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CC The Subjective Nature of Reality Discussion Replies

CC The Subjective Nature of Reality Discussion Replies


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What Tan means by this is that her mother was very smart even though she did not speak english very well. An example that supports my position from the text is that whenever her mother received a call, she would have Tan answer the calls for her. As Tan was speaking to the caller, her mother would be in the background and tell her what to say. This shows that her mother was intelligent, because she knew what they were saying and she would respond in her “broken” english, yet have her daughter do the talking. Another example that backs my position is that when Tan’s mother went to the hospital for a CAT scan, the hospital lost the scan and they did not apologize at all. Tan’s mother explained to Tan that she spoke perfectly good English to the people at the hospital, yet they did not treat her fair. What Tan means by having her mother’s English limiting her possibilities in life is that she was constantly trying to protect or fight for her mother and her not so good English. Tan decided to delete the sentence “That was my mental quandary in its nascent state” from her book because it did not relate to her at all. A lesson that Tan writes and that I’ve learned from is that even if all the readers who read our writings don’t understand what we’re trying to convey, we’ll know that we’ve succeeded because of our loved ones and their support for us. 


What Tan means by this is that her mother couldn’t help her in everything. Her mother’s english limited her possibilities in her life but also in Tan’s life because not everybody would understand her.  Tan explained that not all of her friends understood her even though to Tan, she spoke perfectly well. This is because she had been listening to her english all her life and Tan didn’t think any different from it. When Tan’s mother went to the hospital asking for her CAT scan, they did not understand her, and Tan had to ask for her mom. 

When a child is young, their parents teach them everything they can. In public, when a child wants or needs something, their parents will ask people. In Tan’s case, it was more different. She had to from a young age speak for her mother, for example, when she had to call the stockbroker at age 15 asking about the check. Tan at a young age had to ask and do things because other people couldn’t or didn’t want to hear her mother speak.  


Our brains operate on interpreting patterns of information in our world in order to make sense of it. Our collective minds are similar, in that they create schemas and cognitive frameworks, but how our brains interpret that information is different. We all have unique ways of interpreting these patterns, which helps to create what we perceive as our reality. 

I’m a big book worm, and I’ve been personally reading a lot of literature that I feel is applicable to this chapter! I recently have been reading several books by Ram Dass, who was a spiritual teacher and professor on Harvard’s psychology department. I think this quote perfectly describes how our perceptions create our realities, “What I see in the universe is determined by my desires and my needs… If you and I walked down the street together and you are full of hunger, and I am full of fear, you will notice on the street restaurants, and I will notice threatening people, and we will each have lived in our own universe, which is a different universe. My universe was full of potentially threatening people, and yours was full of McDonald’s and pizza restaurants. And it seemed like we both walked down the same street,
and yet we didn’t walk down the same street, and in that way, the internal quality of our own predicament determined the outward universe we are living in.” Two people can experience the exact same outside stimuli, but it’s our brains that choose what stimuli to pay attention to and interpret- resulting in completely different insight. We don’t inhabit different realities, but we perceive reality differently. While what we pay attention to can influence our perception of reality, how our brains are neurally wired can influence perception too. The video mentions the viral dress, (definitely black and blue) our perception of color simply comes down to how our brains absorb visual stimuli, translate it to neural messaging, and encode and interpret the messaging. A shared reality is when we can mutually agree on our perceptions, and we definitely could not agree on what color the dress was.

Something ‘real’ that we all experience, is that our mind is solely our own, our world is subjective. Nobody will ever be able to directly, first-hand experience what you have, through your eyes, we can only communicate our experiences to others through symbols. We can only relate to others experiences through symbols and inferential understanding, but that can only be done through the lens of our own experience. I will never know what it’s like to be you, and vice versa. Communication is interesting in this sense, as it can help bridge the gaps in our separateness, but due to the subjective nature of reality, it has its limits. For example, if my friend is telling me their grandmother has died, I can only imagine what it might be like through my own experiences of grief, never my friend’s experience itself. 

One of my all time favorite quotes is from Aldous Huxley’s book, The Doors of Perception, “We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves. The martyrs go hand in hand into the arena; they are crucified alone. Embraced, the lovers desperately try to fuse their insulated ecstasies into a single self-transcendence; in vain. By its very nature every embodied spirit is doomed to suffer and enjoy in solitude. Sensations, feelings, insights, fancies — all these are private and, except through symbols and at second hand, incommunicable. We can pool information about experiences, but never the experiences themselves. From family to nation, every human group is a society of island universes.

Most island universes are sufficiently like one another to permit of inferential understanding or even of mutual empathy or ‘feeling into.’ Thus, remembering our own bereavements and humiliations, we can condole with others in analogous circumstances, can put ourselves (always, of course, in a slightly Pickwickian sense) in their places. But in certain cases communication between universes is incomplete or even nonexistent” 


Perception and hallucination has a lot to do with how we perceive reality. In a way, we are in a constant hallucination. Even though we perceive reality differently, when we agree on a hallucination, that becomes reality or a shared reality. What we perceive may never be considered a reality because everyone thinks and decodes things differently. Only on some occasions do people interpret the same; an example is art. The artist portrays what he/she is feeling through paints and canvas. But, it is up to the viewers to understand what message the artist is trying to send.

We all perceive things in different ways. Part of perceiving has to do with our imaginative ideas to make what we think is reality. We can’t perceive without having to imagine it. Reality begins with how we perceive our environment. When our perceptions are different, reality changes from what we originally thought it was.

A shared experience is self-doubt. When we feel the sense of self-doubt, we have lack of confidence in ourselves. We think that we are unworthy of affection. responsibility, trust, etc. Self-doubt starts with our past actions whether it be a past failure or person. Feelings such as self-doubt would be considered a shared reality. 

In the video a example used was a picture of black and white splotches. At first we don’t think much of it and what we perceive ifs an artistic picture of intricate splotches. The next photo was a picture of a woman kissing a horse.  When we see the picture for the second time, our expectation changed. Our brain is able to identify the outline of the woman and the horse in the black and white photo. 

As discussed in the video, an example of how we use perception to understand is art, specifically Impressionism. Impressionism focuses on light rather then the specific details. The artist paints in a way so that when a person looks at their art they have to use their mind to understand the painting completely. Only then is the painting complete. 

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