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One of my favorite topics ever! I discovered in my class that most people believe that “reality” must be experienced through the 5 senses and must be shared between at least 2 people. That’s the only way an experience can actually be “real.” I wonder what they think of shared dreams…

Reality can be understood in many ways.  The Oxford Dictionary defines it as “the state or quality of having existence or substance.”  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary says it is “something that is neither derivative nor dependent but exists necessarily.” In short, reality is the simple state of existence – if it exists, it is real.

This brings up the question of what it really means to exist. Existence can only be measured by someone or something who/that has the ability to measure and by that I of course mean a human being. In my opinion, anything that we are aware of exists and therefore is real. This includes material things, thoughts, ideas, dreams, wishes, illusions, hallucinations, etc. Everything that anyone has ever thought of is in some sense real.  Creation, even if it is nonphysical, still brings something into existence and so brings it into reality. Reality is present in the past, present, and future so to correct my previous statement: everything that anyone has ever thought of, is thinking of, and will think of is real. Creation breeds existence and existence creates reality.

To us, reality has a sort of subjective feature. The human view of reality is in some ways limited compared to the reality that beings who are greater than us see and understand. There is a true, ultimate reality that we, as human beings, can never know or grasp. This reality is objective and cannot be viewed from any perspective: it cannot be explained. So that leaves us to ponder our reality which is still vast as it includes all physical and non-physical things, material and non material. These distinctions create different levels of reality. Each one has a different value to human kind as a whole as well as to every individual consciousness. When I say that anything and everything is real I am maintaining that existence is pure Being; it simply IS. A dream IS as real as the bed that we have it in.

Physical reality is probably the easiest type of reality to explain. Through science, we know that we see and perceive things because of neurological relationships within our physical brain. We can see, feel, smell, and taste physical objects that are around us. We can even hear music, which lets us believe that music is in fact something that is real. The laws of nature create our outer world. Everything outside of our physical bodies has a state – things move, make noise, ARE. Chairs, tables, apples, dogs, trees, and other people: these are all physical things that make up our physical reality.

Yet we can also see dreams and visions. In them, we still feel emotions and the touch of other objects or people. We still hear conversations and other sounds. Sometimes if the dream is really vivid, we can smell the scent of flowers or other aromas. When we wake up though we know that we dreamed all those things and they are not physically part of our outside world.

This level of reality is the non material one. It influences us in ways just like physical experiences do. It has self impact on the inside and also impacts the outside world we live in to some extent.  Just last night I had a dream that I got into a fight with my boyfriend’s ex. Jolted awake at 3AM I was bitter, pissed off, and annoyed. While I’ve never met the girl in person, I saw her vividly as though I have actually seen her before. It was a construct of her image from pictures of her face, descriptions of her body type, and stories of her usual behavior. The fight was real on the level of the dream plane: it happened to me as a consciousness living in this lifetime. My nonphysical experience still influenced my existence. I might have worked out anger on insecurities that I had on the subconscious level, or it might have been a stress reliever in some sense since in the physical reality, I am not a violent person. Either way, I have learned something and grown as a person from this type of reality.

Another degree of reality is fantasy. Over time people have created many thought forms that have become universal. Unicorns, vampires, werewolves, fairies and leprechauns are universally accepted through common description. Everyone knows what a unicorn is and how it looks even though we don’t see them grazing in the fields of rural farmland in Alabama. Stories of vampires have been passed down through generations and though the idea of how it all started is unknown (maybe people over time combined real physical diseases like aversion to sunlight and a body’s need for more iron,) we can all agree that these imaginings are real on the fantastical level. We relate to these objects. When they are personified in novels and movies, we accept them, understand them, and even have feelings towards them as the pre-teen girls around the world have proved through their undying love for vampire Edward from the Twilight Sega. There have also been many sightings of ghosts reported throughout history and while some people say they are “real” others think they are “delusions” or “fantasies.” Ghosts have substance and exist necessarily even if it is just in the minds of humans which in my opinion makes them a reality.

One of the most interesting forms of reality is the one people experience through astral projection. Astral projection is when our consciousness (some say soul, some think perception) separates from the physical body by using an astral, non material, maybe even energetic vehicle to travel around a reality that is quite different from the one we experience physically. Robert Monroe has an amazing account of his own out-of-body experiences in his books Journeys Out of the Body and Far Journeys. Some people may question how real these experiences are, but they happened to him whether we believe it or not. This is why reality can be so subjective at times. Monroe’s perception of the nonphysical experiences he goes through outside of his body creates a different reality than the one he experiences when within the physical world. There are many other accounts that relate to this phenomenon, namely the near-death experience that prompted Monroe’s research. There are accounts of people dying, as measured by medical instruments, and then coming back to life and describing meetings with a white light, a spiritual being, or loved ones who have already passed away. It opens up the question of how far reality reaches. Some people may believe that once we die that is the ultimate end – the physical is the only reality there is. Yet these accounts prompt us to think that beyond our brain shutting down and our heart no longer moving and pumping blood there is a certain other reality that is still just as real as physical life, but very different in its properties.


