Reality, our Perception or just an Illusion?

Perception vs Reality

In early 1985 Pat Fallon of Rolling Stone magazine used a concept to bring about a massive change in the perception of the magazine.

Although, the brand had a substantial gathering of readers, yet promotion was a bit difficult for them as ad agencies had a tendency to reject them as “dope-smoking hippies”.

The publication questioned this hypothesis with a series of print promotions – “Perception vs Reality.” The idea was to increase advertising income by drawing a line between the perception of who the typical Rolling Stone reader was thought to be and who he really was.

We regularly confuse perception for reality.

That is, we confuse how we comprehend things for the way that they truly are.

Our thoughts and emotions appear to be genuine to us, so we reason that they should be valid.

What is REALITY? Is it what we see around us, which can be felt or sensed? Wrong!

There is NO such thing as reality. It is just your way to understand it and perceive it.

So what is Perception then?

It is simply the lens through which we see ourselves and others in general surroundings. This lens is consistently deluded because of the understanding of knowing reality consistently.

Perception & Reality in Media

Have you ever lost complete sense of your reality while watching a movie or reading a book? You became so engrossed, that for those moments, you start living the life of the character you are following.

There are some amazing Films and TV-series out there that question our perception, reality and very own existence.

One such masterpiece by Christopher Nolan is INCEPTION, revolving around the concept of planting an idea/thought in the mind of another human being to make him believe it’s real.

Simply showing that how your mind can be fooled into thinking what it is looking at, is real. Or as in film’s case, what it’s made to believe is real.

If ever there was film that was made to blow our minds, it is this one! Literally. Blurring lines between reality and perception, the film takes us on a fast-paced ride through mental sub-levels and beyond into THE LIMBO.

A snippet from the movie Inception

Another such example is SOURCE CODE, a film on the concept of virtual world where the character feels that, are his experiences just a computer simulation? Or are they actually real?

The film is about modified reality and inner space, and there are points of comparison with Christopher Nolan’s Inception.

Which picks up the question, what is being experienced is actually real or just an illusion?

Source Code trailer

Lets talk about the trilogy by Elon Musk which is most relatable to the topic – The Matrix.

Depicting a future where reality as perceived by most humans is actually a simulated reality called “the Matrix”, where as in real world they are sleeping in hibernation pods.

Are we in a state of dream or are we living in a simulation, question stays.

A snippet from The Matrix

Then there is more recent series, WESTWORLD – a world where there are two kinds of people.
Both bleed red, both feel pain, both have emotional attachments, but one set is man, the other set is man-made.

Set in a reimagined past, it is an interactive virtual world, a playground for people to indulge in ALL kinds of fantasies! For humans, it is a utopian world with no limits and no moral. For the characters/players or rather human-like robots, it is their reality that they wake up to everyday.

Throughout the series, we are never shown as to what is the reality. There is only the reality of Westworld, what is outside of it, we never get to know. The director very subtly plays with the perception of its audience, keeping the audience wondering as we see the world through the eyes of humans and AI alike.

Westworld Trailer

Virtual Gaming

Talking about Virtual world, perhaps one of the best example of play in perception vs reality can be seen in the boom in the gaming industry and the evolution into VR games. In today’s day and age, we can put on our VR headsets and completely fool our senses into experiencing a world that is NOT real.

The question that sometimes we ask ourselves, is this the real life or is it just a dream? Are we part of a computer simulated world too, or a crazy race being observed from afar by an alien overlord?

When you really think about it, the possibilities are innumerable.
And the moment when you question yourself on that, you question YOUR reality.

“We see the world, not as it is, but as we are-

Or as we are conditioned to see it.” 

– Steven R. Covey

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