Jens Oliver Meiert

Two Realities

Post from August 13, 2015 (↻ December 11, 2016), filed under .

[…] all things are created twice. There’s a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation to all things.

—Stephen R. Covey: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (1990).

One of the most overlooked, most puzzling facts of our life may be that we’re living in two realities.

One is physical reality.

The other is psychical reality.

Descartes knew, res extensa, res cogitans; others talked consciousness and matter; yet what I’m alluding to here is substance dualism, even pluralism, with a trace belief in idealism… I’m a student myself.

Although intertwined, they’re not the same. They’re different, entirely valid realities.

Physical and psychical reality intersect through our bodies, but what other intersections, and boundaries, there are, we don’t really know. What consequences it has to live in—at least—two realities, we also don’t know. While we know a lot about physical reality, thanks to the scientific method, we may by now know less about psychical, mental reality than we ever did, also thanks to the scientific method (though also due to the Church, which per Weber “eliminated magic” and “rationalized the world”).

When comparing the different models of reality that we have, the model that we live in two or more realities is the one that doesn’t only give more meaning, but that can also explain more (no matter that at the same time, it raises a great number of great new questions). For example, we get encouraged to look for said boundaries of physical and psychical reality that science so far tragically misses, likely explaining phenomena like the placebo effect. We get an incentive to look at dreams more critically, lending force to the idea that dreams, too, represent other, and just as valid at that, realities. And we may have more reason to believe that there is not just something to reincarnation—but also to having a soul.

Yet that may all go a bit far for the moment. Right now we should just consider that we live in at least two realities relevant for us. That we must understand, and then include more thoroughly in our views and teachings of our reality system. For what we currently, commonly accept about our lives appears rather wildly inaccurate—to a good degree thanks to, science.

[That the processes of consciousness themselves are in their real essence physical processes] is an assertion that directly contradicts our immediate experience, which teaches us that a human being, or any other similar living creature, is a psycho-physical and not only a physical unity.

—Wilhelm Wundt: An Introduction to Psychology (1911).

About the Author

Jens Oliver Meiert, photo of July 27, 2015.

Jens Oliver Meiert is an author, developer (O’Reilly, W3C, ex-Google), and philosopher. He experiments with art and adventure. Here on he shares and generalizes and exaggerates some of his thoughts and experiences.

There’s more Jens in the archives and at Goodreads. If you have any questions or concerns (or recommendations) about what he writes, leave a comment or a message.

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“The end does not justify the means.”