A lesson in reality from “The Newsroom”

There’s a great new television show called the Newsroom.

I started watching it because of the clip below which gives a vivid demonstration that

Reality isn’t real

At least if by real you mean something tangible, observable, measureable that we can all agree on.   If there was such a ‘reality’ we should be able to come to agreement much sooner than we do.

Look around you.  We don’t agree and it takes real effort to have others see our reality—which is probably why we like people who see our reality, we can relax.

The fact that we don’t, or rather can’t agree, should cause smart minds to question this thing called ‘reality’ and how we discuss and communicate given the apparent unreliability of it (reality).

But we don’t.

Instead, we spend our time trying to brow beat people into seeing things the way we do, and then labelling the unconvinceables with terms like “liberal”, “conservate”, “idiot” or “religious zealot” or whatever describes their version of incompatible reality.

Reality is created in Language

It’s always been a curiousity to me that John 1:1 says “In the beginning there was the Word, and the Word was with God.”

Conventional theology makes a good case that “the Word” is a reference to Jesus.

I take a more literal interpretation: that the Word, means just that: the Word, or our capacity to language.  Because it is our capacity to language that gives us our  God-like ability to create.

Everything that we see and experience lives in our capacity to language.  And our capacity to language is exercised most often in the ordinary conversations that we participate in



 So choose your conversations with an eye to their consequence

…to your reality.

And interesting aspect of creating reality using this mechanism is simply choosing the conversations we participate in.   This is demonstrated really well in this clip.   Jeff Daniels presents an alternate conversation that creates a completely different reality of what America is.  And in the clip, he’s almost alone (in this conversation/reality) in the room.

This conversation is compelling but is not embraced  by the American right, who choose to embrace or swim in the conservative conversation which has America as still the greatest, and that all efforts to convince you otherwise is part of a liberal conspiracy to take away your freedom, your wealth, and almost amusingly, to bring down America—instead of the first step to reversing the downward trend that country is really on.  (“Really on” … get it?  😉 )

We need others to create ‘Reality’

The key point for me is not that we live in different realities, but that we can create our own reality, our own experience of the world, and more importantly that we need others to do it.

Living in your own unshared reality gets you committed to an asylum, but get enough people to share it and it becomes a valid operating reality that give it’s proponents power e.g. Republicans, Mormans, Scientologists, Boy Scouts, Tea Party activisits, etc.

Power to do good, evil,

… or nothing at all.

“The Newsroom” is worth a watch

I like the Newsroom because it actually is about how the narratives that create our ‘reality’ are crafted by people in politics and the media, and they often are not independent.

It’s about how these narratives tend to feed pre-existing discourses about how the world is; it’s about how rarely people pay attention to the consequences of the narratives they hold, consequences to themselves and to the people who go to great lengths to perpetuate them—unwittingly or otherwise.

Oh, and just for fun, observe the realities of the people around you; their religious, political, or global warming realities.   Notice the conversations they embrace and discard to keep those realities alive.

As Spock would say, “Fascinating.”

And here’s the clip:

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