What exactly is reality and isn't it a little bit different to everyone? Since we spend such an large part of our lives asleep shouldn't dreams be considered an alternative reality?
Most Helpful Guy
This is a bit of a tricky question to deal with in a small word count.
There are two realities, there is a common reality shared by the world, and a personal reality unique to the individual.
That unique individual reality will have been moulded by personal experience, it will be dependent upon brain chemistry, it can be modified by physiological and/or psychological abnormalities. Reality for a red/green colour blind person will be slightly different than it would be for someone without the condition. They will simply have to accept on faith that the 'common reality' is different than their 'individual reality', which they usually do by simple weight of evidence. This individual reality is where some of your thoughts on dreams will come into play. Dreams are not really a separate reality per se, they are simply fragments of your brain building patterns around thoughts that it is re-organizing. But how you feel during those dreams, the emotional reactions you have to them, can affect your brain in a very real way. If you feel scared during a dream, your brain doesn't know it occurred in a dream or in reality, the same chemicals are released. And that leaves a very real history in your mind. It transforms part of your 'individual' reality. But it has no bearing on the shared reality. Every individual reality is slightly flawed however, they are all interpreting a baseline 'truth' in their own different ways. And on an individual level, you can never truly know what is the actual, real, fundamental shared reality.
The shared reality is what we would think of as being the 'truth' of existence. We basically try to determine what it is, in comparison to how we perceive reality, by almost crowd sourcing. If everyone we talk to agrees that the colour of the sky is called blue, we accept that to be true. We will never know if blue to them looks like blue to us, but we can use science to explain what the wavelength is, and understand that while we may all perceive it differently, there is a baseline truth at work there. We try to work on what that reality is through consensus, through scientific exploration, and through logic. And our understanding of that shared reality constantly evolves as we find new ways to explore it. We know the Earth is round, we know it travels around the sun, we know how old it is... all of these things are now part of the shared understanding of reality, though they were not in the past. Each step brings us closer to the truth.2
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