This article is more of a brain dump than an essay. It has been a labor to produce it, and I anticipate that it will be a labor to read it.

It’ll take work, mass deletion, conversation, and many changes to set it right.

That said, I think it is a worthwhile expression, if only for making sense to ourselves. Our culture is mapping these very subjects, and we will have to figure it out at one point or another.


The word “Real,” the word “Reality,” is legitimately & coherently used within many different contexts.

However, there is a problem – the word is not clearly understood.

The subject of another page would be about how thoughts form from potentia, to pre-form, to conscious form, to articulated form. 1 And then the subject of another page would describe how words come to formation in our minds, and how we come to use them. Still another would describe how visions form in our mind, – and other valuable spelunkings into the formations within the imagination.

Suffice to say for now – people can coherently & legitimately use words before they know what they mean, (!), and on deeper study, come to identify what it was that they meant by the words.

The varied uses of the word “real” is one such incarnation. I once discovered that I was making mistakes and having confusions because of different uses of the term “real,” and then when I identified what the different uses were, the matter stood clear for me. Further, I have identified uses of the term “real” in conversations between others, and have witnessed the confusions resulting from the conflations of terms. When I made the matter clear by elucidating the differences in use, disagreement collapsed, and clarity developed.

That’s a long way of saying, “This page is here to help clarify meanings of the term real.” That is why I did this, and that is why this page is here.

Note that this enumeration is not total. There are likely to be many, many uses of the term “real” than what I have here. Some I would find worthy of inclusion, and others not. Yet I think this is a good basic set.



The Absolute Real is by it’s very definition, singular.

Like the first words of the JapJi?, "Ek Onkar."

If someone were to say, “There are 2 realities,” or “There are 3 realities,” then by their very use of the word “are,” they are describing a super-reality that contains within it three sub-realities. Thus even this statement itself is an appeal to TheAbsoluteReal.

If someone were to say that we are like 6,000,000,000 people in virtual reality hallucination chambers, each experiencing a different, separate reality, – then TheAbsoluteReal is that realm that contains the virtual reality hallucination chambers.

And if these VR hallucination chambers themselves lived inside of a dream of a butterfly in a world, then it is the butterfly in that world that is TheAbsoluteReal.

And if people want to get clever and circumvent the inevitable direction-like nature of determining the Real, and were instead to say, “Okay – I have you stumped – because the butterfly itself and it’s world is the dream is one of those 6,000,000,000 people” – then it is this donut shaped loop itself that is TheAbsoluteReal.

What we can say with absolute certainty is that there is an experience, – and if we are not blind or deaf, it is characterized by an experience of light and sound, – and this is undeniably and undebatable. Somehow, someway, this all happens, and thus there is a Real.

If all is illusion, then the fact that there is an illusion is itself a statable absolute Real.

Whether people can know the Absolute Real – that is something we can talk about for a very long time. Whether there is access to TheAbsoluteReal – that is something people talk about.

I myself am skeptical.

However, there is a point where we touch TheAbsoluteReal, and I have alluded to it already:

Some will complain “This is solipsism!” I disagree strongly – I have a very strong faith in your existence – a faith that is so profound, that I see my life and my existence as thoroughly mean and meaningless unless you exist as well. Yet I must state the facts as they are – and I say that the only guaranteeable point of contact we have with the Absolute Real is on the order of: “I exist,” and “There is an experience of light and sound.”

This is not at all to say: “That is the contents of the Absolute Real.” I have incredible faith in the existence of worlds, trees, plants, things uninmagibale to us, great wonders and joys and virtues and powers, – and most importantly: you.

This is to say: We participate in the Real, and we do have a priviledged part in the Absolute Real, – because, at the very least, we exist. And should we doubt the Real, we can try doubting the witness.


To the best of Scientific Understanding (which will come next,) we occupy what we call “the Universe.”

13.7 billion years ago, something happened. There was a great expansion of the space between waves and particles, etches of the original space within a tiny volume that we today see painted across the furthest expanses of the universe in the pattern of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation. It is as if we lived in a thimble, and the thimble suddenly became the size of a city, – and we now look around and see the pattern of a great thimble around us, while still making use of ordinary small thimbles for our knitting.

Scientists today work to figure out how the dark energy works, how the universe expands, and what our future will likely be.

The universe is full of atoms and molecules, suns, planets, and gas molecules. There are photons rippling through space. There are things that I do not understand, but I read the Feynmann diagrams and I know that the physicist sees behind the marks on the papers.

There is a real world out there. It begins fascinating to talk about other dimensions, and then it becomes cute, but then it becomes a drag.

It is true, this may all be a dream that a butterfly had, but it is real enough. PkD? (Philip K Dick) said: “Reality is that which continues to exist after you cease believing in it,” and what I am calling “The Universe.” If the Universe is an illusion, it sure does has a way of consistently calling our attention back to it. Make the mystic’s quest, but I’ll see you in the morning.

