Defining Reality – Objective, Subjective, and the Nature of Illusion

There tends to be a constant form of confusion around the idea of what we call “reality” in the objective sense, and the nature of subjective reality as a personal experience. Whenever the term “illusion” or “delusion” is used, it’s referring to the subjective reality that we all create out of or in place of the objective, neutral and meaningless reality we all share in common. So let’s break these interrelated ideas down by describing and explaining them separately . . . .

Objective Reality

What we refer to as objective reality is the one that we all share in common and exists in a neutral state that’s void of meaning. This is what we can think of as the “unified field of information” that contains all attributes, qualities, archetypes, images, life-forms, and so on, that lays the foundation necessary for creating individual realities that are cohesive and correlated to the overall shared reality. This is the field of possibility that exists before anything is filtered out, abstracted and reformulated by the individual mind. In an outdoor setting we all see and hear the same trees, sky, bushes, flowers, sidewalk, cars, buildings, etc. In an indoor setting we all see the same furnishings, artwork, plants, people, and so on, as the basic elements that make up that environment.

When we share an environment or event, we’re all submerged in and a part of the same group information that’s available to everyone involved as a means of forming our perception and experience of the situation. This can be thought of as the universal, archetypal reality of the collective unconscious or mass consciousness of humanity (and Nature) as the group mind of the earth plane. This is a global reality that’s comprised of common elements.

Subjective Reality

What we refer to as subjective reality is the one that’s naturally created by the individual mind as their perception and how they form their own individual “experience” of the objective reality through an internal process. Our experience of the external world is formed by our mental paradigm as the informational structure of our mind formed out of accumulated memory. Our mental paradigm basically consists of our habitual mood, values, beliefs, preferences, and memories. As we form a “value” of some kind, a mental filter is created and set in place that acts to filter all the information that’s available in any given situation, abstracting and causing to stand out whatever pertains to our value in some way – whether for or against it.

Likewise, as we form a belief about something it sets up a series of mental filters that bring forward in our outer reality only what matches and can be used in a cohesive manner to create the reality of our belief. All other information that doesn’t pertain to our belief recedes and fades into the background where it goes largely unnoticed. We don’t use it in order to create our experience. By way of this natural process of filtering and only using certain parts of the information available in the whole, we act to naturally perceive our beliefs as an actual reality, making them seem real and because of this we don’t realize their beliefs. Preferences as likes and dislikes do the same thing. Filters are created based on preferences that produce a feeling of harmony or discord and become attributes that aid in shaping our experiences.

Our memories serve as a kind of metaphorical filter that we look through that brings to the foreground in an enhanced manner whatever can be used in a situation to create the same type of experience as the memory. Our memories set the basis for all of our intentions and expectations in a situation. Whatever expectation we hold as a preconceived notion forms a predisposition and acts to only select and utilize the information that’s necessary to create what we expected.

Our mind acts as an information processing mechanism that’s always sorting out information and reorganizing it into unique configurations as a means of creating our experiences of any given set of circumstances. Our mental model exists as a kind of “theme” (frequency) that consistently produces the same type of reality that’s unique to us as our own creation. Every personal experience is the expression of one possibility out of an infinite number of possibilities. And every person will form a unique version of reality out of the same overall reality as their perception of it.

Perception, Meaning, and the Nature of Experience

Our perception in any situation is formed by the perceptual filters set into place as the means of sorting through billions of bits of information to abstract only a handful and reconfigure it into a new idea as an “interpretation” of the data selected. The data obtained in any situation is abstract and void of meaning until it’s interpreted. Out of a small amount of selected information we form our interpretation as a means of creating our experience by the “meaning” we give it by how we reform it internally as a congruent part of an ongoing story.

The meaning we give things forms our internal dialogue as a kind of story we’re always in the process of telling ourselves about things. We take the information naturally selected as a match to our values, preferences, and beliefs and further modify them by how we adapt them to the ongoing story we’re always in the process of telling as a means of explaining and describing things. This ongoing story that we’re always in the process of telling is what gives things the meaning they have for us and ultimately becomes a kind of “life theme” that produces a consistent version of reality. Through a simple process of self-observation you’ll notice that there’s always one part of you talking to another part of you.