A 5th Dimension Cube

This is a model of what a Cube would look like in the 5th dimension… As in Flatland it is possible, even probable, that another universe exists. Is it not real because we don’t live in it?


Finally, since space and time are eternal in the sense that everything has existed, exists, and will exist in some way or another (or maybe even both or neither,) reality does not just include the things that we know and understand in the “now.” It encompasses everything at once, in the same place and at the same time – there is no true distinction between space and time. In a sort of other dimension or even in multiple universes actions that propel Being either forward or backwards are “reality.” Anything that is any form of change – from nothing to something – is real.


So what do you guys think? Is reality really limited to our physical senses and shared experiences, or are the endless possibilities we can choose create alternate realities through space and time that are just as real as our own here on Earth in 2010?


Identity is a specific, unique, fundamental essence of an existing consciousness or thing. It is important to note that the ‘identity’ of a living organism, whether in the physical plane or other, is a lot more complex than the ‘identity’ of an inanimate object. Objects and things have identities that are quite similar to each other: the distinction between an eraser, this eraser, or that eraser is subtle and is limited to characteristics such as shape, size, color, etc., as well as the things it has erased over the period of its existence. Each eraser’s identity is still the fact that it erases things. We can say that its purpose is nearly the same as its identity. Each eraser is unique yet still plainly identified.

Identity of objects also relies heavily on human perception of those objects. We perceive and eraser to look like an eraser just as we perceive a bicycle to look like a bicycle, to act and perform like a bicycle, and to essentially be a bicycle as we have created it to be. Without us, would a bicycle exist and if it existed, would its identity be the same as it is now?

To figure out the identity of living beings, in particular humans, we have to go more in-depth. We can start by stating that an identity of a human being (or human-realm entities such as ghosts, angles, and fantastical creatures) is the absolute essence of that being. It is the whole “I am” of a specific person. “I am” encompasses every natural and basic extract of a consciousness which means it extends beyond just one lifetime, one soul journey, one time and space constraint, etc. The theory of reincarnation suggests that each lifetime is only part of who we truly are. It implies that each of our lifetimes is a journey on which we learn lessons that, after physical death we absorb into our true spiritual form. This means that our identity is “assigned” to us even before we are born and is an innate part of our pure and true self. While we may forget the details of past lives, knowledge of where we come from, and experiences we already learned from, we still keep that initial core somewhere within ourselves – perhaps in our subconscious. This identity is what makes us the unique people that we are, because each identity is only identical to itself and can always only be itself.

The fundamental values and morals that we carry throughout our life, the basic “nature” that affects our decisions and leads us along our individual paths is our identity. Over our lifetime, we are exposed to experiences that may or may not be new to our individual identities. The characteristics that we pick up on the way, such as extreme friendliness, strong discipline, wittiness, or great sense of humor are all part of our personality. Some people are driven by emotions such as love, greed, guilt, anger, or desire to give back. Some are driven by past experiences such as childhood abuse or a lifetime of financial security, which are closely tied to emotions and personality traits. These are all part of our personhood, because these qualities are always changing. Our beliefs also change throughout our lifetimes and people who were raised atheist may come to find God while those raised through religion may come to denounce Him. When I refer to ‘values’ and ‘morals’ as our fundamental identity, I don’t mean the everyday choices we make between good and bad. Those concepts change with time and experiences just as our material likes and dislikes do. What I’m talking about is a more elemental principle of our pure selves: the central, pre-programmed thread that is the essential “I.” Aristotle makes this distinction through “accidental” and “essential” changes. The way I perceive it is those personality traits that we pick up in this lifetime (and possibly others) are precisely the “accidental” changes that he was talking about, while identity is the “essential” part we were first created with, or ‘became’.

We only glimpse our absolute, real identity (not a reflection) when our full being, our consciousness and soul, come together to make serious, sometimes life-altering decisions. When faced with challenging situations our identity springs to the surface to deal with the problems. Often people call this a test of your true character. We don’t know how we will react in some situations until we are faced with them, like having to choose between our life and the life of someone we love, or making a decision that may hurt a stranger over sacrificing something we want. Our core is the rudimentary drive that guides us through our lessons even when we are not fully aware of it.

Across the infinite number of multi-verses and infinite possibilities of identities each person has his/her own unique self, made possible by the free will we posses from Source (Creator, God). The characteristics that we pick up during our lifetime are only the human qualities that are subject to change with each new lifetime or even just new experience or situation. We can choose what traits to pick up in order to experience physical life to the fullest, but our innate self remains the same through all of space and time.