There are respectable scientists that think the universe is older than 13.7 billion years – that this was just an expansion within a space that is much larger and older. There are respectable scientists that think that this universe is infinite in size; indeed: We can only see as far as light has had time to travel. “The universe” is shorthand for “the visible universe,” the center at which we find ourselves. Scientists search for repeating patterns in intergalactic space, because the universe may be smaller than the visible universe. We do not know how big.

How much we don’t know!

And yet how much we know.


Differentiate the Universe we find ourselves in, from the Scientific Understanding we have of the universe.

Science develops closer and closer towards TheUniverse, without ever perfectly matching it.

Scientific Understanding is like a vast net made of human minds. The best thinking collects and develops. Scientists become the arms and eyes of other scientists. The organism becomes a whole, driven by a powerful ethic of reason, honesty, inquiry, care, and doubt.

There is a gap between scientists understanding and the Universe, but that gap closes.

New Agers rightly sense telepathy, but scientists know micro-facial movements, and the neural paths that alight to decode them. The New Ager wants a magical how, but the scientist knows the true how, and they know how to demonstrate that they know the true how.

It is sound to base our reasoning in science, even knowing that there is a gap.

That is, we can make statements about reality with confidence, rather than continuous doubt and skepticism. “The Earth is round.” Say it confidently with pride. Jeer at the man who says “not perfectly!”, because he’s going to try to sell you something harmful. And don’t let this attitude change just because she’s a woman who says “not perfectly;” We are equal opportunity, and seek to strengthen all minds.


The comic readers and anime fans here know that there is not only this universe, – but that this is just one universe amongst many.

These are parallel realities to our own.

If there is a cross-over between this universe and a neighboring one, and that universe and a neighboring one, and so on – then we have linked parallel universes, composing a mighty structure that we can call “The Multiverse” or “The Snowflake” or any of a number of names.

And then there are the inaccessible parallel universes, which not only do not connect to our universes, but also do not connect to any of the other parallel universes that has a link (by some chain) with our own. These universes are wholy inaccessible, and you cannot ever reach them, not even in your dreams. (Otherwise, if you could, then there would be a link, even if only in potential form, and thus it was never truly inaccessible.)

Let’s be clear, though: All of this is conjecture.

Should the day come when a glittering rainbow bridge to another universe arises from the deeps, we will cross, colonize, explore, and before we know it, we’ll have a new theory about “segments” or “partitions,” and ScientificUnderstanding will again occupy one Universe – “TheUniverse,” and again, it will still be distinct from TheAbsoluteReal, and so on. We will stand in the limit between understandings only briefly.


Saints throughout the ages have sought the permanent, the forever, that alone which is persistent and always present.

Consciousness, the theatre of the Soul, is that which is present wherever you go. Consciousness itself is a problematic word, and means many different things to many different people; Several people have written entire books teasing apart different things that people mean when they say “Consciousness.” Here I refer to “the watcher” or “the witness,” the rock of experience. It has never changed in your entire life; It is the same now as when you were 5, and it is that which shall be exactly the same when you are 90. It has never left the present moment, and it is always with you, because it is you in a profound sense.

Ralph Waldo Emerson called it “the transparent eye.”

Standing on the bare ground, – my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, – all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God. The name of the nearest friend sounds then foreign and accidental: to be brothers, to be acquaintances, – master or servant, is then a trifle and a disturbance. I am the lover of uncontained and immortal beauty. In the wilderness, I find something more dear and connate than in streets or villages. In the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature.” – Nature

Cao Dai maintains the Divine Eye within the Holy See, a picture of their highest concept of God. Many argue that the name Jehova (“I Am”) is reference to the same God, and there is a movement by the same name.

Entire religions and spiritual pathways are made simply to point to it.

There are problems with identifying God (or the Real) with Consciousness, and identifying as Maya (illusion) anything that is not Consciousness. Solipsism is easy, and all the problems attendant with it (see: AboutConstructivism for an example.) Focusing on the Divine Soul, God as “I,” our equality, and the present moment subtract from alertness to the Divine Heart, God as “thou,” our ideals, the future. Contentedness can inappropriately replace sacrifice. Otherworldly abstraction can reign while the world of matter falls to tatters and to evil.

It is important to understand that our concepts of Consciousness necessarily make it into a particular actor with a particular character in a particular drama, even thought Consciousness itself is not a concept.

But: It is fair to refer to Consciousness as the “Real,” because our ethics rely fundamentally on Consciousness. Consciousness is certainly real in a way that many illusions don’t hold a candle to. Again, as described in TheAbsoluteReal, it is one of the few things that we can be absolutely certain of.

