Wednesday, December 07, 2011


Reality is overrated. Really.

On the other hand, this may be a meaningless claim given that it’s not at all clear what reality is.

Let’s stipulate that when we use the term “reality,” we’re talking about our everyday experience of the world, unmediated by any consciousness-altering substances or experiences.

But, of course, that begs the question (in the appropriate sense of the term, circular reasoning), because now we’re left wondering what such substances and experiences might be.

Does coffee count? Sugar? How about an hour and a half of yoga practice? Or what about if I get less than my usual eight hours or so of sleep a night? It seems like it’s going to be very difficult to establish what qualifies as “everyday experience.”

Suppose, then, we take some average as the baseline. Call “reality” something like “the everyday experience I have of the everyday mostly every day.” Fair enough.

In that case, then, yes, “reality” is indeed overrated. Granted, it is when one gets most of one’s productive work completed; it also provides a foundation for identifying what doesn’t qualify as reality, but I do think there’s still much to be said for stepping outside it on a fairly regular basis, at the very least for the opportunity to look in on it and see what’s going on from a different perspective.

Let it be understood that I’m not advocating any sort of questionable or illicit behavior here; I’m simply suggesting that what counts as “real” isn’t the only place to spend one’s time.

Naturally, there are innumerable ways to step outside the commonplace; it’s incumbent upon each of us to decide for him or herself how to do so. An extra cup of coffee in the morning, maybe; perhaps two spoons full of sugar instead of the usual single serving; who knows?

I’m going to try pedaling extra fast on my next bike ride home. Commonplace, no way. Unreal? I guess we’ll find out.


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