Bootstrap

Reality by Consensus

Barriers of Perception

Perception and indoctrination define our reality. Both conspire to ensure you overlook that there is more to our existence than meets the eye.

“I saw this young boy on a bike,” Robin Williams once joked in his stand-up act. “He could do all sorts of tricks with that bike that I thought were impossible — until the day he learned about gravity.” This comedic moment highlights an event that people don’t usually think about or consider deeply. With this casual comment, Williams pointed out an important truth about life: it is full of mystery and wonder, but our understanding of its possibilities is limited by what is considered socially or culturally acceptable.

Consensus is created through a constant reinforcement of ideas about life that conform to the majority opinion—even though these ideas may not necessarily reflect reality. Your view of the world is shaped by the consensus of your family, friends, peers, and other influential figures. Their ideas can be based on insecurity and fear. They may be afraid that others will view the world differently than they do, or that they will be exposed as wrong about their worldview. As social animals, we often seek the approval of others and want to be liked, popular, and feel as if we are part of a group. If we don’t conform to external indoctrination, we fear being ostracized or rejected by our social group.

Many belief systems are just a common language for people seeking meaning in life.

 

Many belief systems are just a common language for people seeking meaning in life. From the moment you were born, you have had other people’s interpretations of life’s meaning imposed on you. You are repeatedly told how you must view the world. If you challenge or reject this view, you may hear responses like “You’re wrong” or "You shouldn't think that way.” If your ideas differ from those of your peers, you may be reprimanded and pressured to conform. In extreme cases, if your worldview is significantly different from others’, you may be viewed as radical, in need of therapy, or even mentally ill. You may face consequences like being “canceled,” seen as unstable, or possibly institutionalized.

As social creatures, humans have a natural desire to keep their social connections. This desire can prevent people from thinking differently from the group for fear of being ostracized. To be accepted into a group, people often sacrifice some of their individuality to the will of the collective. However, this acceptance comes at a cost — the loss of individuality. Additionally, fear and insecurity create a barrier to our perception, ensuring that we overlook that there is more to our existence than what we can see.

It is unclear whether what we call reality exists on its own, or if it is shaped by the act of observation. Our understanding of reality is often limited to our five senses, which are imperfect, and the information that others give us, so we may never know for sure. There are limits to what we can know. Gregory Bateson, English anthropologist, social scientist, linguist, visual anthropologist, semiotician, and cyberneticist proposed that to fully understand a system, one must view it from the outside (or from a "meta" level) to see the patterns and relationships that govern it. Since we are inside the system, we use perception to try to better understand our reality.

Perception refers to the processes that help us make sense of different stimuli. They are based on how we interpret various sensations, but our senses are not always reliable. For example, when light enters our eyes, the resulting image is projected onto the back of our retina's upside down. Our brain then compensates by trying to fill in any gaps in the visual information received to show us the image interpreted in the correct way. The brain also combines other sensory input, like emotional context from the vagus nerve, to complete our interpretation, or “description,” of the current moment. This interpretation is influenced by our senses, past experiences, past indoctrination, and current emotional state. To ensure coherence and stability, the brain tends to form an interpretation that is roughly fifteen seconds behind the present moment, rather than processing information in real-time. Consequently, the outcome is often ambiguous and subject to individual interpretation.

What we “see” is just a small part of what aim reality has to offer. What would happen if we allowed ourselves to consider the possibility that there is more to our existence than what we can perceive with our senses, and that anyone can access it if they choose?

If we don't look to understand reality after realizing what restricts us, we'll be powerless against the flow of life, much like a leaf carried away by a river. Many people have accepted this fate, giving up the effort to challenge relentless indoctrination and accepting what they are told about the world. They become another “brick in the wall,” and a cookie-cutter version of their family, friends, and peers. While some people may try to stand out by adding a little glitter, underneath it all, their view of existence is largely the same as those around them.

 

Lazy by Design

Why do humans tend to be receptive to indoctrination? One reason is that we are naturally lazy, and our bodies try to conserve energy whenever possible. Thinking critically about reality at every step requires effort and a conscious expenditure of energy, and few people are willing to make that effort or push their bodies to do so. Fear is also a factor; we want to be accepted by our family and friends, but if we challenge their worldview, we risk being rejected, ridiculed, and isolated.

