I was recently reminded of a time of playing in the woods as a child, and watching the early morning fall fog roll over the moss covered, old fallen and rotting cedar logs.
Reality, my reality, is a certain state of mind. It is green pine needles and fire colored leaves, wet moss and dense fog oozing through lichen-covered trunks of tall trees. It is working the land for my food and learning the nuances of all the animals that I meet. It is endless hours of just being and thinking and doing.
In nature, time is completely different. It is not regulated into minutes, hours and days of the week, but into the things you have managed to accomplish by the time it is too dark to see outside and the odd flukes of life: Like having to chase three large piglets and their four hundred pound parents back into their pen, or else every crop you have just planted will be uprooted and eaten. Or dancing around a twenty-foot tall bonfire in bare feet while listening to AC-DC. Or rounding up a couple of hundred chickens in the middle of the night because they are too dimwitted to go back into the poultry building by themselves. Or maybe it is the times when you’re sitting down at the table in the orchard eating food that you’ve grown from a seed and nurtured for weeks, surrounded by people with a warm feeling in your chest and a big dumb grin on your face for no reason at all.
Reality could also be any of those near death experiences, where you stop, muscles ridged, and think, “I should be dead right now…but I’m not…..” and then you relax and in the back of your mind, you think, “…That was fun.” Those are all things that are real because your inner being is saying in a satisfied tone, “Yes, this is real.” And when those kinds of things happen, you realize that time is really not all that important.
The other belief that I have is reality is what you believe it is. It is the reason behind believing what you see is real; that sixth sense that all humans have. Some have just been trained to ignore it. It is that sixth sense that you use when you are subconsciously aware of being watched, when the hairs on the back of your neck stand straight up. It is that weird feeling that something is going to go wrong, but you have no idea who or what it is that will be affected by that ghostly notion. It is that inexplicable connection that all humans are somehow connected with each other, and if you have been in any greenish area for any extended length of time, you have a feeling that we are also connected with nature on a deeper level.
You know, when you watch a particularly disconcerting movie that you have trouble seeing how it can be real, but you want to believe in it even though something in the back of your brain is sounding alarms, tell you otherwise? You notice something that is just the littlest bit wrong or impossible in “reality.”
It is that subconscious, bullshit meter, that I have come to rely on, in movies and in other certain select situations. To “trust your gut” has been my best way of telling when something looks real or feels real, but the truth is that that thing, or place or conversation never happened or was dreamt up.
Our perception of “reality,” the place and time that we humans perceive to be “real” is entirely governed by our brain. Every time someone says, “it is real because I can touch it. I see it and I can touch it,” I have to laugh. It may be real to your brain, but it could be far from real. We are afraid of things we cannot control. Because of that we lean heavily on our five senses and completely ignore the sixth. “The Matrix” is a perfect example of that. For all you know, that cup of coffee you are about to enjoy in nothing but electrical impulses being sent to your brain to make it think that what you are about to enjoy is coffee, when in fact it could be nothing at all and you are lying on a slab in some lab living your life…but only in your head.
“There is no spoon.” – from The Matrix.
Everything we see, touch, taste and smell is just a series of reactions in our brain. Maybe it is due to my overexposure to “The Matrix” at a tender and impressionable age and my inability to be compatible with electronics, like frequently frying my computer and having my files disappear for no reason, that has caused me to be suspicious of any non-nature related place and thing because of its undoubted hideous purpose. (Maybe the electronic issues are also due to the fact that I have been a firm believer of Judgment Day, where the machines take over the world, thanks to my parents for raising me on “The Terminator” series.)
I have always, even at an early age, seen nature as real and cities and urban culture as a lie with an ulterior motive. That somehow it is a less palpable existence to live in the city; that there is something very fundamentally wrong about great towers of concrete, rebar and glass.
Even though I do watch a lot of post-apocalyptic, zombie takeover, machine ruled and mind-bending movies that questions the very meaning of real like “Inception,” “Surrogates” and even “Blade Runner,” I have always had a kind of detachment with “reality” because the characters and worlds in my head are so real, it can be hard to distinguish between the things in my head and the things that are going on around me some times.
There is another interesting dimension of reality. Cyberspace. “Surrogates” is a perfect example. It is in the future, where everyone has a robot double that they live their lives through. Isn’t that real? People living as someone else in a world where there is no limit to possibilities. Where we can even escape death. You see it all the time in video games. “I’m down to one life, stop shooting me.” I hear that all the time when I watch my brother play on his Xbox. You can get so fully immersed in something that is just code, that it plays tricks with your perceptions. And those experiences can teach and change you. You can learn the best way to kill someone that won’t attract attention and what to do with the body and evidence. You can experience pain without actually feeling it and you can be a galactic hero who stands by his/her moral and ethical choices. You can see and feel all of that emotionally. Isn’t that reality?
I have found that when I am on the farm, however, that that place is without question “real.” There is no wondering if I am actually sitting in a “real” place and therefore, I am not left fearing some of the horrifying creatures in my head will start crawling through the open window. At the farm, those things have a clear place. Aka, firmly trapped inside the confines of my skull and not playing havoc with my sanity. There has always been a fine line in humans. A line that can blur when dealing with artists and being crazy. That is an all-together different kind of reality, a reality that has many layers to take into consideration.
In cities, it is far easier for me to lose the significance of reality. You look at things everyday there that have been artificially constructed, and I can only wonder how so many people seem to believe that such places are real.
Yes, they do get a dot on a map, but the city reminds me of a motherboard in your computer with all its laser calibrated straight lines and perfect angles. I realize that the world runs thanks to those cities, but they never fail to make me feel like a lab rat in a maze with the promise of cheese at the end of the puzzle, but only if I can find a way to get to it. Everything is so grand and plain and filled with distractions. How anyone can think it to be more real than living in a rural community is beyond me. City people are so sheltered and ignorant about things that matter, that could save someone’s life, that could better their life inside of the closed off habitat that has its population brainwashed.
Everything in a city can be so easily warped by my brain, that even though I a photograph is a clearly accurate rendering of say, a cityscape, all I see is a nicely furbished cage that looks pretty from a distance.
© 2014 Morgan Krepky. All Rights Reserved.