Facing Facts/Reality is our common ground
Reality exists. If you bother to open the door before passing through, you are betting that reality exists. We live in the real world. We can wonder, explore, investigate, examine, observe, measure, and probe that real world.
There is only one reality. You and I, and everyone we know or will ever meet, all live in the same universe. The most certain of all basic principles is that contradictory propositions are not true simultaneously. Reliable knowledge about our world converges toward a consistent description of that world. Each phenomenon we observe fits into a single coherent and integrated description of our universe. As we continue to explore, the set of facts known about our universe continues to grow larger. Reliable epistemologies—ways of knowing—increase our shared common knowledge. Reality is our shared common ground.
Reality is vast, complex, dynamic, and surprising and despite extensive and on-going exploration, discovery, and research efforts, the total collection of all existing evidence represents only a small fraction of our universe. Each of us experiences only a tiny sliver of reality. Each piece of evidence is a glimpse of reality as if seen through a fog.
For evidence to be readily available, it must appear in some form in some place that is reasonably accessible. Accessible repositories of evidence are finite and are necessary curated—someone or something selects what is contained in each collection and what is omitted. Censorship in many forms restricts access to much evidence.
When we are young, much of what we learn is based on evidence selected for us by others. Cultural influences determine the languages we learn, the customs we are taught, the traditions we uphold, the behaviors we observe, what is taught in schools, the ethics that are espoused and practiced, and the ideologies we value.
As we get older, we have more opportunities to select the evidence we study. Our approaches will determine what questions we choose to explore, what evidence we seek out, how gullible or skeptical we are regarding various forms of evidence, what we decide is true or false, and what we choose to believe or reject.
Each of us has some way of choosing our beliefs. Because false beliefs are more likely to be harmful than true beliefs, each of us has a moral duty to choose true beliefs. This requires us to choose our beliefs carefully and consistently. We have an obligation to know how we know, to describe how we choose our beliefs, to choose true beliefs, and to continuously improve our skill in choosing true beliefs.
Perceptions are vivid. Seeing things from our own point of view is always easier, and first-hand experiences seem more real than understanding another's point of view can ever be. Our eyes, nose, taste buds, tactile sensors, and ears connect directly only to our brain. Only you experience first-hand the direct sensory input of the world; you, your self, is the observer. This raw sensory input is interpreted and gains meaning through your unique perceptions and past experiences. Nonetheless, perceptions are personal, and we can be misled by illusions. It is often a mistake to generalize our personal perceptions beyond our own experiences.
Each of us creates and maintains a collection of mental models we use as our conception of the world. This is called our worldview and we use this worldview to interpret observations, make decisions, and plan for the future. We may be unaware of the nature, extent, and influences of our particular worldview. Many people are not consciously aware of their worldview, and they may struggle to describe or explain their worldview.
Any number of worldviews is possible. It is likely that each of us hold a worldview that is somewhat different from others. Of all the possible worldviews, one particular worldview is especially important. That is the worldview that corresponds to reality as closely as our best current understanding of reality allows. Because reality exists, we can examine reality, and we can align our worldview with reality. Because we all live in one world, reality is our common ground.
Reality is our common ground. Embrace reality, study reality, and accept reality as your guide to what you can change and what you cannot change. Enjoy exploring reality as you discover the vast opportunities it provides.