In recent years, psychologists have proposed that there are two systems of the mind: System 1 is fast, instinctive, and emotional, while System 2 is slow, deliberate, and logical. System 2 requires more energy and generates more heat, and the body resists using it. This is why people are often quick to adopt “reality by consensus,” since it is easier to accept what others tell us rather than think critically. This tendency to rely on System 1 could explain why memes spread rapidly in our society. They are often slick, prepackaged ideas that are readily accepted and rarely challenged. People pass them on to their social circle without realizing it.

If you want to remain lazy, go with the flow, and be the proverbial leaf on a river, you may have more friends and life may be easier for you in some ways. However, if you want to overcome ignorance and strive for enlightenment, you will need to become a spiritual warrior. This will require you to make strategic decisions and take the time to better understand the mysteries of life, all while challenging your own assumptions about the world. Don’t simply accept what others tell you. Instead, consider beliefs you have accepted based solely on the opinions of others and which ones you should continue to hold onto after critically examining them. The beliefs that you keep will define you as a unique individual.

We all seek happiness, and for a spiritual warrior, happiness is achieved by adhering to a consistent set of basic beliefs in life.

We all seek happiness, and for a spiritual warrior, happiness is achieved by adhering to a consistent set of basic beliefs in life. You should start by setting up a few axioms that you have faith in even though you cannot prove them. After you have a small set of axioms, you can include a limited number of tenets, or beliefs that you have thought about and decided have value to you. For example, you might adopt the tenet that in any situation, you should always give more than you take. Each tenet should be independent and not conflict with the others. In other words, no two tenets should be variations on the same theme — each should be unique. If these tenets are consistent with each other and you stay faithful to them, you will likely experience less stress, better health, and increased happiness. However, don’t stop there — aim for exuberance. If your beliefs contradict each other or you waver in your adherence to them, you will inevitably experience disharmony, cognitive dissonance, stress, illness, and—ultimately—unhappiness in life.

Having a clear set of basic beliefs can make decision-making easier. Each decision you make should align with one of your tenets. This will make you more self-reliant and give you more control over your life and surroundings. Instead of drifting aimlessly, you will be living deliberately. As a result, you will experience less fear and conflict. The goal is to let go of your defenses and current understandings of reality and allow yourself to see the world in a new way, based on your own set of tenets.

Changing your worldview allows you to experience aspects of reality that may have previously escaped you. These non-ordinary aspects of reality are available for anyone to explore. To access these dimensions, you must connect with the “energetic being” within yourself, which most people are only vaguely aware of—if at all.

 

The Philosophy of Self

People generally think of their "self" in relation to their physical body, which encompasses their identity, senses, emotions, and how they perceive the world around them. The formation of our physical self, or "I," occurs within a specific area of the brain known as the anterior precuneus. It is part of a network of brain regions that combine information about our location, movement, and bodily sensations to shape our self-awareness. Your sense of self represents you in the immediate here and now, with a particular point of view that is yours alone. It is your first-person perspective on the world around you. However, this perspective can be characterized as egocentric and self-absorbed because it perceives the self as the focal point of the universe, which limits one’s view of the world.

By tapping into our spiritual self, we can transcend our narrow focus on our physical selves and set up connections with others and the world around us. Empathy plays a crucial role in this process by enabling us to better understand the feelings of others and gain a more objective outlook on our environment and ourselves. By trying to see the world through the eyes of others, we can expand our ability to understand their experiences and get a more comprehensive perspective of the world.

Each person has a distinct energy signature that sets them apart from others.

While most individuals may be conscious of their physical and spiritual selves, some may not be aware of a third aspect of the self—the energetic being. This vital energy emanates from the body and envelops us, pervading all animate and inanimate entities. Each person has a distinct energy signature that sets them apart from others. Have you ever experienced an immediate attraction to someone you've just met, or an inexplicable sense of ease while sitting on a rock? This could be because your energy signature harmonizes with that certain individual or object. This phenomenon is called “energetic synchrony”, and it explains why we may “click” (or not) with others. Conversely, if you find a new acquaintance bothersome or a new setting distressing, it may be due to a lack of compatibility between your energies.

Your body emits energy fragments that undulate, much like the energy emanating from the sun. This energy typically coalesces to form an aura that encompasses your body, extending about an inch from the surface. However, some individuals may have auras that span several inches or even several feet. Some people can even generate spontaneous outbursts of energy, akin to a solar flare. These occurrences can be seen in non-ordinary reality (explored in detail in the next section).