The very act of observing and perceiving something reorganizes the different aspects of it, enhancing and strengthening some, while downplaying and ignoring others, reshaping it into a new variable as a means of experiencing it. Any belief that we form becomes a filter that not only determines what we see or don’t see in a situation, but also determines how we interpret it to give it the meaning that it has. Things only mean what we say they mean. This forms another fundamental misconception. All meaning is subjective in nature and varies with every single person. We create our experience of any situation or event based on the meaning we give it and what we “tell ourselves” about it as a result.

What something means to us is based on our values and what’s important or not important to us, what we believe to be true and thereby use as a means of evaluating it for accuracy, and the memories we associate with it as a means of interpreting it. Our memories not only act to shape our values and what we come to believe or disbelieve, but are in return shaped out of our values and beliefs, which all act together in a cohesive manner to spawn each other while also serving to support, validate, and justify each other in forming a coherent version of reality that’s consistent and always makes sense to us.

Our values, beliefs, preferences, and memories work together to produce a coherent model as a dynamic series of mental filters that function to only perceive the information in the whole that can be used to construct the reality of our mental paradigm. Each person acts to develop their own mental model which is used to produce a subjective variation of an objective neutral reality as the means of creating. Our experience of reality is something we’re (our mind) always creating. While others may act to give us the subliminal suggestions that become our subconscious programming, we are always the one accepting and integrating it into our mental paradigm and then utilizing it as a means of creating ourselves.

For example, a person who forms a belief that they’re “not wanted” will interpret any situation or actions of another to mean that. They’ll only see in any situation what they can use as the means of creating an experience of not being wanted, and are constantly acting to validate their own beliefs. Even when someone does want them and demonstrates that through their actions and how they treat them, they’ll still interpret it in whatever way they need to as a means of creating the experience of not being wanted. This tendency and natural ability to skew reality to make it mean whatever we decide to, is what’s commonly referred to as an “illusion”.

Illusions that become Delusions

When we form convincing realities out of our beliefs (which is a natural function of the mind), it forms an illusion that we use as the means of deceiving and deluding ourselves. This means it’s only real to us and nobody else sees it or experiences it in the same way that we do. The same situation will cause one person to feel not wanted, while another may feel they’re being coerced or manipulated, while still another may find it friendly and inviting. Each person will interpret the same behaviors and activities to mean different things and create entirely different types of experiences based on their subconscious programming. Every person that’s a part of the same situation is experiencing it in a different way based on how it’s filtered through their mental paradigm.

 We don’t ever change the objective outer reality directly in terms of what everyone else is also seeing, but rather how it “appears” to us. All things take on the appearance they do as a reflection of the mind viewing them and acting to shape them as a mental projection. The same objective reality appears different to each individual observing and producing an experience of it. As we turn an objective reality into a personal version as our experience, we become subject to our own creation. As we create our own experience of reality, we sense ourselves “as” and “through” our experience, and we shape our perception of our “self” to be the same.

We “become” whatever we believe about ourselves as an experience, and by what we tell ourselves about things that make them mean what they do. As we assign meaning to things we form our story about our self out of them by experiencing our self “through them”. As we form realities out of our beliefs, they become delusions that we willfully maintain even when situations serve to contradict or disprove them. Most people will argue to defend their beliefs about things rather than change them. They fall in love with their own opinions while mistaking them for being true. As we tell our story about things we build our identity around them and use them as a means of explaining what happened to us that made us the way we are, and rather than changing our inner world we expect the outer world to somehow magically change instead. This is because we don’t realize that the outer world is being created by our inner world as a correspondence.

