If there is an underlying reality, we don’t know what it is. There are only individual realities. Individual realities are forced to co-exist, since we are in the same space, seeing and experiencing the same things differently, each in our own way, at the same time.
There is no “normal” because no one can describe what “normal” is. The person writing the definition would be writing if from her/his own perspective/world view. That goes for everything. All psychology, philosophy, all definitions are from the perspective of the author, the teachers, and what you yourself take away from the writing or the lectures because you hear and read through your own point of view.
We can never escape our own individual reality. It’s impossible, because it’s who and what we are. We learn and change, according to who we are. That’s the whole point. Whatever we do, we do it from our own perspective/reality. It can’t BE any other way. We can never not be who we are. The fact that we don’t know who we are, not really, has nothing to do with it. We react, hear, see, feel and experience the world from that personal one-of-a-kind place.
When people read the something, and tell you what it says, they are telling you what it means to them, or what they learned from someone else. No one really knows what an author meant when she wrote something unless she tells you herself. Even then, people will disagree with her. I’ve seen that happen. The song, by Peter, Paul and Mary, Puff the Magic Dragon is not about drugs. They said that over and over again. They wrote it. They sang it. But a lot of people don’t believe them.
The bottom line is that everything is in play. Free floating, the meaning open to interpretation by anyone and everyone, according to each person’s reality, which is always and forever, one-of-a-kind.
Often times, when we agree with someone, we are agreeing to different things but we just don’t realize it.
That’s why witnesses all see something different. We all read a different book, even though it’s the same book. We go through life on assumptions. We assume we are talking about the same things, when we are not. We assume we understand each other, but we do not.
Reality is an interesting concept. Joint reality is simply made up of all of our individual realities. Realities are an individual concept that we agree to see as some kind of whole. It’s like a huge joint dream or hallucination. It’s a way to try and survive together, but it’s not real.
When our realities are too far apart, we kill each other, or hate each other, or elect an idiot. Realities do clash and people are sometimes surprised, never realizing that we are all living in different worlds, that just happen to be in the same place.
We are all conditioned and brainwashed to believe certain things. We can over come that, but our core is something we’re born with. There’s no overcoming that part of ourselves. There’s no overcoming ourselves and what we think the world is. People can lie to themselves and to each other, but we are who we are and what we see is the only thing that’s real to each of us. We can never walk in anyone else’s shoes. We can be in the same situations, but we won’t experience things in the same way. We can only experience things in our own way, anything else is impossible.
Empathy just means that we recognize that someone is going through something and we will support them while they are in that place. If you think that you understand what the person is going through, you’re understanding it in your own individual way, which may have nothing to do with what the person experiencing her/himself.