The energetic aspect of your being exists, yet often goes unnoticed or disregarded. This energy serves as a conduit to a segment of reality that may be neglected, and it provides a means to transcend the limitations of perception and access non-ordinary reality. Initially, this broader outlook on the world may be startling or daunting, but once understood, the sense of wonder and trepidation will dissipate, and you can easily integrate this novel perspective into your daily life. By tapping into the energy emanating from people and objects, you can get direct knowledge that circumvents conventional intuitive or cognitive thinking.

 

Non-Ordinary Reality

“Non-ordinary reality” refers to events that may be perceived as strange or unusual by a hypothetical person who holds a limited view of the world. This could include things like accurately predicting the future or seeing someone disappear before your eyes. These types of events are often dismissed as coincidences or hallucinations, but if you are open to the possibility of non-ordinary reality and able to overcome fear, they can become a regular part of your experience.

According to Arthur C. Clarke, a renowned science fiction writer, any advanced technology can seem like magic to individuals unable to understand it. In essence, as individuals gradually understand and embrace new technologies, they may cease to be viewed as extraordinary or enigmatic. This same principle applies to non-ordinary reality.

By discarding the limitations of social conditioning and embracing inquisitiveness and openness, we can unearth the boundless marvels of the universe that extend beyond our everyday perceptions.

As explained by the titular character in Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” I, too, have experienced remarkable incidents that surpass our typical understanding of reality. These experiences are not exclusive to me; anyone can gain access to this broader perspective of reality, provided they are receptive to it and release their preconceived notions and anxieties. By discarding the limitations of social conditioning and embracing inquisitiveness and openness, we can unearth the boundless marvels of the universe that extend beyond our everyday perceptions.

 

“Spidey Sense”

Sometimes I experience a strong intuition or “gut feeling” about future events, like the “spidey sense” described by the hero of the Spider-Man comics. This sense allows me to notice potential danger or other important information with a high level of accuracy and certainty.

The distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.

— Albert Einstein

This is different from intuition, which is just a feeling about a situation. My spidey sense has never been wrong in its predictions. Some of my friends ask me for guidance using my spidey sense, but it doesn’t quite work like that. I can’t control when I receive these flashes of knowledge. They simply pop into my head without warning. Some scientists believe that time is not linear, which could mean that my predictions are memories of events that have already happened.

I once had a moment of insight while watching the State of the Union address with a friend. Suddenly, a thought popped into my head that someone in the audience would stand up and shout from the balcony during the President's speech. To my surprise, this prediction came true when the father of a high school student killed in a shooting was removed from the audience after shouting from the balcony during the speech. While some may view this as a simple coincidence, I have found that my intuitive flashes are always exact.

Another time, as I was leaving my mother’s house after a visit with her and my cousin, I turned to say goodbye. I had a sudden feeling that something was not quite right. I hesitated before saying, “See you, Mum.”

“What’s up?” she asked.

I told her I had a feeling that I would meet a deer on my way home. I knew that I needed to be cautious and make sure not to hit it. My mother was familiar with my premonitions, as she had seen them many times before. However, my cousin was more skeptical and didn’t believe in such things.

Despite their different reactions, my prediction came true. As I neared my home at the top of a hill, I remembered the deer and cautiously slowed down. Sure enough, a six-point buck appeared by the side of the road just a few feet from the front of my car. It looked at me before calmly crossing to the other side, out of harm’s way.

Did I use my intuition or “sixth sense” to avoid a potentially dangerous situation on the road with a deer? Or was it the deer that communicated with me through energy to avoid the collision? Either way, I was able to avoid any potential harm or damage to myself, the animal, or my car. I found myself wondering whether the deer would have appeared by the roadside if I had, for instance, chosen to make a pit stop to refuel my car. Was it destined for me to meet the deer, or could a minor detour in my journey have the power to change the course of this encounter?

Another episode occurred recently when I experienced a hurricane (from the safety of my porch) with wind speeds of 100 mph and heavy rain. As I looked at the line of trees in my neighbor’s backyard, I noticed one tree that I felt confident was going to fall. Even so, it stayed standing through the hurricane. A week later, another intense storm hit, and the power went out. I went to a friend’s house to shower and as I drove behind my neighbor’s home, I saw that the road was blocked by that very tree that I had previously identified would fall.

