Whenever I write, I attempt to remind myself of the absurdity of reality, and that even what we do understand, makes no real sense. The sheer fact that anything is there, is still an insurmountable mystery. It is the great unanswerable question, how did this all come to be? The Big Bang theory, although popular, is only a theory, and even if proven true cannot truly answer the question. If it were to be confirmed people would ask, how did the Big Bang come to occur? And the quest would continue.
Knowing this, we must recognise that what we consider reality, is but a pixel upon a screen. We know only a grain of sand in all the oceans of the earth. Yet what even is our reality? The majority of the “developed” world spend their free time gazing upon celebrities, “stars” and reality television. If an alien were to descend from space and observe us, they would look to our biggest points of attention, and Reality television they would find.
Yet, for such a concept to exist, it would imply we have more than just a flicker of knowledge of our reality.
For you see, the concept of reality is malleable. What is reality to a dog, is entirely different to what is reality to a human. And what is reality to a child in Nepal, may be the apocalypse to someone from California. Those who create reality TV shows aren’t physicists or philosophers intending to better explore the nature of existence, they are money makers, intendant on defining popular culture in areas where people have money. And how they succeed! One only needs to flick through the internet for two minutes before they stumble across a Jenner or Kardashian. Yet as Terence Mckenna states;
“There is no Kings X where grey bearded men tend to the sacred vestal fires of reality. There is no reality. There are only people who know this, and people who do not know this and are therefore controlled by the one’s that do!”
If “Reality” Television were even close to reality, who would watch it? If it were a show about a family who worked the same job each day and sat and had ordinary conversations each night, would you watch it? Reality TV is, in its very essence of being filmed, not real. The cast and environment have been selected, and situations curated in order to keep the “show” entertaining. This creates the hyperreality which French Philosopher Jean Baudrillard speaks of in his essay ‘Simulacra and Simulations’.
In it he states that technology has led us:
“into a space whose curvature is no longer that of the real, nor that of truth. The era of simulation is inaugurated by a liquidation of all referentials — worse: with their artificial resurrection in the systems of signs, a material more malleable than meaning.”
The human notion of what reality is, has become a voyeurism of hyperreality and abstraction. What we consider commonplace, has really been spoon-fed to us by those who seek to make a quick buck. Though is this indicative of a larger issue?
Our lives are lived through a technological lens, fed instructions left, right and centre about how to conduct ourselves as individuals. The interest in popular culture, as I’ve previously mentioned in other articles, appears to be in its safety and uniformity. It is like a societal defence mechanism whereby the prevailing mentality of uncertainty creates a grasping effect. We grasp at whatever notions of reality are handed down to us, whether it be a new definition of the “perfect partner”, a “love yourself” article or perhaps the hottest new song to listen to.
Like children sat upon a grandparents lap, we listen to tales of reality, handed down to us by those less immersed in our world than ourselves. Fear of being ostracised precludes individuals from making their own decisions, and instead think “What should I do? What would a normal person do?” which is where advertisers, politicians, propagandists and cultural engineers strike. They provide the answers to these questions, and because such vast amounts of people listen, their answers are made valid like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
What we need now, is narcissism. Obviously not to the point of death, but conversely, to the point of life. We currently sell short the validity of our own beliefs, be they in how to dress, what to say or how to act. We operate, generally speaking, according to the norms of our geography. To step outside of these norms is to be, as the verb suggests, an outsider. Yet if people fear being an outsider, what does it mean to be an insider? It appears that the centre point of our society is one of normality, standardisation and habit. We do what has already been done, and traverse along only the trodden path of the tried and true. One look into any history book will show you that every human that has accumulated any sort of legacy, was one who paved their own road. The one’s told about in stories are the ones who were brave and exploratory, and pushed the frontiers of human experience.
So with this I say, choose not accounting or business or any other “safe” career choice, for you then sell short what you bring to the table. By basing your decisions upon external influences, be they monetary, parental or cultural, you make yourself just another brick in the wall; a cog in the works of humanity, never truly exploring what exists inside of you.
Follow your heart and do what you love regardless of what people think, and ironically, you may carve a pathway of bravery for others to follow and look up to.