Is Reality Real, Not Real, or Beyond Real?

by Alan Caviness

Everything a human being sees, hears, touches, tastes or smells is a mental experience. Information from these various sensory inputs is processed and registered inside the brain. But, conscious interpretations of this information are decided inside the human mind; and, that determines what we human beings call “reality”. But, reality may not always be real. It is merely our individual interpretation of what our brains process and what our minds decide-and might not always correlate to real events.

Unfortunately, the human mind’s ability to determine reality can be influenced-even tampered with-by the introduction of certain types of chemicals (such as certain drugs) or electromagnetic radiation (such as microwaves). Sometimes, physical defects or injuries, or even naturally occurring chemical imbalances in the brain can alter the human perception of reality. Psychological trauma in the mind can, likewise, produce the same types of effects. This is why some people with mental disorders tend to live their lives a bit outside accepted reality and why others without any apparent mental disorders can have, on occasion, what we call hallucinations. And, for all we know, it is even possible that additional unknown, mind-altering influences can exist (natural or artificial) of which the human race is not at all aware.

Fortunately, most healthy human beings on earth share individual perceptions that are similar enough to collectively create a general idea of “true reality” on which most of the human race can agree. No one can actually prove that human reality is really true reality, but we like to think it is. It helps keep the human race on a steady course, regardless. In other words, it seems to work for almost all practical purposes in our daily lives here on Earth.

Some mental experiences affected by these reality-altering mental influences can manifest as incoherent or scattered thoughts. However, some of these mental experiences can process as coherent, perfectly realistic mental experiences-leaving the human mind to become absolutely convinced of an event that really has no home in actual reality-for example, commands given under hypnosis. Because of this human frailty, no one can be absolutely certain whether any human mental experience is real or artificial.

From time to time, some human beings have mental experiences that appear to come from beyond the generally accepted human perception of reality-such as from sightings of UFOs or ghosts. Some of these experiences can be successfully explained away, but some cannot. And, in some cases, evidence from the event is left behind-suggesting the experience to be real, after all. When this happens, human beings have to accept the experience as being real-or, expect to forever feel confounded.

I have personally had experiences that seemed to be too real to be illusion-involving events that fall outside our generally accepted perception of true reality. This forced me to conclude that there was either something wrong with my perception of reality…or, the human race’s overall perception of reality is limited to some degree. We human beings see through only five senses. It seems to me that there should exist a large domain to explore beyond the human five senses. After all, why not? What if human beings could be born with ten senses, instead? What would they be? It would be hard for me to believe that there would be nothing additional in our world to detect if we had ten senses.

So, what do we really know about our world? And, perhaps more importantly, what do we currently not know about our world? Can our individual perceptions ever be taken beyond the normal human perception?

I think some of the answers might lie in the “beyond normal” events that are sometimes reported by ordinary, mentally healthy people. Beyond normal-or, better put, paranormal.