A recent discussion has had me thinking about perceptions of reality. This person said that a historical event couldn’t be real for someone unless they were there for it, but watching a movie about that event had made it more real for them. I find that to be a very limited view and understanding of the world.
There are several historical events that have happened in my life that I wasn’t there for. In fact, um, I haven’t been there for any big major historical event. But that doesn’t make them less real for me. Being alive for them, hearing about them, thinking about them, all of that was real for me.
Things that happened before I arrived on the earth have a different reality for me. They have an intellectual reality for me rather than an experiential one. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t real.
Part of this person’s lack of “reality” with certain events could be explained by their age when they happened. But I think that just might be an excuse. They were 16 when the even they were talking about happened. There is a lot of history that happened before I was 16 that I still remember and is still real for me. So maybe their problem comes in thinking that if it didn’t happen directly to them, it didn’t happen. In which case that’s quite a self-absorbed, shallow, way of thinking. But I’m not sure how else to explain it.
I’m sure I have my own self-absorbed, shallow moments. But I hope I’m more aware of the world around me than that. I hope my reality never shrinks to the tiny space around me. People with that kind of reality do a lot of damage in the world.