The most profound instance of my spidey sense occurred as my mother suffered from health issues.  She had a long history of smoking and several related health issues, including COPD and emphysema. Despite receiving oxygen treatment, the doctors gave her only a year to live. Five years later, I was visiting her and trying to figure out how to keep her at home instead of in a skilled nursing home. I lived too far away to provide much direct aid, but I had a friend who was unemployed and lived nearby. I thought about offering him some money to help with tasks like grocery shopping and banking for my mother, to help her stay in her apartment longer.

Suddenly, I had an unwavering feeling that my mother’s health was going to take a turn for the worse, and that my friend’s help in taking care of her would not be needed. When I next arrived at my mother’s home, I was overwhelmed with emotion and told her that I believed she was going to die soon. Instead of dismissing my statement, my mother took it seriously and called her sisters to come and visit one last time and to help her prepare for her demise. Sure enough, a few weeks later, my mother passed away. My past experiences with correct premonitions had led my mother to trust my advice and prepare for her death.

 

Disappear From the Face of the Earth

During the daily hustle-and-bustle, it can be refreshing to take a break and escape into nature. Imagine floating down a river on a warm, sunny day with not a cloud in sight. It’s a simple yet enjoyable way to relax and unwind from the responsibilities and stress of everyday life.

Lexy, a newly acquainted coworker of mine, and I were still in the early stages of getting to know each other when we decided to spend a leisurely day floating down the river near our homes. As the sun shone brightly and there were no clouds in the sky, we enjoyed the peaceful and serene atmosphere while gently floating down the river on inner tubes. After a few hours, we decided to head to the riverbank. We were surprised to find that there was no one in sight and the area we found ourselves in was surrounded by trees, a field of grass, and rows of corn rising up a hill.

As Lexy and I left the river and stepped onto the riverbank, the weather suddenly changed dramatically. Dark clouds rolled in quickly, seeming to hang just above us. The sun was blocked out and it became almost as dark as twilight. The winds picked up, making it necessary to shout to be heard. It felt like the clouds and wind were pressing against me, and there was a buzzing in my ear.

Lexy began to panic, shouting my name and reaching out blindly as if she couldn’t see or hear me, even though I was standing right next to her. She became overwhelmed with fear and started crying. It was a scary and confusing experience for both of us.

Then, just as suddenly as it had started, the strange weather passed, and everything returned to normal. She looked at me and asked, “Where did you go? Why did you leave me?” Lexy was so frightened by this experience that even now, she refuses to talk about it.

 

Ghosts Can Be So Mischievous

I once visited Lexy one evening after she bought an old home. The house came with all the usual features like hardwood floors, a dishwasher, and two bathrooms—but it also came with a ghost. Lexy said the ghost was an old woman who presumably used to be the owner of the house. As we walked through the house, Lexy showed me each room, except for a second-floor bedroom that was off limits. She claimed that room was where the ghost was said to live. As we made our way back to the first floor, we noticed that all the lights that had been on were now off. It seemed like the ghost was trying to make her presence known.

As I left Lexy’s house later that evening, I discovered that the lights on my motorcycle weren’t working. This was odd, since they had worked fine earlier that day and the engine started without issue, showing that the battery was charged. No matter how many times I tried flipping the switch, they still wouldn’t turn on. I couldn’t help but wonder if the ghost that Lexy had told me about was somehow responsible. Despite the lack of lighting, I decided to ride through the city streets anyway. I wouldn’t allow a ghost to deter me from leaving.

I rode through the city with only the streetlights as illumination, occasionally trying the light switch to see if they would come on. When I reached the interstate several miles away, I became concerned about the danger of riding down the pitch-black highway at night without lights. Just then, the lights turned on and I had no further issues with the motorcycle’s lights.

 

I Know What You’re Thinking

Sometimes, my energetic being produces a burst of energy that originates in my gut and searches for a similar burst from someone else. When these two bursts connect, I can access the other person’s thoughts through a “direct knowledge stream.” I may mention things to them that we have never discussed before, or reference things about them that I couldn’t possibly have known. In some cases, this energetic connection can last for hours, but many people are often frightened by it and break the connection after a few minutes.

Non-ordinary reality experiences, such as these instances of mind reading or energy connection, can be unsettling for those who encounter them.

Non-ordinary reality experiences, such as these instances of mind reading or energy connection, can be unsettling for those who encounter them. I have started this connection with others before, and in one instance, someone else started a connection with me and inadvertently tried to drain my energy. To protect myself, I ended the connection and told the person to leave. When they shared the experience with others, they were met with disbelief and doubt. However, finding just one person who can confirm the experience can help bring a sense of understanding and normalcy. It’s important to remember that these types of experiences, while unusual, are not uncommon, and they can be a source of wonder and exploration.

