Reality

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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.

Arranged alphabetically by author or source:
A · B · C · D · E · F · G · H · I · J · K · L · M · N · O · P · Q · R · S · T · U · V · W · X · Y · Z · See also · External links

Quotes[edit]

A[edit]

Reality leaves a lot to the imagination. ~ John Lennon
  • Any author who uses mathematics should always express in ordinary language the meaning of the assumptions he admits, as well as the significance of the results obtained. The more abstract his theory, the more imperative this obligation. In fact, mathematics are and can only be a tool to explore reality. In this exploration, mathematics do not constitute an end in itself, they are and can only be a means.
  • 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.

B[edit]

  • Suddenly the real was no longer merely a stepping stone to the possible.
    The real was all there was.
  • 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
  • REALITY, n. The dream of a mad philosopher. That which would remain in the cupel if one should assay a phantom. The nucleus of a vacuum.
  • 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.
  • Whoever believes that the only important reality is the realm of ideas, of the spirit, should not occupy himself with science. The scientist must be a realist, he must accept his sense impressions as more than hallucinations, as messages of a real outer world. In disentangling these messages he uses ideas of a very abstract kind, group theory in spaces of many or even infinitely many dimensions and things like that, but finally he has his observational invariants representing real things with which he learns to operate like any craftsman with his wood or metal.
  • 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?

C[edit]

  • 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!
  • In place of great thinkers physics turned to number crunching and atom smashing, which remains its chief occupation, now on a billion-dollar scale. There were exceptions like John von Neumann, John Archibald Wheeler, and David Bohm, who continued the search for a link between mind and matter. Respected but sidelined in favor of bigger particle accelerators and telescopes, all of these thinkers now enjoy a latter-day revenge, so to speak. Having exhausted the models of reality that discounted and ignored consciousness, forward-looking physicists now realize that mind must be accounted for, which seems like a simple realization except that it was clouded behind a screen, the biggest factor being naïve realism. Satisfied with the common-sense view of reality in their everyday life, physicists were happy to think of mind as “not my job.”
    A huge hurdle remains, however, which is the enormous seduction of physical explanations. What is science without them? What is life if we get rid of relying on the five senses? These aren’t rhetorical questions. Life would be transformed if we abandoned the lure of the physical world and the mistaken data of the five senses. The human mind is uniquely able to go beyond appearances, and when we do, the destination is always consciousness.
  • Normally, we take our reference frame for granted; we mistake it for “reality.”
    • K. C. Cole, The Universe and the Teacup (1998), p. 193

D[edit]

  • Already in 1948, observations... agreed with quantum mechanics, not with local realism.
  • 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"
  • Materialistically bound, traditional science assumes that anything that cannot be measured, tested in a laboratory, or probed by the five senses or their technological extensions simply doesn't exist. It's "not real." The consequence: all of reality has been collapsed into physical reality. Spiritual, or what I would call nonphysical, dimensions of reality have been run out of town.... This clashes with the "perennial philosophy," that philosophical consensus spanning ages, religions, traditions, and cultures, which describes different but continuous dimensions of reality. These run from the most dense and least conscious - what we'd call "matter" - to the least dense and most conscious, which we'd call spiritual. ... "Where's the proof of this Greater Reality?" you ask. I offer only an analogy: A battery of scientists can get together and tell you about all the scientific proof for the fact that bananas are bitter. But all you have to do is taste one, once, to realize that there is this whole other aspect to bananas. Ultimately, proof lies not in intellectual arguments, but in being touched in some way by the sacred within and without. Eckhart Tolle masterfully opens us to that possibility.
  • 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)

F[edit]

  • We have always had a great deal of difficulty understanding the world view that quantum mechanics represents. At least I do, because I'm an old enough man that I haven't got to the point that this stuff is obvious to me. Okay, I still get nervous with it.... You know how it always is, every new idea, it takes a generation or two until it becomes obvious that there's no real problem. I cannot define the real problem, therefore I suspect there's no real problem, but I'm not sure there's no real problem.
    • Richard Feynman, in Simulating Physics with Computers appearing in International Journal of Theoretical Physics (1982) p. 471.
  • You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.
    • Buckminster Fuller, as quoted in Beyond Civilization : Humanity's Next Great Adventure (1999), by Daniel Quinn, p. 137.

H[edit]

  • Everything in this world is "PHURO" - transient. It has no reality. True reality is to proceed on the path of truth, to keep the company of saintly people, and to render service to men.
  • 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
  • I deny this reality. The reality is a computation matrix.

J[edit]

K[edit]

  • Reality can take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut.
    • Stephen King, in the introduction to Nightmares and Dreamscapes

L[edit]

  • It doesn’t have to be New York; it could have been Kokomo. I think the point is that having a fictional character come from a real place makes the character seem more real. When I was young, I loved to read Sherlock Holmes. And the fact that he lived on Baker Street in London, a real place, made me enjoy the stories more, with a greater feeling of authenticity.

