Tag Archives: objective reality

Objective Reality

A Hot Day in Henderson Nevada
A Hot Day in Henderson Nevada

When I think of objective reality, I think bleak. Really bleak. Bleaker than, well, consider the following.

Science pokes around to find out how stuff works. That’s really all it’s about. The reports people believe about science on social media and elsewhere are just that: reports by non-scientists about things they don’t really understand and which are usually reported incorrectly. In other words, they’re mostly BS. Smart reporters stick the word “may” into the headline, which covers their non-objective butts, but nobody ever pays attention to that. Hell, that whole “vaccines are dangerous” thing should never have been reported in the first place. Amongst scientists, doubt began to creep in almost immediately. Amongst the public, not so much, huh? Science never once “said” that vaccines were bad. There was one study. Vaccines “may” be bad, was all it says. Turns out that they aren’t. Science, I’m trying to say, dabbles in objective reality. And, as I said, it can seem bleak.

What seems (just seems) like objective reality in science is called a Theory. What reporters call a theory, scientists call a “hypothesis.” That’s a small bit of objective reality right there. But, here, look at a few scientific theories (believed to be objective reality.)

  • Universal Gravitation (Newton’s theory of Gravity to most.) It isn’t “what goes up must come down,” either.
  • Newton’s (quite the guy) laws of motion. You know, inertia, equal but opposite reaction, stuff like that. (Newton’s theories are so solid that many call them “laws.” No violators have ever surfaced to date.
  • Newton’s (holy cats!) laws (again, laws) of thermodynamics.
  • Einstein’s theories of relativity, general and special. The discovery of gravity waves recently put the final nail in the coffin of doubters. These theories are almost too weird to believe, but they work.

Using these theories, which are believed to represent objective reality (and so far they’ve all worked quite well) one can conclude that the purpose of life is to reverse a localized buildup of negentropy. Or, to waste energy. Long story, but it’s true. Also, in biological science, one learns that life is, after all, DNA. The survivor in all cases is DNA. Recently, when some physicists were asked to describe the causes of cancer, they figured out that cancer is a way that DNA survives when the cancerous tissue is otherwise damaged. Yep. DNA will survive. This information about life is also objective reality. The universe, from a scientific point of view, doesn’t care a fig about humans.

But it likes life, in the form of DNA. Humans are just elaborate structures built by DNA to replicate itself. And, as it happens, to use up extra energy stored underground.

See, bleaker than anything, huh?

Which explains why I like humor. Studying bleakness does nothing to make life more pleasant. If all that bleak information is true, then it’s more important than ever that we treat each other with respect and kindness, because this is what you get, folks. We can enjoy this cruise on Planet Earth, or we can be miserable. Seems to me that those most afraid of objective reality are the ones most into making things worse. I’m trying to make things better. Don’t know if I will, but I’m trying. Nothing big, just trying not to be a dick too often.

In conclusion, here are a few plainly obviously true fortune cookie fortunes, along with potential objective meanings:

  • Your wealth will be augmented within the month. (Maybe you’ll pick up a quarter off of the sidewalk somewhere?)
  • Your talents will soon be recognized and awarded appropriately. (Maybe you’ll hear, “You’re a no-talent loser and I’m canning your ass!”?)
  • Your imagination will point you in a new direction. (Maybe off a cliff?)

Just stuff to think about. 🙂

Objective Reality

A View of the Rursee in Eifel National Park, Germany
A View of the Rursee in Eifel National Park, Germany

Objective reality is what each of us sees but nobody else seems to grasp, right? Well, that’s a good assumption, anyway. I’ve always liked science, which is descended from rational empiricism, and which actually tries to get a handle on objective reality. Here’s a sample of what science indicates is objectively real:

Life arises in response to a localized buildup of negentropy.

Put longer, life is a response to the laws of thermodynamics. If a planet is closer than us to a star, the energy coming off of the star will scour everything away from the planet, so entropy (generalized molecular movement) keeps on increasing. If a planet is too far away, then there’s not enough energy hitting it to build up. But if you’re like Earth, you’re in the zone! Stuff gets steadily more complex until the complexity starts using energy by its very nature, to replicate itself endlessly. That’s life.

This doesn’t do much for the essential existential crisis of finding meaning in one’s existence. Which is why most people, even scientists, don’t think about life in those terms very often. Religion is a search for meaning in life, first and foremost, which is why sometimes religion seems not to want to pay attention to science. All of which makes a great discussion, but that is not the theme of this post.

The theme of this post is that story writers deal, by their very nature, with fantasy and what could, objectively, be called lies. Because, after all, who wants to mess with objective reality when it offers no comfort? Nobody, that’s who! I’ve read of a person who has run computer simulations of evolution, in which too much adherence to objective reality is harmful to evolution. Yoiks! Short story on that, we’re all better off not being too closely connected with objective reality. So, that, my writerly friends, is where we come in.

Real life is full of situations where objective reality intrudes. Fact is, you gotta eat, so you gotta work, so you can’t do all the fun stuff you want to do, unless you’re so damned rich that you don’t have to work. But in those cases, very few people just goof off. Gates to Trump (there’s a spectrum for you,) rich people still work, even though they don’t, objectively, need to. If they clung strictly to objective reality then every rich person would be a leech on society, and worse than worthless. Instead, many of them prove quite useful, no matter what your politics. So, objective reality is something to be, not avoided, but not adhered to overly strictly.

And for the non-rich, that means some form of escape from that day to day, humdrum, work-a-day life that everybody seems to get stuck with. And, guess what? Some of us try to provide that escape by creating worlds where objective reality doesn’t matter, but what matters is the faux reality that we construct. Have you ever read a book that sucked you in so well that you virtually lived in that world until the book ended? There you go! Some movies do that, and even a few television shows. (Breaking Bad was like that for me.) And as for books, there have been hundreds that worked that way for me, from Huckleberry Finn to Gravity’s Rainbow and many in between.

So, we are in a proud profession, helping not only our readers, but the march of evolution itself, by providing alternative, more comprehensible, and definitely less bleak, places to keep comfortably away from objective reality.

Makes you kind of quiver with immodest pride, doesn’t it?