Change Your Mind, Change Reality

Change minds, change reality. That’s what people are saying, right? Human minds create the reality they live in, and a little faith is the most powerful thing in the universe….

It sounds beautiful and hopeful, doesn’t it? We experience the whole of reality — or rather the tiny slice of that whole that we can actually perceive — through our brains’ interpretations of our senses. Doesn’t it make sense that if we change how our minds work, it changes our experience of the world, which is effectively changing the world, at least for us personally, and for anyone else we can convince?

Sure. And cranking up the brightness on our televisions makes the world a brighter place.

Let me give you two scenarios. Two people, who are nearly identical, who have the same dream. They both decided at a young age that they really love dragons and they want them to be real.

Please note: for the duration of this exercise I am leaving out the question of the wisdom of pursuing this dream.

In the first scenario, our dreamer concentrates on the imagery of dragons: what they look like, what various landscapes would look like with dragons included, either flying in the sky or perched on the tops of sturdy buildings or distant mountain peaks. Eventually he learns to see them anywhere and everywhere. Nearby hawks in the sky, patrolling for squirrels and loose house-pets, look like stratospheric dragons. Certain peaks look like perched dragons. Or maybe that entire mountain range is a huge one in repose. Many clouds are also dragons, bringing beauty or fury at whim.

After many years of looking, he discovers he has been surrounded by dragons all along, and now he is happy.

In our second scenario, our dreamer focuses on old stories and legends, descriptions, and tales of their fantastical exploits. A lot of old fables have roots in actuality, even if weak, distant, and thready. She also explores the wealth of data on dinosaurs and the birds that have descended from them evolutionarily. She goes to college and gets degrees in genetics and evolutionary biology, and gets funding to replicate the experiments to reactivate genes on chickens to get them to express teeth and tails. Fifteen years into her plan, she sits stymied, waiting for funding and ethical approval to explore further and research how to create organisms to order, either for commercial purposes or to fill niches in endangered ecosystems where extinctions have left things unbalanced and threaten diversity — for which a dragon, possible within five more years of research and experimentation, might be the perfect answer.

She’s not happy at the moment, and she might never be, depending on funding and legislation, but she’s a lot closer to real dragons than our first dreamer, who has made himself happy by torquing his mind with a near-delusion.

Does it sound like I’m judging? Maybe I’m judging.

It’s easier to make yourself happy by disconnecting from reality and indulging in a little self-delusion, but in my view that’s a little selfish. For instance, maybe other people want dragons to exist too but lack the imagination to be satisfied by insubstantial metaphors. Maybe other people are fairly desperate for dragons to not exist — but will still be impressed and inspired by your success if you pull it off.

Wishcraft, prayer, positive thinking — that’s all just cranking the knobs on the television. And it’s all a little necessary, because 1) it’s good to have your own hand on your knobs, so to speak, and 2) sometimes the setting you thought was normal is just too dark, and 3) why the hell shouldn’t you make yourself happy now and then as long as you have the option?

But seriously, it’s revving the engine while you have the clutch down. You don’t go anywhere no matter how powerful the engine sounds. If you want to move — really move — you have to have your gears engaged with reality. You have to wave the mists and fogs of faith and hope away and see what’s really there, and then you have to do all the tedious work that takes you from where you are — once you can see where you really are — to where you want to go. And being work, you don’t get to be happy until it’s over — which is why it’s awesome to set a lot of little goals and take a lot of breaks so you don’t get tired and succumb to despair.

The universe is huge and functionally infinite in terms of potential and possibility. There isn’t much of a limit to the things that we can make with the components at hand, even if we start out in the direction of what we were firmly convinced was impossible at the outset. But we won’t ever bring our dreams to fruition if we waste all of our energy wishing really hard and begging for our desires to fall into our laps like a dog under God’s dinner table. All we can do that way is make ourselves happy with the idea of crumbs. We short-circuit actual success by finding a way to pretend we already have it.

Engagement of the gears with reality means preparing to be unhappy, preparing to sweat, to get dirty, to earn a few smashed fingers and blisters, and preparing for opposition from people who think your goals are stupid. If you don’t feel that load on the system, then you’re spinning your wheels and playing with the fairies in your head.

Nothing says you won’t get help from surprising directions, but don’t count on it.


April 27, 2012 · by xalieri · Posted in Everything Else  


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