The Nature of Reality

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In the previous lesson you saw that an ethics based on absolute truth  — absolute right and wrong — is difficult to sustain, particularly so outside the context of religion.  Each situation that we respond to arises within the context of particular circumstances. When we respond to a situation, we are responding to what we perceive the reality to be.

We tend to think of "reality" as a fixed truth. Recall a situation in which you and someone else "saw" the same situation differently — that is, you saw two different "realities."

When we consider reality itself we quickly become aware of its infinite complexity, and we realize that our habitual perception of it is often inadequate. If this were not so, the concept of deception would be meaningless. If things and events always unfolded as we expected, we would have no notion of illusion or of misconception or disagreement.

In this lesson we explore how things and events come to be. By understanding the nature of reality we are less likely to be deceived by the disparity between how things seem and how they really are. One needs to appreciate the fact that appearances are not always the truth. It becomes critical to recognize the various levels of existing truth.

The purpose is to seek a deeper understanding of reality, for if we do not understand the phenomena we react to, we are more likely to do harm to others and ourselves.