M[edit]

  • [R]ealism. You know, in a way, the realists are right, they are always right. Even when they are morally wrong.
    • Kanan Makiya, as quoted in "Regrets Only?" (7 October 2007), by Dexter Filkins, The New York Times Magazine, New York: The New York Times Company
  • 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)
  • In the real world, people die. And no self promoting asshole in a fucking leotard can stop it.
    • James Mangold, Logan (2017)
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
  • 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.

R[edit]

  • 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
  • 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[edit]

  • Gentrification replaces most people's experiences with the perceptions of the privileged and calls that reality. In this way gentrification is dependant on telling us that things are better than they are—and this is supposed to make us feel happy. It's a strange concept of happiness as something that requires the denial of many other people's experiences. For some of us, on the other hand, the pusuit of reality is essential to happiness. Even if the process gets us in trouble. It is very hard to get a glimpse of what is actually happening when one is constantly being lied to, and it is even harder to articulate what we realize is actually happening while intuiting that punishment awaits.

T[edit]

If you can recognize illusion as illusion, it dissolves. The recognition of illusion is also its ending. Its survival depends on your mistaking it for reality. ~ Eckhart Tolle
  • Today's scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality.
    • Nikola Tesla "Radio Power Will Revolutionize the World" in Modern Mechanics and Inventions (July 1934)
  • Have you ever experienced, done, thought, or felt anything outside the Now? Do you think you ever will? Is it possible for anything to happen or be outside the Now? ...Nothing ever happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now... The future is an imagined Now, a projection of the mind. When the future comes, it comes as the Now. When you think about the future, you do it now. Past and future obviously have no reality of their own. Just as the moon has no light of its own, but can only reflect the light of the sun, so are past and future only pale reflections of the light, power, and reality of the eternal present. Their reality is "borrowed" from the Now. The essence of what I am saying here cannot be understood by the mind. The moment you grasp it, there is a shift in consciousness from mind to Being, from time to presence.
  • Finding Your Invisible And Indestructible Reality. our physical form is part of the illusion, so how can the body, the physical form, bring you to a realization of Being? The body that you can see and touch cannot take you into Being. But that visible and tangible body is only an outer shell, or rather a limited and distorted perception of a deeper reality. In your natural state of connectedness with Being, this deeper reality can be felt every moment as the invisible inner body, the animating presence within you. So to "inhabit the body' is to feel the body from within, to feel the life inside the body and thereby come to know that you are beyond the outer form. p. 72
  • What you perceive as a dense physical structure called the body, which is subject to disease, old age, and death, is not ultimately real - is not you. It is a misperception of your essential reality that is beyond birth and death, and is due to the limitations of your mind, which, having lost touch with Being, creates the body as evidence of its illusory belief in separation and to justify its state of fear. But do not turn away from the body, for within that symbol of impermanence, limitation, and death that you perceive as the illusory creation of your mind is concealed the splendor of your essential and immortal reality. Do not turn your attention elsewhere in your search for the Truth, for it is nowhere else to be found but within your body.
    Do not fight against the body, for in doing so you are fighting against your own reality. You are your body. The body that you can see and touch is only a thin illusory veil. Underneath it lies the invisible inner body, the doorway into Being, into Life Unmanifested. Through the inner body, you are inseparably connected to this unmanifested One Life - birthless, deathless, eternally present. Through the inner body, you are forever one with God. p. 75
  • All we can perceive, experience, think about, is the surface layer of reality, less than the tip of an iceberg. Underneath the surface appearance, everything is not only connected with everything else, but also with the Source of all life out of which it came.
    • Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose, (2005)
  • The quicker you are in attaching verbal or mental labels to things, people, or situations, the more shallow and lifeless your reality becomes, and the more deadened you become to reality, the miracle of life that continuously unfolds within and around you. In this way, cleverness may be gained, but wisdom is lost, and so are joy, love, creativity, and aliveness. They are concealed in the still gap between the perception and the interpretation. Of course we have to use words and thoughts. They have their own beauty – but do we need to become imprisoned in them? Words reduce reality to something the human mind can grasp, which isn’t very much.
    • Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose, (2005)
  • If you can recognize illusion as illusion, it dissolves. The recognition of illusion is also its ending. Its survival depends on your mistaking it for reality. In the seeing of who you are not, the reality of who you are emerges by itself. p. 20 When the ego is at war, know that it is no more than an illusion that is fighting to survive... All that is required to become free of the ego is to be aware of it, since awareness and ego are incompatible. Awareness is the power that is concealed within the present moment. p. 50
    • Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose, (2005)

U[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.

W[edit]

  • Cypher: You know, I know this steak doesn't exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain...that it is juicy...and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize? Ignorance is bliss.
  • 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!

Z[edit]

  • Once Zhuang Zhou dreamed he was a butterfly, a butterfly flitting and fl uttering around, happy with himself and doing as he pleased. He didn’t know he was Zhuang Zhou. Suddenly he woke up, and there he was, solid and unmistakable Zhuang Zhou. But he didn’t know if he were Zhuang Zhou who had dreamed he was a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming he was Zhuang Zhou. Between Zhuang Zhou and a butterfly, there must be some distinction! This is called the Transformation of Things.
  • 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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