Come with me now into the heart of the pulsing confusion that passes for reality. There we find all of the experiences that register as real and meaningful. We also register that which we call phantom and fanciful. It is a cauldron of real and not real, possible and not possible, and what we determine to be reality and the other. It’s the other on which we are focusing.
We know that our experience goes beyond what we know to be real and meaningful. It is the realm of the other. But how do we distinguish and what are the distinctions?
We want to believe that the real is that which we see but we nonetheless invasion that which we know to be of the other.
We want to believe what we hear and don’t want our ears to mislead; but even so, we hear sounds and voices that can only be from the other.
The other appears to us and intrudes as sound, but still we believe in the real but not the other.
The other may come to us through taste, touch, or smell, but we still persist in believing that we can know it is of the other and not of reality.
We like to conclude that real is what our senses tell us is real, but experience tells us that our senses provide a somewhat imperfect set of instruments for knowing the real from the other. We know that it is far from axiomatic that seeing is believing just as belief cannot be firmly based on hearing, touching, tasting, or smelling. If we are to know the real from the other, our sensory instrumentation is necessary but not sufficient.
Then what is the non-sensory capacity that supplements and corrects the reality distortion that would come through exclusive reliance on our senses? Here is where experience mediated by judgment and intelligence can serve us, can prevent most if not all false positives and false negatives. This internal capacity has the potential to protect us from the mistakes of our senses, protect us from believing that things are real which are not, thinking that things are illusions that are in fact real.
This capacity is no more useful than when we need to distinguish between truthful and valid news and information on the one hand and fake news and misinformation on the other hand. It is for each of us our built-in BS detector. This BS detector is there for each of us but frequently ignored and even more often just turned off.
What to do? Be sure that your BS detector is turned on and working correctly. Once you have assured that your BS detector is fully operative, run everything you see and hear through your personal BS detector before ever considering anything to be true or real. This starts with being skeptical with respect to anything important that you hear or are told, no matter who tells you. Other than your close friends and family, don’t believe anything you are told until you have thoughtfully run it past your personal BS detector; and even friends and family may be misrepresenting reality or distorting the truth, so beware.
Here is the conclusion. Since much of what we hear and are told is BS, simply assume that anything you hear or are told may be BS. So, keep your BS detector in front of you at all times, scanning and assessing the flow of news and information coming your way. It is the least you should do and, when you get down to it, it is the only protection we have from lies and damn lies that seek to overwhelm us.