I believe in inspired reality. From the second we are born until the moment we die, as individuals, we are influenced by our senses and our surroundings, as we perceive them in relation to our bodies and our personalities. As human beings, we are influenced every moment of our lives by forces of nature and humankind. The fact that we are human to begin with affects our reality, causing us to perceive the world as a human would. Several examples of this lie in our tendency to develop systems of belief.
Followers of Hinduism maintain the belief that all mammals should be regarded as sacred. In accordance with this belief, the cow is often regarded as a symbol of complete ecology, selflessly providing humans with offerings of milk, cream, and butter. In this sense, the cow is often regarded as the ‘most giving’ mammal in existence as it selflessly provides us with dairy while expecting nothing in return. Throughout India, cows are worshipped and are left to roam the country unharmed. Although India is plagued with poverty and hunger, and said to contain 30% of the world’s cow population, many followers of Hinduism pursue their beliefs with such vigor, that they will refuse to acknowledge cows as a possible source of food.
On the other side of the globe, The United States Department of Agriculture reported in 2004 that the average American consumes about 66 pounds of beef every year, juxtaposed against the six pounds consumed by the average Indian. In America, we do not put as much of an emphasis on our appreciation for cattle, nor do we feel a religious or moral compulsion to do so.
We make our decisions and lead our lives based on our individual experiences and the manner in which we perceive these experiences through our personalities. Given this, where can the line be drawn between a reality that is “wrong” and a reality that is simply “different”? Are those of us who eat cattle wrong for doing so? Because someone demonstrates a different belief system than me, does that mean that he or she is in err?
Webster’s defines the act of being wrong as “an unjust act that is in violation of the right,” while the act of being right is defined as “being in accordance with what is just, good, or proper.” But how can someone label such terms? It is foolish to do so, as we rely merely on generalizations; we oversimplify the inspired reality of each individual in order to discuss the non-existent “reality of the masses”.
Our personalities and our experiences can be said to act as a filter to what composes our ultimate inspired reality. Through our experiences and our unique individual perceptions, aspects of life are poured. We all have different filters, and it is through these individual filters that we perceive our existence.
It is my firm belief that we all partake in inspired reality. Reality as a generalization should be taken like certain problems pertaining to the sciences: it is probable in theory and impossible in practice.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.