TheHeartsDream TheIdeal

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.” – Luke 18
Be joyful always; Pray continuously; Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ. Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; Do not treat prophecies with contempt; Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22
To know (the Real) and to live in (the Real) is man’s true destiny. His point of contact with it is personality: the inward fount of his being: his heart, not his head. Man is real, and in the deepest sense alive, in virtue of this free personal life-principle within him; but he is bound and blinded by the ties set up between his surface-intelligence and the sense-world. The struggle for reality must be a struggle on man’s part to transcend the sense-world, escape its bondage. He must renounce it, and be “re-born” to a higher level of consciousness; shifting his centre of interest from the natural to the spiritual plane. According to the thoroughness with which he does this, will be the amount of real life he enjoys. The initial break with the “world,” the refusal to spend one’s life communing with one’s own cinematograph picture, is essential if the freedom of the infinite is to be attained. We are amphibious creatures: our life moves upon two levels at once—the natural and the spiritual. The key to the puzzle of man lies in the fact that he is “the meeting point of various stages of Reality.” All his difficulties and triumphs are grounded in this. The whole question for him is, which world shall be central for him—the Real, vital, all-embracing life we call spirit, or the lower life of sense? Shall “Existence,” the superficial obvious thing, or “Substance,” the underlying verity, be his home? Shall he remain the slave of the senses with their habits and customs, or rise to a plane of consciousness, of heroic endeavour, in which—participating in the life of spirit—he knows reality because he is real?” (R. C. Euken, “Der Sinn und Wert den Lebens,” p. 121)

On the other side of Brahma is the realms of experience, of light and sound, and all the possibilities that are possible.

Whereas the character of Brahma is to “Be,” the character of the heart is to become. Being is content to stay at home, but the heart always rushes out blessing everything and making it beautiful.

Being alive for a time, coordinating many learnings, we can recognize that – while on the surface, things appear to remain the same – that over time, there is development, that there is motion. That “We are Moving,” as TeilhardDeChardin boldly and proudly proclaims at the very beginning of TheFutureOfMan.

That is, there are lines of evolution. Damanhurians know them as “Synchronic lines,” lines of development connected to internal and external forces.

I don’t know what Hegel called it, but I imagine he must have come up with some word for it.

If we see that some things are preferable to other things, and trust in the power of life to eventually make right choices, then we can search for the directionality of things.

In this sense, one can become an idealist, without forsaking the sanctity of matter. The key is to look to the future, and ask, “Where will heart and mind go?”

The skeptical argue on the side of matter; But this is simply dispair. Those who believe in intelligence argue that the intelligence will pull to its ends whatever it can. We observe that inner struggle as we transition from laziness and chaos to work and order, pulling ourselves inwardly, domesticating various wonderful animals within ourselves.

To what end do we do this? Every movie strives to persuades to the good, (even if only by recognizing the danger of true evil, and signaling the pain,) whether that movie plays on the silver screen, or within our hearts. Some give in to despair and weep, (you will know them by the cry: “God is not Good,”) and we can understand this, but the human being always continues, unless he does not.

It is miraculous, but usually, tomorrow does come, and it continues coming. A perspective of Reality that does not account for tomorrow is not a perspective of Reality at all, but narrows itself to a slice of reality. And even should we all die in catacylsmic failure, there is reason to believe that the universe will evolve again, and reach another chance. But pray we make the right choices today, such that our ancestors sufferings are not in vain.

There are people who say that in order to truly understand another person, we need to look to what is noble in them, and the promise in them. It is easy to see flaws and error, but you will miss something very important. Look for the wisdom and the complexity, and you will find the Divine.

This, they say, is the promise; This, they say, is the Real.

I hold and honor this perspective, and include the Heart’s Dream in my chart of the Real.

P.S. It is important to remember that “the ideal” does not mean an idea. Ideas are just particular idols, inner planets that can only serve as stepping stones towards the luminous music emanating from the Real. The ideal is not an idea.


A person’s understanding of “the world” always occurs at a specific place at a specific time. We evaluate things based on how they match our experience of the world, under circumstances that influence our questions, methods, and value-references.

The subjective can be seen as valuable; we include in it everything from tastes to opinions to profound insights. People can strive to distill valid conceptions of reality by cross-checking understandings with others.

The subjective is a proper stage in the world, and the gateway of all knowledge: Before reality is known to ModernScience? (ScientificUnderstanding,) it is subjectively experienced by researchers, who abstract models, and perform tests, and then give demonstrations, which provide subjective experience for others, and so on.

In a society, knowledge of the spheres of reality is intrinsically political. This does not necessarily mean TheAbsoluteReal is any less real. But it does mean that our understanding of what is Absolute Real, by any method (including ModernScience?), of what is of The Universe, of what is in accord with the Heart’s Dream, and so on – that these questions are political questions, relating to education, difference, learning and teaching, the evolution of culture, and so on.

I do not know what to say about “the subjective,” save that it is there and we know it because we encounter difference and discuss where an idea belongs.


It is not just individuals that exhibit subjectivity, but whole groups of people, whole society’s even.

The history of any nation, (but I use the United States in examples, because it is the collective reality that I participate in,) is colored by stories – psychic event after psychic event.

Breaking Point

It’s taken more than two hours to write this; I need a breaking point here.

I’ll return. Feel free to comment on what’s here so far, though.

This is great fun Lion, though If I’d read it when I was younger I would’ve disregarded it as nonsense. I suspect we could construct an infinite number of ‘reals’.

If we made an infinite number of reals, it’d be pointless.

These nodes that I have described are nodes that arise.

And they repeatedly arise.