The following day, the person who had started the energy connection with me wanted to learn more about the energetic being. However, since they had accessed it without any prior experience and readily became indulgent, I felt it was best to let it go. They were not ready to fully experience the wonders of non-ordinary reality. It is important to be prepared and have some understanding of the energetic being before trying to access it.

 

Light up the Room

The energetic being can also manifest in a way that causes two or more people to “light up a room.” This does not mean that their auras literally emit light, but rather that energy from multiple individuals combines and expands to fill the entire room. This can be a very enjoyable experience if you are with the right person, as the energy that surrounds you can feel serene and protective, almost like being back in the womb. During this state, you likely will feel free of doubt, insecurity, and worries.

Sophie is a massage therapist who has experienced the phenomenon of “lighting up a room” with other therapists. This occurs during sessions when both people are relaxed and fully present in the moment, allowing the flow of energy between them to grow, expand, and fill the entire space. This energy can be visualized as a fusion of colors and is characterized by a feeling of peace.

I do not fear these unusual occurrences. I view them as something as typical as getting up in the morning to make breakfast. However, the scientific side of me likes to explore the limits of these events. One time, Sophie was sitting in the lotus position with her eyes closed, allowing energy to flow. I approached her and tried to move my hands in front of her body, however there was an invisible force preventing me from touching her. No matter how hard I pushed, my hands couldn’t get within a foot of her. She was completely unaware of my attempt to enter her space. I was fascinated by this experience, but I let it go. After all, it’s a non-ordinary reality, and it seems that anything is possible. Just relax and enjoy.

 

You’re Pregnant

My partner stepped off a plane after a two-week vacation. “You’re pregnant,” I said, right away.

This was news to her, but it was confirmed within a few days.

“Sorry I had to reschedule our appointment,” my hairstylist said to me.

“Did you have a doctor’s appointment about your baby?” I responded.

With a look of bewilderment on her face, she said, “How did you know? I haven’t even told my friends yet.”

The body undergoes subtle changes at the start of pregnancy, and while it is possible that I could simply be more perceptive than others, I believe that the energetic being within us all radiates energy that some individuals can detect and interpret. Pregnancy is easy to spot in this way, as instead of noticeable physical changes in the woman’s body, there are subtle shifts in her energy.

 

Medical Intuition

“Remember how I told you I’ve been getting a pain in my stomach?” Dylan told me over the phone. “Well, a couple of days ago I bent over in pain on the elevator. I couldn’t get up off the floor. I saw a doctor and he has scheduled me for gallbladder surgery next week.”

“Dylan, it’s not your gallbladder. There’s something wrong with your lower spine.”

What do I know? Dylan was my close friend who lived hours away from me, but he had seen my spidey sense on multiple occasions. I hadn’t seen him in a year, but I called him with a gut feeling that something was wrong with his health. He took it seriously and began frantically trying to schedule a second opinion about his stomach pain. He was able to secure a last-minute appointment with a doctor who was going on vacation the following week. After examination and a scan, the doctor discovered that Dylan had a tumor wrapped around his lower spine. Without surgery within the next month, the doctor said Dylan would likely be paralyzed for life. Fortunately, he was able to have the surgery and make a full recovery.

 

Manifest Destiny

Our energetic being can connect with both living and nonliving things in the universe, both of which radiate energy. By manipulating this energy, we can influence our environment and bring about a desired outcome through the process of manifestation. This can be as simple as actively directing energy towards a particular goal with sheer will. While this may seem unconventional, many people have experienced the power of manifestation through intentional practices or prayer.

In my experience, when I manifest something, I feel a “click” that signals to me that the event I have manifested will come true. I have used this technique to manifest things like the gender of my child, financial resources when needed, and even good weather on a day when rain was predicted. While some may see this as pseudoscience, I have found that it can be a powerful tool for creating positive change in my life.

I am cautious in my use of manifestation, as manipulating energy can be draining for me. Additionally, I understand that manifesting certain events may have serious consequences for others. For example, manifesting a new job could potentially deprive someone else of the opportunity. Therefore, I try to be mindful of my intentions and manifest sparingly, leaving room for others to have their own experiences in the world.