The Construction of Reality

Being a religious person, I remember being taught from infancy that what a person believe can have serious inpacts on the way that they live their life, the things that they view as reality, and it ultimately dictates their view on the world as a whole. In “The Perception of Reality” William James speaks on how in consciousness or in this case belief “the object is not only apprehended by the mind, but is held to have reality.” (p288) The mind is able to construct what it deems as reality. The construction that the mind creates begins to dictate what a person is able to “see” and as they continue to see it, there is a decrease in his or her ability to decipher the truth from his or her imagination.

In Rita Cater’s piece, she mentions on page 18 that Kevin O’Reagan stated that everything we see is a grand illusion. The term grand illusion makes vision seem as though it is something that must always be questioned because what we perceive on a daily basis is not in fact reality but rather a construction of our imagination (or consciousness for the matter). I can not necessarily say that I agree with this statement because here I am writing. First, the words that are being trancsribed onto this page are sentences, thoughts, and criticisms that are first constructed inmy mind. Are the words not on this page? Am I constructing what I see being written down on this page, and if so, how then will my professor be able to read my mind in order to “see” what is on this blog?                                     

William James states that “Every thought tends to be part of a personal consciousness” ( The Stream of Thought, p225) and I do agree. Thoughts are constructed in the mind, and the mind can have a role in the way we view or interpret things, but I can not say that because it was constructed in my mind, it is an illusion when I am viewing it. Maybe I am reading this wrong, and I hope that I am because I do not see how this statement can be an accurate one. May be to a certain extent, but I would love to explore more on what it means to believe something and call it reality, as well as trying to figure out the creation of thoughts. Thoughts in the way that it transforms our reality and dictate our perceptions.

One Response to “The Construction of Reality”

  1.   Dominique Says:

    Here’s one thing to consider: Yes, Carter and those who study visual perception agree that what we see is an illusion (by necessity). This is not the same as saying we walk around hallucinating or having the type of “visions” James describes in “The Reality of the Unseen.” It is simply to say that we’re always filling in blanks in our immediate perceptual field in order to understand what we’re seeing.
    The personal consciousness James describes goes beyond vision, however, into the way the mind and body process our total sensible experience. Look back at the layers of consciousness Carter identifies on page 37. We might not always be able to describe our conscious streams but they are always operating.

    What are your impressions of James’s “stream of thought” after our class discussion?

    (If you decide to edit or add on to this post, send me an email to alert me to re-read this.)


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