Philosophy is not an abstract game for the purpose of PostModern felicity; It is animated by the situations that occur in our daily lives, the tensions that emerge in our thoughts.

You could go to another land and talk and talk with people, and you will see these nodes reconstructed. The same is true of mathematical concepts, like numbers and (with time) calculus.

Perhaps I read too much into your few words, but I believe that you are resisting the architecture of the soul, because you want to give people freedom. But if there is an aspect in the person that seeks truth, then you cover them with blinders by blurring truth because you only see oppression there, and are nervous of the situation where one person knows something that another person does not.

You have to learn how to know something and how to speak for it; I do not know any way around it.

Lion, what you say seems dangerous, and you have struck on the very reason that PostModernism? is important (at least the bits I understood that aren’t complete nonsense). I will try to explain my fear:

When you say:

“You have to learn how to know something and how to speak for it; I do not know any way around it.”

You are already expressing the distinction between language and meaning that is central to PostModernism?. Do you also recognise the pliability of language that I tried to express with the ‘bed’ in AboutConstructivism? The point is that any group of people at any instance in time will produce different meanings as they communicate through language of any sort. The ‘nodes that arise’ are always different, and are always informed by different environment, and by hierarchic value-judgements that are socially influenced.

So, take any concept, and recognise the meaning you produce is never exactly the same as the meaning that could be produced in my mind, because I can never exist as you, at the same place and instance in time. Once we recognise the concepts differ, we must question how different they are, and what influences the difference.

“You could go to another land and talk and talk with people, and you will see these nodes reconstructed.

They cannot be the same nodes. They probably appear common and similar for reasons such as:

  1. You want them to be similar – this is the desire for meaning – the desire to produce a coherent meaning is one of the greatest influences. Long before the postmodernists, Voltaire said, “Tell people something they know already and they will thank you for it. Tell them something new and they will hate you for it.” We tend to seek readings in things that are readerly and followable from our perspective.
  2. Other people want you to see them as similar and are influencing you. Yes, of course. One question is: can some of the infinite views of the real be promoted to serve the vested interests of clever individuals, to dominate society?

Also, we should recognise that imaginations persevere in societies not because they are ‘valid’, but because they tend to enable the holders to protect themselves. Ideologies (including religious ones) can help to structure society in ways that are more resistant to change (of ideas) and impervious against attack, and subsequently intolerant to alternatives. They can also encourage adherents to evangelise, procreate wildly, and spread out. All this serves to perpetuate the concepts through the people who advocate them, regardless of whether the significations reflect reality. Is this what you want to chart?

(Note: this was added after the post below, and before reading it – conflict)

“If we made an infinite number of reals, it’d be pointless.”

That would be impossible to make, unless life can exist indefinitely. Can it?

I think the chart will be valuable if it helps us to decide whether or not there are an inifinite number of “reals”.

Perhaps I read too much into your few words, but I believe that you are resisting the architecture of the soul, because you want to give people freedom.

I hadn’t reflected that the concepts of freedom and soul could be opposing. Though a belief in the soul might be used to motivate people do things I disagree with (extreme example: suicide bombing).

“But if there is an aspect in the person that seeks truth, then you cover them with blinders by blurring truth because you only see oppression there, …”

I don’t deny the existence of the ‘aspect in the person’ (instinct) that seeks the concept we call ‘soul’. Soul probably serves an evolutionary purpose, because the belief in life after death affects the way we behave now. Belief in something soul-like probably helped our hunter-gather ancestors to survive better than (most of) those without the instinct to seek SoulLikeBelief?.

I suppose my questions are: how much could you ever know that was ‘true’ about soul? Should we allow concepts of the soul to affect the way we behave in this life? And in particular, are there any sacrifices that should be made in this life for the sake of the soul?

I really feel that soul-belief is just indulging human instincts such as: escaping the fear of death, and desiring to perpetuate the illusion of a controlling self (the illusion of Free Will) – from babies we love to control things and observe our effect on the world (gleefully knocking down a pile of bricks). The soul is a natural means to allay our fears of ceasing to have will and awareness.

Concepts like Free Will, soul, etc., appear across cultures, which tells me (not that they are real) that we construct them instinctively, as our experience of reality is affected by our own genetic predisposition for SoulLikeBelief?.

“… and are nervous of the situation where one person knows something that another person does not.”

I have no concern about introspectively recognising truth about ourselves (“I think therefore I am”). If we recognise this sort of knowledge is entirely relative, then in SubjectiveReality it appears on the same level as all our other knowledge. We can. So can we privilege freedom above the soul?

We can try to gain a broad understanding of realities from the individual perspectives of all the people in our communities – this is the (I think endless) task of ChartOfTheReal. Ultimately, a good society must privilege some reality above others where they are really in opposition – personally I would argue strongly to value all our freedoms in this life, and make no sacrifices for the possibility that there might be another one (that we can’t know). I don’t think we can make written rules to discipline these decisions though – that would be dogma – instead we must use dialogue and ConsensusDecisionMaking.

Just a few brainstorm-like thoughts. Don’t know how to integrate them.

