What is “Reality”? The study of metaphysics is defined as the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature of existence, being, and essentiality. It was called “the first philosophy” by Aristotle, saying it is the subject that deals with the “first causes and principles of things”, for the fact that every study and knowledge claim must have a metaphysical basis which can only be explained through seeking truth beyond apparent physics. Metaphysics, which can be described as the study of the fundamental or ultimate “nature of reality”, is one of the main branches of philosophy, along with logic (the study of reasoning and validity of inference or deduction), ethics (the study of moral principles), and epistemology (the study of knowledge and knowing). Metaphysics also has two central themes that outlined by Aristotle, ontology (the study of being and existence) and the study of first causes (which is often related to theology with “God” as the idea of the first cause).
So many philosophers have stated that metaphysics is an endless study with no ultimate answers for its questions; but, in light of recent discoveries made by researchers such as Russel Targ, Tom Campbell, Bruce Lipton, and Robert Waggoner, and personal testimonies from people who have had extensive and varied out of body experiences or similar ineffable psychedelic experiences, we seem to have found some consensus on at least what isn’t real. Unsurprisingly, these people were not the first to figure it out, and certainly not the first to accept the implications of their discoveries. All of these people’s findings, from Russel Targ, who researched extra-sensory perception called “remote viewing” for the CIA, to Ryan Cropper, who’s become something like a master of astral projection, are in line with ancient philosophies predicated on the basis that the world we live in is inherently an illusion.
What is Real, or True?
This question can be asked in two ways: what does the word “real” mean, and what set of “things” can be reasonably described as meeting the conditions for being real, or existing genuinely.
For the word itself, if I aim to outline any bit of truth within metaphysics, I would say that the word refers directly and only to the things which fundamentally and undeniably exist. So the only “things” which can be said to be real are things that can’t not exist. Assuming that something which is real is something which must be, this would mean that the opposite of real is that which does not have to be real, meaning its existence is at most a secondary quality, with its essence being its collective, unique qualities.
Referring back to the metaphysical findings of the people mentioned above, it seems that our external, physical reality is necessarily not real, because the basis for its existence is instrumental rather than essential. In the words of Tom Campbell in this interview alongside Bruce Lipton, consciousness and information are the only things which really exist. Consciousness exists as universal awareness, and information exists as that which consciousness is aware of; these are the things which are “real”. My argument, drawing from the myriad of sources I’ve digested over the past few years, for this claim is as follows:
In perceiving information, consciousness exercises its awareness and creates experiences by discriminating among the information it perceives. Information perceived regarding the consciousness itself is interpreted as information about consciousness, or self-knowledge, and information perceived about information is interpreted as information about what consciousness creates through its experience. If consciousness is more like an energetic field rather than a biologically localized phenomenon, then its existence is not tied to the existence of organic beings, or even a physical reality. In experiencing and creating more experiences, consciousness learns about itself and the information which it perceives, and can develop its awareness of different sets of information through abstraction and discrimination. In doing so, consciousness can continue to create any sort of experience it can conceive of by manipulating the information which it is aware of. A reality, which serves as the object of consciousness’s experience, is simply a set of information discriminately perceived as separate from the information of everything else which can be perceived. Therefore, besides consciousness and the entire body of information to be perceived, all things which can exist are discriminated abstractions of consciousness’s perception. Knowing everything at once is not the same as knowing everything, or anything, in particular, so in order to have specific experiences and expand its awareness, or knowing, consciousness increasingly discriminates and abstracts information out of the entirety of all information to structure realities in which it can have certain types of experiences, learning more about the potential infinite and finite properties of ultimate existence. For instance, consciousness did not know what “chocolate” tastes like until consciousness imagined a reality in which chocolate exists and manifested a form in that reality which would allow it to taste the chocolate. By creating this abstract, virtual reality, consciousness was able to discriminately know the taste of chocolate, and learn and come to know so much more.
So, as of this post’s publishing, it is my assertion that anything which experientially exists does exist for the purpose of the expansion of consciousness. If there were a beginning, it would be consciousness and its awareness of everything. However, seeing everything as one thing is akin to seeing nothing in particular, so all consciousness would be aware of in that state is existence. Not any thing, but the simple fact that “no-thing-ness” exists. And from this “no-thing-ness”, consciousness discriminated, abstracted, constructed, and reflected things to exist for itself to be conscious of them in an endless series of self-discovery, as the information of all of existence lends itself to the awareness of all existence. So, it’s not that reality doesn’t exist, but it is not the essence of or base existence.
Even if we cannot make many definitive answers to metaphysical questions, there is no doubt in my mind that many people are aware of metaphysical truth. We are not restricted by the materialism of science or the symbolism of myth. We have the ability and the freedom to see the world for what it really is through philosophy and spirituality; and, in my opinion, we also have the responsibility to share that knowledge so that we may truly be free to express ourselves as individual facets of the larger universal existence without fear of suppression.
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