Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Reality is...

    Most civilized people are out of touch with reality because they confuse the world as it is with the world as they think about it, talk about it, and describe it. For on the one hand, there is the real world. And on the other, a whole system of symbols about that world which we have in our mind. These are very, very useful symbols, all civilization depends on them, but like all good things they have their disadvantages. And the principal disadvantage of symbols is that we confuse them with reality. Just as we confuse money with actual wealth, and our names about ourselves, our ideas of ourselves, our images of ourselves, with ourselves. Now of course, reality, from a philosopher's point of view, is a very dangerous word. A philosopher will ask me, "What do I mean by reality?" Am I talking about the physical world of nature or am I talking about the spiritual world, or what? And to that I have a very simple answer: When we talk about the material world, that is actually a philosophical concept. So in the same way, if I say that reality is spiritual, that's also a philosophical concept. And reality itself is not a concept. Reality is… - Alan Watts