Thursday, August 25, 2011

RAW and the Uncertain Life (Pt 3)

Okay, I'm back in action. Sorta. Thanks for all the 'get well' wishes.

So-- Robert Anton Wilson (or Ol' Bob, as he is known to his fans) had some brilliant thoughts on reality, our perception thereof, and the ways in which we communicate about it. He also grabbed some ideas from various and sundry people, like Tim Leary and semanticist Alfred Korzybski, and ran in his own direction with those ideas. The ones that really speak to me are the interlocking ideas of  'reality tunnels' and 'maybe logic'.

The idea of a reality tunnel is basically that we all live in our own perceptual universes, separate from but (hopefully) somewhat related to each others' universe. Whether there is some definite, ultimate, objective, rock-solid Reality out there is really a moot point. We each perceive whatever there is through our own sets of filters. What our senses tell us about what's outside of us-- our computer screens, the chair you're sitting in, the weather, what have you -- is only one part of the collective filter. Our prejudices, the way we've been brought up, even very early childhood experiences, have all played a part in determining how our minds color the sensory input we receive.

So, following Ol' Bob's line of reasoning, it only makes sense that we should take everything with a grain of salt. Literally everything. Question each thing that you believe you 'know'. How do you 'know' this? What are the possible 'filters' determining how you perceive the information that causes you to 'know'? If you're so sure that what you know/believe/feel is RIGHT and TRUE, what about people who 'know' something different? Are they all deluded, or mad, or mistaken, or what?

Now, this is where the Maybe Logic comes in. And the whole idea of  the uncertain life.....


  1. i agree with this philosophy and i always try to question myself each time i hear a different opinion

  2. Every actions causes a reaction. To gain something, you must give up something of equal value. There are many concepts of charma or equivalent exchange. I am really a "fan" of these theories and glad to have found your article.
    Keep it up.

  3. Didn't this guy do a TedTalk once? Or am I confusing him with someone else?
    I recognize his theories...
    But yea, I agree the world we "know" is just based on the information we are able to get.

  4. Sounds basic. Don't believe stupid stuff. People have been doing it for years!

  5. This is an interesting idea. I've seen it argued that it's actually our act of perception that defines reality, so it'd be incoherent to refer to faulty reasoning.

    Nice blog btw. Following