Delusion and how we Deceive Ourselves

Our core beliefs are formed by us as children based on how we interpreted intense emotional events before we developed our ability to reason and logically analyze them in an objective manner. As children, we’re in a purely unconscious and subjective state where everything is about us. The primary beliefs we formed out of emotional states became the premise and mental filters out of which we formed all of our other beliefs. The story we began telling ourselves as a child in order to try and make sense of emotionally charged experiences, formed the basis for our mental model out of which we processed all information as a means of creating our perception of reality. It became our subconscious programming that formed the basis for all of our experiences. Whatever we program our subconscious with as an “imaginary emotionally intense idea” becomes the basis for reality as an experience. Because we can experience the reality of our beliefs we don’t realize that they’re only true due to our ability to create them through our perception of them.

We don’t form individual beliefs about things, but rather form a system of beliefs that are compatible and serve to support, justify, validate, and prove each other. This is why experiences that contradict a single belief or perspective is usually ignored, argued against, or discredited using other beliefs, and the belief maintained instead, and sometimes even strengthened as a result. To change a belief requires changing the core belief spawning it, which comes only through a shift in awareness that alters and modifies our paradigm.

All beliefs are formed out of our mental model and can only be changed by incorporating new information that modifies the whole structure. This only comes through direct experience that’s contemplated as a consideration that’s allowed to take hold in the imagination where it’s formed into a possible, and therefore “believable” reality as an internal experience. We can only comprehend what we can form as an internal representation, and we can only do what we can first imagine ourselves doing.

This natural process of the individual mind in creating reality by imagining it is what’s referred to as replacing objective reality with illusions that become a form of delusion. When we don’t realize how our own mind works to create our reality, and we’re always operating out of an unconscious state, our tendency towards self-deception is enormous and often very compelling. This results from the fact that we don’t understand how our own mind works and haven’t developed the skill in knowing how to operate it consciously. Because the most powerful aspect of our mind operates without our direct awareness we don’t realize its power to create. Through a lack of true self-awareness we become subject to our own creations instead of mastering our ability to create. Anytime we live out of the story of our formative conditioning as the basis for our perceptions and means of interpreting the events of our life, we live a life of delusion and unknowingly act on ourselves to deceive ourselves.

Summary:

What we’ve come to call “reality” is a very elusive idea that’s constantly being reshaped to take on a new and unique appearance based on the mind interacting with it. Each individual cultivates their own mental model which acts as a filtering system for abstracting certain information in any situation and reorganizing it by how they interpret it to give it meaning. The meaning we give things shapes how we form our experience of it. Our experience comes as our feelings and internal dialogue as what we tell ourselves about it while reforming it in our mind as a internal representation. Meaning, like the mind creating it, is threefold in nature. Whatever we make something mean through our story about it means the same thing about us, other people, and the world in general. Whatever beliefs we form about ourselves, we also use as the means of shaping others and the events of the world to be of the same nature and idea. Every aspect of our reality supports every other aspect, and serves to prove and justify it as being real and therefore true.

We create a subjective experience of reality from a completely unconscious state, and as a result, don’t realize what we’re doing. We don’t realize our mind’s own power to create, and so we imagine we have no control over it. We can live our whole life feeling as though everything is happening “to us” and beyond our ability to change it. Because we’re programmed subconsciously at an early age, we consistently grow up in the reality being produce by our programming, and don’t realize we’re the one actually creating it. Once we begin realizing how our own mind works to form beliefs around whatever we’ve been taught, we can become self-aware and recognize how it is we’re doing it. Once we begin realizing and forming a practical understanding of how our mind works to create our experiences of reality, we can begin operating it in an intentional and deliberate manner by learning how to program ourselves to produce the type of experiences we want.

Dr. Linda Gadbois

Linda holds a doctorate in Spiritual Sciences, and a Bachelor's in Clinical Hypnotherapy, along with numerous specialty certifications. She's a professional educator and Mentor, and offers a wide variety of Mentoring and Consulting Services, along with professional training programs. Some of her specialties include Personal Transformation, Self-Mastery, Spiritual Development, and Integrative Mind-Body Medicine. For more info visit our Personal and Professional Services pages in the top menu bar of this site, or email us at: info@drlindagadbois.com

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