I think ChartOfTheReal valuable when it allows for concepts that may not be real. There is nothing worse than discussing reality and someome comes up with “you must not talk about this because it doesn’t exist”. People can agree to dis-agree on some form of reality, but that should not disagree to give certain forms of reality a name and a definition.

Some concpets of the real are phenomenal, that means they come from our experience or our experiencing the human culture and history. So are the “reality of natural science” or the “reality of individual perception” or the “reality of God”.

Some concepts are categorial, they can’t be denied. “The absolute real” is categorical, of course it depends on the worldview. There is an objective absolute real, that we do not know. (we would never know about a parallel universe) There is an “individual absolute real” or perhaps “individual reality model” that gives structure to what a person holds true.

I would prefer the term “individual” to “subjective” in most cases. I think there is always individual perception and thinking, but whether some specific aspect is subjective or objective, that is open to inquiry.

There are reality models out there that should be integrated or mapped. There is the dualism of spirit & matter. There is the 3-worlds-concept of Popper. There are the 4 layers of reality of the Upanishads. There may be some more.

Popper sees WORLD 1: the physical reality, WORLD 2: the reality of our mind or consciousness, WORLD 3: the reality of our cultural artifacts, especially language products like theories or literature. There is an interaction model, because WORLD 2 mediates between WORLD 1 and WORLD 3. Of course this he means as a structuring of one reality, that is physical. So this suggests to look at subranges of reality and their relative properties and interactions.

The Upanishads (IIRC) have an interesting reality model regarding religious concepts. They consider 4 perspectives of reality: (1) reality as the world given (2) Gods/spirits that live in individuals (like the spirit of the bears, spirit of the well) (3) the concept of a unique creator God (4) the concept of an absolute not-individual GOD-ness. (my words, have to look that up). These 4 perspectives of reality are thought to not exclude each other but to be human perspectives onto the one reality.

I think there is an important sub-structure of concepts of the real: mind-dependent reals and mind-independent reals.

Plato thought that ideas (like e. g. “circle”) have a mind-independent reality. That what we perceive as real is like shadows of these world of ideas. (Basis for the Idealism - Realism - conflict ) So it may be necessary to think about the relationships or priority that reals may have.

We also need the concept of representation. For example, the “scientific real” is meant to represent “the Universe” (at least the principles of it).

Jam, even dogs make beds, and recognize what human beds are for.

You have asserted that these nodes do not arise in other cultures, but frankly, I find your belief unreasonable.

We share the valuing of different culture’s imaginations. If three means “good luck” in one culture, “bad luck” in another, and the color green in another, – these inter-subjective cultural creations can of course differ. But 3 remains 3. It is 1 more than 2, and 1 less than 4.

It has nothing to do with wanting it to be the case, and it has nothing to do with someone influencing me.

If you cannot see eye-to-eye with me on this, then we’re basically done talking here. And these nodes arise and re-arise. Maybe not exactly as expressed here, but basically the same. Some cultures may emphasize one more than the other, but they remain basically the same.

I can’t continue if you can’t concede this, and I think you’re deciding not to. Basically, I see it as just plain being obstinate.

Jam, I do not think that the ChartOfTheReal is infinite. Actually I do not believe in a outside-of-our-mind-real infinite, I know it as a concept of our mind and of mathematics, as iterative operation that can be thought to continue while increasing or decreasing scale, but I fail to see anything in the physical real that is infinite. As ChartOfTheReal is physical, I think it must be finite. All categorial thinking is finite because it abstracts until the phenomena can be handled in a small number. It is up to us to find these abstractions.

“Jam, even dogs make beds, and recognize what human beds are for.”

Yes we are straw dogs. Though dogs cannot imagine beds, or think of what beds would be like in the future. I think that ability is uniquely human on Earth.

But 3 remains 3. It is 1 more than 2, and 1 less than 4.

I thought I had expressed myself well on this before. I’m saying that these numbers and arithmetic are not open to questioning by definition, because our societies all prohibit us from questioning it – if I claimed that 1+2=7 then I would simply be crazy – that is a social norm.

To take an extreme example (it has to be extreme, because few people would argue with this pure mathematical abstraction) I think some anarcho-primitivists would argue that the way we deal with numbers privileges numerate people over others, and the abstractions should be abandoned, along with written text. It is hard for me to argue their point of view, because I also think they’re crazy.

Somewhere at another extreme from mathematics is the divine. The concept of the soul (and other SoulLikeBelief?) is open to independent interpretation by everyone, and we can never have any confidence that we have similar abstractions, because unlike mathematics it cannot be used, or tested, or in any way judged in this lifetime. We may be able to experience soul-like-sensations introspectively, and this can only tell us something about ourselves not about the abstractions.

If you cannot see eye-to-eye with me on this, then we’re basically done talking here. … I can’t continue if you can’t concede this, and I think you’re deciding not to. Basically, I see it as just plain being obstinate.

