Things You Do Not Know

People have a tendency to conclude a whole lot from not very much. Their speculations can be mistaken for reality, their extrapolations unquestioned. I have joked about the phenomenon of self-diagnosed omniscience in this blog and I have introduced the concluding kangaroo, a being that jumps a great distance over chasms to form conclusions.

People also like to pontificate; evidence is rarely a major concern.

I first became aware of some oddities in my character, the summer of my 13th birthday. We went to Butlins at Pwllheli and I spent a lot of time walking along the Llyn peninsula. I did not want to be there with my parents. I was able to persuade various bartenders that the beers I was buying were for family.

The average man of the street has never heard of three or four pronged nagal beings. I was very much with the question as to who or what I was / am that summer. I even had a jacket like this at one stage.

While I was decorating this afternoon, it seemed to me that people may conclude about what I am up to and engaged in, based on the contents of this blog. They may be certain that they understand what is going on. They may forget that I choose what to put in the blog and what not to.

A long while back an American university was visiting the one that I worked at, with a view perhaps to forming an alliance. The delegation was “senior” and to help fill their diaries, I was delegated by the powers that be to talk about pastoral care, student support, transferable skills training, the tutorial system, science outreach and academic quality control. The delegation arrived at my office and we had an extended discussion which covered a lot of ground. They were a bunch of suits but very engaged in what I was saying. They started asking me if I had been to the USA before and made an informal invitation to come visit. Somewhat surprisingly they took my contact details and arranged a follow up meeting for the following day.

The next day two of them came to my office they had called the “mother-ship” and proceeded to offer me a job. They would pay for me to come visit for a fortnight to scope out. Then we could put together a plan for a new form of student liaison and care office campus wide. They suggested that I could have a big salary and choose my team.

While the negotiation about alliance was taking place, I was being head hunted spontaneously.

Nobody knew that this was going on, the seaside sounded attractive…

It was out of the blue…

People tend to conclude from within their own version of reality. As a consequence they do not include things which they do not know into their conclusion. They are unaware of the things which they do not know. This rarely inhibits conclusion forming.

Self-diagnosed omniscience if inaccurately or prematurely diagnosed is unaware of the things it does not know. It deems that there cannot possibly be any things which it does not know.


Alternate Realities

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack

And you may find yourself in another part of the world

And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile

And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife

And you may ask yourself, “Well, how did I get here?”

Brian Eno and David Byrne


I have been pondering upon this a little today and not from a weird science fiction multiverse angle rather a view which is much more mundane.

The alternate realities stem from how we cognitively assemble the world or rather our version of it.

It would be possible, for example, for me to carry out an experiment using a laser to record a vibronic spectrum of a molecule and to agree almost entirely on the outcome of that experiment with someone who “lives” in an alternate reality to mine. In the context of the experiment my means of interpretation would be entirely consistent with others around the globe equally skilled in the art.

Yet the “reality” we each live in would be different.

I had a Muslim student once who used to pray in a darkened laboratory and was consequently a trip hazard. Although our core believes were different, we shared common ground, our worlds intersected in spectroscopy.

The “reality” in which a country of >60 million souls is “besieged” by an influx, a horde, of cross channel immigrants is not one which I share. There has been precedent, William the Conqueror.

Immigration is a natural phenomenon. World history is underpinned by it and aboriginal cultures are often ethnically cleansed on a massive scale. I don’t see an ethnic cleansing of the UK currently on the cards. No need to be so dramatic, then.

If for example you are hardwired into the Matrix of modern living, there are elements of my world which would be alien. You may be Pavlovian tuned to a small microcomputer with three cameras and a hefty price tag. When “God” beeps or vibrates you must consult the pocket oracle. Yesterday I turned on our new Moto ‘phone for the first time in three weeks. The idea was for it to do updates and then for it to go back into hibernation. That ‘phone has sent and received only two texts since purchase and has never been used for a ‘phone call.

In my alien world that makes sense. It is a non-sequitur for others.

If one has attained a measure of non-attachment, that alters the very fabric of reality in comparison to someone who is still hooked line and sinker, to the socio-political world construct in one of its guises.

If you have not attained non-attachment, it is impossible for you even to begin to experience or guess what non-attachment is like. I can remember attachment so I have a better chance of assimilating your “world” than you do mine. I could probably operate in your “world” with less difficulty than you in mine.

A step function change from clinging and attachment to letting go and nonattachment would be very unsettling.

Overnight if you had to drop attachment to your career, your status, your beautiful house, your marriage, your status and turn off, extinguish, your pocket computer deity, it could be tricky to handle. {Could you go cold-phone-turkey?}

Your mind might ask, “what is wrong with attachment?” It may seek to justify being attachment to a host of stuff.

In one reality attachment and clinging are the fabric of a reality.

In another where attachment holds far less importance reality has already changed.

On the same planet, without a wormhole, these two different realities can co-exist.


If you dropped all of your attachments would your reality change dramatically or stay the same?

Ponder on this…

What would it be like to have next to no attachments?

Do You Have a Preferred Version of Reality?

When one starts doing personal development courses to help others, one quickly realises that so many people are in fact not self-aware, and they don’t really care about it. It never occurs to them that they are largely ignorant about inter-personal dynamics, and they tend to behave as if they know it all already. When I was asked to do some team development at a Cambridge University institute the brief was that the technicians were causing problems and they needed to learn to work better together. It quickly became obvious that it was the academics who were causing all the problems by their unrealistic demands and the power imbalance. When I suggested that it was the academics who needed training it went down like a lead balloon. So, I had to adjust the course for the technicians into how to deal with difficult people with unrealistic expectations and a sense of entitled divinity. The preferred reality there, held by the academics, was that THEY, the technicians, were the problem.

Lots of people have preferred versions where everybody else is the problem. There is always someone else putting flies in my ointment, pissing on my fire, it is all their fault, the bastards.

People can be very insular and myopic.

I mentioned elsewhere in the blog there is the phenomenon of unacceptable truths. Something may be true accurate and correct, but the mind, the perception, is totally unwilling to accept it, because accepting it brings with it implications and consequences which differ from the held preferred notion or version of reality. To accept said truth causes the “reality version” to implode, crash and burn.

I know someone who found out in middle age that the person he thought was his biological father was probably not. He did not want to do a DNA test to have surety. People can tell whopping lies to each other for decades. The truth is not acceptable.

I doubt most are able to be ruthlessly and accurately honest with themselves. I added accurately because people can be overly harsh and critical. Honesty is balanced and not skewed either one way or the other.

If you think about it, even a little bit, the scope of the title question is vast. It encompasses approach to life, to death and notions of afterlife. Most people tend to be centred in the socio-political programmed common view of the world.  If you read newspapers or listen to the news, that demarcates the boundaries of the everyday “reality”.

If you meditate on the question, “do you have a preferred version of reality?” You will begin to see how many biases, preconceptions and assertions you have. There will be elements of your “reality” that you take for granted which are unbalanced and inaccurate.

What is your preferred version of reality?

Is it real?