06.10.15 – What is Reality?

As humans we are constantly re-evaluating what is real and what is not, but since all humans are different, everyone has his or her own interpretation of it. When asked in the class what reality is to us personally, a lot of people’s answer was that it is their immediate environment and how it effects them.

My Reality

I agree with what the others said, however I have found myself, in the past and present, thinking of virtual worlds as a sort of reality. Take for instance, books or video games. If I really devote myself to reading a book or playing a video game and invest a lot of my time in it, it tends to invade my thoughts as I go about my everyday life, effecting the way I act and the choices I make. When faced with a problem or situation in life, I would find myself asking the question: how would the protagonist of the book/game act if faced with the situation I am now in? The way books/games influence and affect me, both emotionally and mentally, whilst managing to ease their way into my life and affecting it in subtle ways, makes that virtual world feel somewhat “real”. A lot of people probably don’t experience this and might think that it’s an unhealthy obsession, but being a very emotional person with quite a wild imagination, its something happens naturally and struggle to control.

Some people, such as Roger Denson, perceive reality as a collective rather than an individual and that your reality is effected by people around you. Denson also believes that the way we define it changes according to the technologies discovered at the time which in turn changes the way we communicate and how we evolve as humans.

“Each epoch must refashion its reality around the generations that inhabit it and the technologies that inform it”.
Roger Denson

A Visual Culture

We then spoke about perception and how it can change according to certain information we are given. Let’s say that you’re acquainted with person A but do not know him/her on a personal level. Let’s also say that your percepion of person A up to this point is not a very good one – that he/she is rebellious and a rule breaker. If you see person A helping an old woman cross the street, your perceptions of person A might change to a slightly better one. You now know that although person A could be rebellious, he/she also has a good side. Therefore, acquiring this new information has led you to changing you opinion about person A.

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We then were asked what we think of this picture. Our tutor asked people to get up and point at were they thought the boat started/finished and a lot of people seemed to think that it started/finished at boat 4 (from the right). I said that I don’t think there’s a beginning or an end to which a colleague of mine said that it’s not possible because if that was the case, we shouldn’t be able to see the “bridge” when the boats curve towards the back. So as you can see, different people, different opions.

We also spoke about the film Roshomon by Akira Kurosawa (1950) and how in it we see many different perspectives. In the film the complexities of human nature are revealed as we see different versions of the story through the eyes of four different people.


Our perception on things could depend on many things:

  • Personal Beliefs/ Code of Ethics
  • Upbringing
  • Motives
  • Preferences

What a lot of people seemed to agree upon is the fact that we have many faces which we use appropriately depending what situation we are in and who we are with, and that therefore we never know who we really are. As we grow, we change constantly, changing perspectives, morals etc.

Evolution Of Reality

It started during the Renaaissance when reality became a view. People were allowed to be or say whatever they wanted and thrived to be the “perfect person”. During this period, art was mirrored a lot of the times and techniques were often copied. Back then the 3-point persepctive was often used when creating art. However throughout the modern centuries, the 6 point persepective was introduced and the mirroring changed to projection.

Nowadays, thanks to technologies such as the Oculus Rift, we are able to look around freely. The 6-point persepctive has also become the basis for CGI.

Reshaping Our Perspective

Changing perception is not a walk in the park. Doing things that go against your nature do not come easy. If I were to attempt this I would most definitely struggle because I like being true to myself and tend to stick to my morals which I strongly believe in. I have, in the past tried to adapt myself to certain situations or when being around certain people. I would mostly do that to try and fit in because I always had a “unique” personality which wasn’t always liked or approved by many. However, I noticed that when I was trying to be someone I wasn’t, I would feel empty inside which constantly made me feel miserable and the scariest part was that I was starting to forget who I was. I have since learnt to embrace my quirkiness and individuality and I think it’s safe to say that I’ve never been happier!


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