Lion, it seems to me that both of us hold faith positions, and neither of us will yield unless something causes great cognitive dissonance. I’m tempted to try to demonstrate from a postmodernist perspective that we can have any number of readings of “real” (that would be a learning experience for me, as I’d have to study postmodernism properly), but I think I’m more likely to annoy you than achieve anything worthwhile. Nonetheless, this has been a stimulating discussion for me.

I wish you would stop telling me about a postmodern perspective, and instead answer from your perspective.

To be authentic is one of the major steps out of the postmodern trap.

I was talking with my friend Phil when we were younger, and I said, “Phil, at the very least, you can be certain that you exist.

At the time, he answered, “Can I? The Buddhists say I don’t.”

He was absorbed in post-modern thought at the time.

But 15 years later, he said, “You were right Lion, and I had misinterpreted the Buddhists.”

The soul is arguably the most universal aspect of human understanding across the board – like sun, moon, air, water, and dirt.

Every indigenous culture the world over recognizes it. Every religious society recognizes it. Every poet recognizes it. Heck, secular humanists recognize it, though selecting very carefully other words for it, in order to avoid invoking invisible fairies and ghosts. In five million years, if sentients are still around, they will be talking about soul.

We differ on the details, (even high level details,) of course; But the basic fact of the soul – that is universally recognized.

Lion I assure you that you are wrong about this. I used to organise a local Secular Humanist group, I’ve been to many meetings, and a conference, and my parents are still members of the BHA. Secular Humanists definitely do not recognise soul as anything other than a poetic expression (the life and soul of the party). It is just a way of conveying feelings!

“The soul is arguably the most universal aspect of human understanding across the board – like sun, moon, air, water, and dirt.”

Where is the soul? I can show you where to find and inspect the other stuff in material reality.

“Heck, secular humanists recognize it, though selecting very carefully other words for it, in order to avoid invoking invisible fairies and ghosts.”

NO! We do not believe in the soul is real. Many Humanists ignore the whole issue of the soul, and mostly in order to upset religious believers, often compare God to concepts like fairies or unicorns – that is why I try not to call myself a Humanist any more. I still hold a humanistic worldview. I recognise that many people believe in the soul, and we can express certain feelings using the word. It is not true in any other sense! Here is a similar example in my mind:

My partner often says “I know that I can fly like superman, because I can feel the ability. I just choose not to.”

Is my partner’s flying ability real? It definitely is to my partner, it is not a joke.

Where’s the letter “A”, or a feeling of warmth? If you like Watchmen and are “moved” by it, what is moved?

Do Secular Humanists deny Soul? Then they do it not because they don’t see the real, but because they’re being pedantic about a word. They’re being obstinant, which is not the same as being insincere. They are being sincerely obstinant.

The Ramones: "What can you do? With a brat like that oh yeah oh yeah, what can you lose?"

You just gotta shake it off.

I know what your friend is talking about, actually.

The answer is: Your friend rightly perceives the soul’s flight. It is true: We can fly. We all experience it in our dreams.

But not yet in the material world..! We haven’t yet invented the jetpacks for it. (Actually, some people have, but they are difficult to get ahold of.)


There are 2-3 more “reals” I want to put in here; the ImagiReal? being one of them, which I’ll probably end up giving its own article.

I want to shorten the long sections, and lengthen the short ones.

A deeper articulation / understanding of the differences between the PostModern position that I used to hold, and the transitions to the (global / evolutionary-spirituality / pattern-theory / post-postmodern) perspective that I now hold, is something that’d be great, because then we could save JamBaltine a lot of time, or at least come to a better understanding of our difference, inability to make commitments.

When I say the word “divine,” people seem to assume I mean something un-natural / contrary to physics or naturalism, because we consider the moral and spiritual and mental-phenomenal as something other than natural. It is hard to blame people for this supposition, and yet I cannot find another word, (save a fabricated word: “Aethra,” which only begs explanation. Yet explanation is exactly what is required.) ChristopherAlexander titles his book “The Luminous Ground,” and I believe (not having read his book) that he is sensing what I am calling “the divine.” I think articulation will come out through the ImagiReal? article, though I don’t know that it will be sufficient; A page “WithinNess?,” to support both UniverseIsPerson? and ImagiReal? (and parts of the ChartOfTheReal,) may do better.

I do believe that reclaiming the language of the sacred and the divine is in order, because these are reflections from our heart. The common objection that “I don’t believe in sacred space, unless you say that all space is sacred” deserves a one page swat (SacredSpace?.)

There is an exploration to be had around the “realness” of the chart of the real. The page needs an explanation of “how this was constructed.” It is clear that Jam misunderstands the character of the chart, and not for lack of trying – he confuses it for “an enumeration of things that people can consider to be real,” and that is clearly (in my mind, by my self-sense,) not my intention at all. This is more about orthogonal categories of “Real,” than it is about any particular concept of what is real nad what is not; This was constructed by going through myriad conversations about “Reality,” and identifying the different characters of the use of the term “Real.” Talk of TheAbsoluteReality? is different than the character of talk of reality as “TheUniverse” is different than the character of talk of “ScientificUnderstanding” is different than talk about the concept of “in my reality,” (SubjectiveReality,) and so on. This deserves explanation in the introduction.

