  • The jnani, following the path of knowledge, always reason about the Reality saying, "not this, not this." Brahman is neither "this" nor "that"; It is neither the universe nor its living beings. Reasoning in this way, the mind becomes steady. Finally it disappears and the aspirant goes into samadhi. This is the Knowledge of Brahman. It is the unwavering conviction of the jnani that Brahman alone is real and the world is illusory. All these names and forms are illusory, like a dream. What Brahman is cannot be described. One cannot even say that Brahman is a Person. This is the opinion of the jnanis, the followers of Vedanta. But the bhaktas accept all the states of consciousness. They take the waking state to be real also. They don't think the world to be illusory, like a dream. They say that the universe is a manifestation of the God's power and glory. God has created all these — sky, stars, moon, sun, mountains, ocean, men, animals. They constitute His glory. He is within us, in our hearts. Again, He is outside. The most advanced devotees say that He Himself has become all this — the 24 cosmic principles, the universe, and all living beings. The devotee of God wants to eat sugar, and not become sugar. (All laugh.) Do you know how a lover of God feels? His attitude is: "O God, Thou art the Master, and I am Thy servant. Thou art the Mother, and I Thy child." Or again: "Thou art my Father and Mother. Thou art the Whole, and I am a part." He does not like to say, "I am Brahman." They yogi seeks to realize the Paramatman, the Supreme Soul. His ideal is the union of the embodied soul and the Supreme Soul. He withdraws his mind from sense objects and tries to concentrate on the Paramatman. Therefore, during the first stage of his spiritual discipline, he retires into solitude and with undivided attention practices meditation in a fixed posture.
    But the reality is one and the same; the difference is only in name. He who is Brahman is verily Atman, and again, He is the Bhagavan. He is Brahman to the followers of the path of knowledge, Paramatman to the yogis, and Bhagavan to the lovers of God.
    • Ramakrishna, in The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (1942), p. 132
  • Hudson: Movies, television, video games... These days, it's hard to tell what's real and what's not.
  • Some people think that we are stuck in physical reality like flies in flypaper or victims in quicksand, so that each motion we make only worsens our predicament and hastens our extinction. Others see the universe as a sort of theater into which we are thrust at birth and from which we depart forever at death. In the backs of their minds people with either attitude will see a built-in threat in each new day; even joy will be suspect because it, too, must end in the body's eventual death. I used to feel this way. When I fell in love with Rob, my joy served to double the underlying sense of tragedy I felt, as if death mocked me all the more by making life twice as precious. I saw each day bringing me closer to a total extinction that I could hardly imagine, but which I resented with growing vehemence.
  • There is no reality but God,
    says the completely surrendered sheik, who is an ocean for all beings.
    • Jelaluddin Rumi, in The Essential Rumi (1995) translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne, A. J. Arberry and Reynold Nicholson; "The Grasses" in Ch. 4 Spring Giddiness, p. 44
  • You knock at the door of Reality. You shake your thought wings, loosen your shoulders, and open.
    • Jelaluddin Rumi, in The Essential Rumi (1995) translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne, A. J. Arberry and Reynold Nicholson; "The Gift of Water" Ch. 18 The Three Fish, p. 200

S - Z[edit]

  • Each of us lives,dependent and bound by our individual knowledge and our awareness. All that is what we call reality, however, both knowledge and awareness are equivocal. One's reality might be another's illusion. We all live inside our own fantasies.
  • It from bit.
    • John Wheeler, as quoted in Black Hole Computers by Lloyd Seth and Y. Jack Ng, in Scientific American (November 2004), p. 53
  • Reality... What A Concept!
  • It from qubit.
    • Paola Zizzi, quoted in Black Hole Computers by Lloyd Seth and Y. Jack Ng, in Scientific American (November 2004), p. 54

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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