Saturday, July 14, 2007

Cat's Out of the Bag

It's funny how you go through life in your little bubble, and then your bubble collides with someone else's bubble and does that bubble thing, you know where they look like one bubble, but really there's this wall down the middle. Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of a cluster, surrounded by friends (or, if you prefer the negative, walled in all around). Or sometimes you are simply all alone, lonely but floating gently over the world, with good fat perspective all around.

Okay, enough of the bubble analogy.

The truth is, though, we carry our little reality around with us everywhere. I looked up "reality" on wikipedia (which struck me as an amazingly odd thing to do); I highly recommend the entry. It's fascinating seeing how many different things can be discussed under that one-word heading. Among other things was this:

"On a much broader and more subjective level, the private experiences, curiosity, inquiry, and selectivity involved in the personal interpretation of an event shapes reality as seen by one and only one individual and hence is called phenomenological. This form of reality might be common to others as well, but at times could also be so unique to oneself as to be never experienced or agreed upon by any one else. Much of the kind of experience deemed spiritual occurs on this level of reality. From a phenomenological perspective, reality is that which is phenomenally real and unreality is nonexistent. Individual perception can be based upon an individual's personality, focus and style of attribution, causing him or her to see only what he or she wants to see or believes to be true."

So there you have it: all your feelings, beliefs and interests, all tied up neatly in a nutshell. Or, as I said, a bubble.

If you look up the science on neurons and reality, you will get so many diverse opinions that it becomes clear that reality, for these scientists, is really a matter of opinion, just like the rest of us.

To me it seems that good friends are people who are able to share your reality. They may not agree, but they are willing to "get inside your head" (not a neuroscientific term) and be there, in your reality, with you for awhile. Good authors are able to make friends of us all by giving us a chance to share some head space with them - which of course fools those of us known as "fans" (also not a neuroscientific term) into feeling that we do, indeed, know this person, and, having shared reality with them, they must be our friend too - right? Which is, unfortunately, not true, because really, they are carefully crafting a piece of their reality and presenting it to you - a worthy occupation and wonderful to experience, but not what good friends do with each other. When you are with someone you really get on with, you are passing bits of your reality back and forth between you with the minimum of crafting and editing, and this, this is why we sometimes get fits of the giggles: we are passing things back and forth too fast and they are spiralling out of control, and it's fun as hell.

In any case it's fun sharing my extremely weird bubble with you all. I sometimes get the giggles, anyway.

And thanks muchly to Mr. Neil Gaiman for his kind words on his blog Thursday. I only heard about it today, but was very pleased, having perused many of those carefully-crafted reality bits of his, myself.

...And welcome to those new readers who followed his link here!


Anonymous said...

Hello! I'm one (of the many I'm sure) who found their way here from Neil Gaiman's excellent blog. You might enjoy Clerks 2, Kevin Smith's last movie. Altough IMO it's not nearly as good a film as the first Clerks there is a lot of good stuff between Dante and Randall about which woman Dante ought to be with on the grounds of which one 'gets you'. I find this concise but strangely eloquent, and anyone who doesn't, well, I guess they just wouldn't 'get me' (or 'share my reality' if you prefer!) Thanks for the fasciniating blog. I'm sure I'll be spending far longer than I should here from now on.

annie said...

I'm among those Gaimannites, too. :)

I have yet to read something here that doesn't mean anything to me.

phylum sinter said...

You've been Metafiltered [my avenue for re-finding your blog today].

Fine post here... and at the risk of sounding crazy i'll go on record saying that indeed the bubble analogy is one i've used before -- but really it's about fields, energy fields perhaps. See, bubbles have this encapsulating quality of nabbing everything inside of them, whereas fields have inner and outer barriers, and i think this is essential to my understanding of reality-interference: certain people waltz into parts of our fields, then leap out of them just as easily; or to take the analogy further our fields can be influenced by things that have absolutely nothing to do with us in the personal sense but beam our desires out to them in hope of feel ing attached to them regardless... tragedy or social causes especially have this effect on a large part of the populace, and the idea of bubbles is just too ego-y for me to think these people should deserve true connections with everything they care about...

Or maybe not. In any case, it's a wonderful set of thoughts to hold here, just before sleeping [can you tell?] another way i've thought about reality is the pond and pebble analogy, wherein each intention is a pebble dropped into the pond -- which is you. When others come into contact with you, they're either pebbles or drops of water themselves, leaving ripples in our ponds.

Be well and thanks for the post!

Anne C. said...

I, too, followed here from Neil's link and am likely to stay.

I agree with what you said about friends sharing pieces of their reality. As soon as I read it, there was a "ping" of agreement from my own bubble.
Thank you for sharing it with us!

Anonymous said...

I won't go into stupidities by saying this is the best blog out there, but you did, at least, make my day just by its' existence.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Heather - did you know there is another blog going by the name Cabinet of Wonders?

Heather McDougal said...

I did know there was a Cabinet of Wonders site coming out of the UK (not a Blogger one). They have a whole panoply of stuff, a message board and so on; quite different than this Cabinet, which is simply me expounding on things...Is that the one you're referring to?

If not, I'd love to know about any others.