Two concepts of “the moral” are distinguishable.

The one is something like a tax collector or a police-man, who tells you what you can’t or shouldn’t do, in order to make sure you live in accord with community values for the health and well being of society.

The second concept of the moral is something like angels, joy, severity, love, the explorations of the human being, the existence of character and uniqueness and diversity, beauty, art, romance, and reason.

Because we do not see things like the second “in nature,” we assume that it is unnatural. And yet, how could anything be unnatural? Two senses of “natural” that overlap, yet are crucially different. The imagination of the natural overpowers what is actually natural: the infinite human soul.

Language games are not perpetrated only by those who invent new words – those who enforce the existing words are also guilty by homonym, collapsing nature 1 and nature 2 into one thing.

Lion, I can’t stay away.

I think the word we need is ‘myth’. How does myth relate to reality?


How does myth relate to reality…

Here’s what just comes out of me, before things are systematized and explained.

  • inter-subjective NarrativeLevel
  • “purple,” by Graves theory – tribal myth, tribes
  • the language the Damanhurians speak
  • myth as communications vehicle, able to address pre-form ideas
  • myth as imagination, pre-scientific understanding
  • myth as social cohesive force
  • myth as dream and unconscious forces
  • myth connecting with the ImagiReal?
  • myth as sensory device for the intuition
  • “Great truths are felt, before the are understood.”
  • religious myths

Because I seek the psychic fissure points, I personally concentrate my attention on the ImagiReal?, and I often work to RealIze? what is present in myth. There is theology present within Native American myths, for example; There are always core choices taken when selecting metaphors that will color the rest of the metaphors that are made to work with it.

That the world is a turtle is not true; That we are on a great creature that is going somewhere, vaster than we can see, that is true.

Myth can give access to visions that looking at the face of things obscure. To feel the blush beneath another’s skin, you can’t be staring at their face. We have to sense the spirits within, and then we can sense the spirits within another, and find resonant terms.

This said, there is incredible danger to the program for progress when we forget that it is just a myth – especially when we willfully forget that it is just a myth – a sin plausibly carried out within New Age communities, for example; Like Jocasta asking Oedipus to just let things be. Oedipus continues searching for truth, though, and at the end of the trilogy, is honored by the Gods for it.

Myth will show up in the ChartOfTheReal under “InterSubjective?,” because myth becomes ScientificUnderstanding for the indigenous culture. But myth will also show up under the ImagiReal?. When HelmutLeitner adds PatternTheory, it will likely show up under there as well, because of the way that myth, in older cultures, simultaneously serves (what it is crazy to call) entertainment, and served basic factual knowledge about the world, and reflected the heart and tribal ways, and so on, and so forth. Are these real or not? Helmut would say, “They are a pattern that works, and can be verified to work, we can see by it’s effects.” I would say that they reflect the reality within the heart, they clothe the soul (as well as doing all of these other things.)

Our modern ScientificUnderstanding is true because it’s real to TheUniverse, but it’s false because it does not clothe the soul, leaving it naked.

This is what I basically have to say about how myth relates to reality. But I’m not putting serious time to it; I am trying to pay attention to this thing right now…

l Lion, your intuition ChristopherAlexander titles his book “The Luminous Ground,” and I believe (not having read his book) that he is sensing what I am calling “the divine.” “ is correct. Alexander talks about how the devine becomes perceptible in system that have an extremely high “quality of life”, especially in relationship with “color chords” (my words).

Helmut, thank you.

Jam, you may want to investigate JeanHouston and BrianSwimme as well.

A general reading through EvolutionarySpirituality people will give you a fair sense of my idea of the relationship between myth and reality.

Draft Taxonomy of Realities (reworked from TOC)

Just a try. – hl

Ways to interact with this list or taxonomy of realities:

It’ll take some time to think about this and see how my thoughts respond, but I am thinking about this and trying it out in my mind.

Spiritual and religous realities are under-represented, because I do not have the same quality of access to them. I would be grateful for suggestions.

No, no, no; I absolutely love this. I’ve already written several pages of thoughts and notes; This is really, really great.

What I worried about wasn’t religion; What I worried about was the placement of the universe – it is the material universe that I thought required more prominant placement. :)

When I get my notes transferred from my netbook…

Lion, I think this is arbitrary. The hierarchy is artificial and could be turned inside out like a torus. It is this way because we started with the discussion AboutConstructivism that puts the individual mind in the prime position, and I didn’t want ot push the concept of objective reality. One could experiment with other ways of ordering, maybe according to possible worldviews. Maybe someone might put CREATOR REALITY below POWER REALITY or STORY REALITY, who knows?

Yes, of course, – but this is our representation.

We can make it like we like; We can make it how it strikes us as true. It is our living room, our piece of clay.

“Arbitrary,” – sure: Like, how you arrange your hair, the clothes you choose to put on, the thoughts you choose to think.

You distinguished the thought reality – a realm of communication, thoughts, but also categories. It is consequential, is it not? The problem with RadicalConstructivism? is largely a problem of categorization, after all: “All is subjective.” Perhaps I over-apply, but I think it continues to be useful to work the clay.

