Before you continue reading, ask yourself to define what is real. Also, I feel the need state that the purpose of this article is to tear apart the definition of reality, and prove that I nor your nor anyone can or ever will have a proper definition of what is real, or shall I say, what real is.
“Reality is the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or might be imagined. In a wider definition, reality includes everything that is and has been, whether or not it is observable or comprehensible. A still more broad definition includes everything that has existed, exists, or will exist.”
This is the average definition of reality, so to paraphrase, “Something that the Universe is currently doing, has done or will do; whether or not you can observe it as it is.” Reality is often contrasted with what is imaginary, only in the mind, dreams, what is false, what is fictional, or what is abstract. But Now we’ve already reached a contradiction. Are your dreams not inside your head? If you deny the existence of a dreams reality, you deny the existence of your brain, therefore denying the existence of yourself. So dreams must be real. Anything that exists within you, exists within the entirety of the universe, because just as a wave is something that the whole ocean is doing, you are something that the whole Universe is doing.
“What of That which is false? Certainly that can not be reality.” I presume you might be thinking. On the contrary, this is covered beautifully by Plato’s ‘Allegory of the Cave’ : It is somewhat of an anecdote about prisoners who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. They can not move, nor turn their heads. The prisoners watch shadows projected on the wall by things passing in front of the fire behind them, and begin to assign names and meaning to these shadows. The shadows are as close as the prisoners get to viewing what we would call ‘reality’. Plato then explains how someone from our regular culture is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall do not make up reality at all, as he can perceive the ‘true form of reality’ rather than the mere shadows seen by the prisoners. If he tried to explain the the prisoners what his reality truly was, they would call him an imbecile, a radical, blasphemous.
My point in this is that for all we know, we are analogous to the prisoners. Don’t worry this isn’t a “Wake up people the government is a dark overlord” and illuminati mumbo-jumbo article, I just needed to bring attention to the fact that 1) The Prisoners of Plato’s cave’s veiw of reality is just as valid as ours, 2) How easily we assume we live in a universe of “What you see is what you get” principles. But more on this later.
“What of fiction? Fiction isn’t real, it is literally the antonym of Real” Allow me to answer your question with a question; When I say “Invisibility cloak, Frankenstein or Atlantis,” do you make up a new fiction for them every time in your head? No of course not. That is because, dispite their non existence, you have assigned these fictional entities with real properties.