“Every kind of ignorance in the world all results from not realizing that our perceptions are gambles. We believe what we see and then we believe our interpretation of it, we don’t even know we are making an interpretation most of the time. We think this is reality.”
~ Robert Anton Wilson
“We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.”
~ Anaïs Nin
Timothy Leary coined the term “Reality Tunnel,” which Wilson helped popularize. The basic concept is that truth is in the eye of the beholder. It’s not to presume that there is no objective reality, but that all reality is being reinterpreted through things like our senses, conditioning, belief systems and I would add, personality types.
Later, Bub Tribble coined the phrase “Reality Distortion Field” to describe Steve Jobs’s charisma and its effect on the people who worked for him on his projects. He pulled it from a Star Trek episode that described how a certain alien species created their own new world through mental force.
I’ve been asking lately: How often is our personal reality tunnel – the belief structures and conditioning that form our experience of reality – the product of other people’s reality distortion fields? How many belief systems are a cult of personality, and are we essentially assigning these people god status by accepting their reality tunnels as our own? If “history is written by the victors,” how much are our minds’ programming essentially products of past victors, people of which we may not even know the names? (If this were a Wilson book he would make an asterisk with a footnote that would say, “Dear Reader: I’m referring to everyone but you, of course.”)
Ultimately, those are rhetorical. My favorite questions don’t have answers, but still manage to shake something loose inside of me.
To reevaluate your reality tunnel, Wilson recommends taking a step back and using Alfred Korzybski’s exercise of General Semantics. If you can get past the older videography and music, I recommend watching this compilation of Wilson’s (in which he calls both himself and others “cosmic schmucks.”)