That said, it would be a lot of work.

An idea occurs to me: Let’s make our drafts into multiple “Charts of the Real.”

I just remembered that I had made one before: the FiveWorldsMandala.

I can separate mine out into “LionsChartOfTheReal?.”

You could call the draft you’ve proposed, “HelmutsChartOfTheReal?.”

If we want to encourage collaboration, we could take our names out: “ChartOfTheRealA?” and “ChartOfTheRealB?” (and ChartOfTheRealC? and so on.) Or I could call mine “EvolutionarySpiritualityChartOfTheReal?,” or “NaturalisticIdealismsChartOfTheReal?,” or something like that.

Then we’d put “ChartOfTheReal” as their category, and point this page to the others.

Lion, when I saw FiveWorldsMandala being created by you, I was unable to relate to it. It was unclear to me what the five categories meant to be and what the (1 + 4) structure with “story” in the middle meant to model. With the background of the current dicussion this becomes much easier, because the goal has shifted from the usual “getting to agreement about a shared structure” to “getting to an understanding of a personal structure”, maybe even in draft stage. This becomes very relaxed, compared to typical worldview discussion.

At the moment I’m exhausted and need to relax and rethink. Probably I won’t be able to add to the topic for a while.

I have not yet thought out what it would mean to put “creator-reality” beneath or above or to the side of “power-reality,” “story-reality,” and so on. It takes time to imbibe these ideas, and then put them in different relations, to feel what it is like, what we think it would do, to ask the questions you listed that test it, and so on.

Lion and Jam: Reality and Words

Jam, in the chance that you are seeing this --

Notice how nodes reoccur. Notice how Helmut’s chart, while different than my own chart – has many of the same substances. Note that there is form and substance, and correspondence here. See “Popper’s World 2” listed here.

Also see how I drew a total blank on “subjective,” and then Helmut went (I’m putting words in his mouth:) “Well wait a second Lion, there’s memory, and communication, and thought,” filling in the strokes and painting the picture.

When we are “done” (this will never be “done,” but hang with me,) and if you understand this, then you will be able to look at a given cosmologies map, and correlate it and correspond it.

It is like when a mathematician learns abstract group theory. The math major who has learned group theory who encounters linear algebra for the first time can, from very little, extrapolate a lot in short order, because there is underlying architecture. Whereas the introductory class (that requires no group theory background) has to manually construct a lot of things, the class that already understands group theory can just breeze right through, because it is a special case.

When you have the larger maps, then you can look at a given map (perhaps what is presented in a movie, or in an argument, or in a story in a book, or something,) and then you can say, “Oh, it specifies A and E perfectly well, but completely misses the existence of B, C, D, and F. This is understandable because those people are dealing with X right now, but this is how it is going.”

The nodes are real. Our analysis differ. But because the nodes are real, our analysis correspond.

I’m going to start working through this post-discussion. What do you think about my partner’s ability to fly (at the end of the first discussion)?

Sorry, I missed it; – I had wondered what those summary comments were about. I replied above.

Just saw this: Science is Real. :)

Lion, thank you for the “science is real” link. A great example of infotainment! There is a second clip “meet the elements” that is even more educating.

I reorder the “Draft taxonomy of the realities” according to how a scientist would feel about this.

Draft Taxonomy of Realities, possible ordering of the (natural) scientist

Just a try at this. Note that I did not change/add/remove the entries. Still, a totally different view of reality emerges. Some entries or branches of the hierarchy may be felt irrelevant. MIND REALITY branches could be considers as one irrelevant entry of human psychology. LANGUAGE REALITY branches could be considered part of mathematics. All LIMITRELATED entries could be transferred to irrelevant PHILOSOPHY. – hl

Because of the Identifications ABSOLUTE = PHYSICAL = SCIENCE = UNIVERSE and SHARED = SOCIAL, that is typical for kinds of realism, the hierarchy becomes simpler and more flat-looking. Questions of the mind, the language and philosophy somehow disappear from the main paths of the hierarchy.

It is interesting to me that these exercises are still difficult: To look over the painted hierarchies, so many questions appear.

And yet, they also explain so much – about the diversity of interiority, the ground that we stand on, about the difficulty of agreement and communication.

I continue to reflect on these experiments.


1. There are people who oppose neologism, and see it as the grounds of sloppy thinking (or worse, abusive mind control,) but I disagree strongly, and suggest that there simply are no words for these ideas in the common English language.

Define external redirect: RealIze RadicalConstructivism JapJi SoulLikeBelief LionsChartOfTheReal WithinNess TheAbsoluteReality NaturalisticIdealismsChartOfTheReal PkD HelmutsChartOfTheReal ImagiReal SacredSpace UniverseIsPerson PostModernism ChartOfTheRealC ChartOfTheRealA EvolutionarySpiritualityChartOfTheReal ModernScience ChartOfTheRealB InterSubjective

EditNearLinks: ConsensusDecisionMaking ChristopherAlexander