“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”
Philip K. Dick
“Then You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Computers, the internet and the ubiquitousness of news infotainment and social media have become a blessing and a curse. Wikipedia and google giveth knowledge and in some sense they taketh it away. And I find it remarkable how an oft repeated meme on Facebook becomes truth or “reality” for many. I don’t do Twitter or Instagram and so I can only imagine what they add to the chaos.
Several decades ago I started to write an op-ed piece for the Orlando Sentinel about lies, liars and lying and how pernicious a practice lying was because a lie usurped someone’s reality—literally stealing one’s right to the truth. I never finished this piece and I wish I could find what I had written. I would like to compare what I was thinking in 1985 with my views today.
The more one stares at reality the more it seems that reality is squishy and malleable and very much in the eye of the beholder. I believe that quantum physics tends to support that statement. We live in each others reality only to varying degrees.
“The electric train ran under the rug and found love.”
Bernadine lived in a very exclusive reality. She was a chronic mental patient who had spent many years in one of Illinois’ state hospitals, and this quote is a classic example of what psychiatrists term “crazy talk”–but also rich in symbol and metaphor. I am not betraying any confidences because Bernadine is long dead. She threw herself into the Rock River and drowned in August, 1969. For her, reality was a lonely and painful experience.
“What is truth?”
Pontius Pilate ~ John 18:38
This morning I was thinking about life’s big questions like irreducible truths and what is real—lying in bed going over questions that have haunted me since about age twelve. And then the Holy Spirit most graciously provided an answer: “In Him we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:28 Paul was trying to explain Jesus to a group of Athenian philosophers. He apparently reached at least two: Dionysius the Areopagite and Damaris. As for me, that was a verse I was familiar with and I think referenced in another blog a few years ago. And it was also part of Pastor Joel’s text this past Sunday in his message about our idols. But this morning it occurred to me that for we believers Jesus is the only reality—or at least should be—and as the old hymn says: “all other ground is sinking sand”
He is: The Way, The Truth and The Life. I only wish Bernadine had known.