This past term I took a Metaphysics 101 class. Best decision I have made in my college career! The thing is, because I have basically 2 majors and a minor I technically don’t have any free electives left, but the opportunity was just too good to pass up. I had two hours to spare in between classes every Tuesday and Thursday and this class was just perfect to fill that time. Anyway, our teacher wanted us to write a 2-3 page essay on different metaphysics topics. What is reality? What is time? What is God? Etc. We had to do 5, but I’m thinking I might actually expand on all the other ones as well. Either way, I’d like to start this little collection and see where it leads.

Here is my first one: What is Freedom?

“Freedom” is a word that is acknowledged as some idealistic free-for-all where people can do anything they want despite morals, societal laws, or physics. They believe that to be “free,” we essentially should not have any restrictions – to never be told “NO.” With this definition freedom is not something that exists in our world.

Our physical body is the main limitation that cuts off our freedom to do certain things. Out in the spirit world this limitation does not exist. People who have had out-of-body experiences and even just lucid dreams can see how strong the limitations of having to eat to stay alive, be subject to the power of gravity, and communication through language are. Yet we are constricted to walking on land, loosing otherwise productive hours to sleep, limiting our experiences to the geographical areas of the world that we have the opportunity to visit.

We are also limited by our society. People, no matter how sinister their desires or how honorable their intentions, can’t act impulsively and commit whatever action they think off without facing the consequences. Governments set laws, rules, and regulations that we must follow or risk losing our basic freedoms like having a home, a job, going to school, being able to go outside in general  – the things we couldn’t do in jail. This “freedom” that many of us have is a privilege in our society since it can be taken away even if we are innocent which means it’s not actually freedom at all. It’s a choice is limited by the justice system that we, as human beings, have boxed ourselves in. Sometimes governments use their laws and regulations to keep the masses from raising their standards of living or evolving spiritually like in totalitarian regimes, or by banning media and the freedom of speech or religion. Most of this system comes from the fact that human nature tends to come with “baggage” which sets greed, power, and corruption as the top priorities for some humans. To counter these things, we must set laws for ourselves so that our human rights aren’t violated and so we do not live in fear of being murdered or have our hard earned possessions stolen from us. It is the main reason for the governments that we have created.

The idea of freedom is very broad and it stems from our insatiable desires. We always want more of everything and the biggest problem is that sometimes our desires overlap. Two people may want the same thing and the progress we have made through industry allows us to produce things so that everyone can have one. But no matter how hard you try two people can’t have the same person, or the same house, or the same job. And therefore complete freedom is unattainable because many of us believe that if we have the ability to get everything we want and do everything we want then we are truly free.

Humans do have a certain special kind of freedom – we have free will. Whether you believe it comes from God or is an inherent part of our nature, we have the freedom to choose. It might not be the freedom to choose to fly or breathe under water because those are limited by physical constraints, but we have the freedom to choose to want to do those things. It would be difficult to imagine not knowing that those options existed or that they existed, but we had no ability to think about them or argue over them or desire to somehow accomplish them despite the physical limitations. We have opportunities to choose where to go to school, or which country to live in. Even if we are from a low-income nation where the opportunities are scarce, we still have the option to choose one thing over another and hopefully what we choose will make us better off than before.

Free will ties closely to our only uninhibited freedom – thinking. Our free will is when we act on which choice with think is better, but of course those choices are limited by the outer world. Thoughts, ideas, wishes, and opinions are entirely our own, as individuals. We have no limit to what we can create within our own minds. The power of imagination and creativity is limitless and therefore completely free. It is something that cannot be taken away by anyone, even after death. It is what makes us such unique creatures in our own world (I can’t speak for the whole universe.)

Compared to us for example, animals are limited in what they can think. As far as we know, wolves do not invent new technologies or paint fantastical landscapes. Chimps do not write books about wizards and goblins. From their perspective though, their own thoughts might present limitless possibilities, but that is mainly because when you do not know what you’re missing you can’t actually miss it. For humans, the world within our minds is limitless. We have the ability to learn new things and remember them. To imagine beautiful places that may not actually exist on our planet. We even have the ability to control our moods if we train our mind enough. And the most important thing is that we can sit and ponder about the world, the universe, God, or other philosophies without having to pick up a single book. Yes, learning a language is necessary to communicate with others and we often think through language in our own heads. Yet I believe that even if we are not taught those things we can still use our mind in other ways because we were created with the capacity to use it to its full potential. And since its full potential is limitless and we can always learn more, create more, think more, it is truly free. Even people with mental disorders still think and to them their world is limitless even if to the healthy people it seems to lack something.

Just like all the other topics in philosophy, freedom is a subjective ideal. Some people may think that freedom means financial stability and a limitless supply of material objects. Yet for some people, freedom is the hope to finally be released from prison whether they got there by committing a crime or are victims of wars and oppression. And yet others believe that freedom lies beyond society, in remote jungles and mountains where they can live peacefully off the land. The truth is that all of these are degrees of freedom, but not true freedom at all. That lies beyond this life, beyond the physical and societal limits that we cannot escape.

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Hi, I’m Anastasiya


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March 2011
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