The paradox of reality is that if you think it is absolute you are compelled to expect others to share it which of course they may not but if you accept it as transient and subjective you have nothing to ground your experience of the world in. So what reality are we supposed to believe?
The ascent of Donald Trump to republican nominee for the presidency of the United States has been marked by a series of ever increasingly controversial, offensive and outright incorrect claims and accusations.
From walls on the Mexican border to claiming that if he loses – the election will have been rigged, Trumps claims are lapped up unquestioned by his millions of supporters whilst the democrats and left wing media scrambles to challenge his claims and oppose his rhetoric. The problem is they just can’t keep up and once something exists, especially in the social media, rolling news age, it’s almost impossible to destroy. Now he has claimed the election rigged if he loses, the possibility exists. It’s out there. It is a new reality that didn’t exist before he mentioned it. This is what trump does. He is a manufacture of realities. Realities vomited into existence that only need to live long enough to get him to the next one and keep him in the headlines.
The danger we are missing is the damage he is doing to reality itself. With the power and influence he has amassed the realities he invents are powerful weapons of bigotry and hate that divide as well as confuse. He creates truths devoid of fact and his supporters lap it up, interpreting the reality they are being fed as an act of rebellion because he has manufactured a reality where he is the voice of the disenfranchised white folk. If the America that doesn’t like the realities he forge don’t fight for an alternative reality the danger is that his realities will prevail and who knows where that will end and what will be left of any sense of reality in his wake.
Perhaps we need to think of reality more like a precious metal or a fragile ecosystem. Once gone, once exploited and destroyed, there may be no way to restore it. The forces and people that act to define our reality have more power over us than we know and we need to be highly sceptical of any attempt to shape what we perceive whilst at the same time retaining a sense of reality that we can cling onto long enough to be meaningful. Like democracy – if we want to have a say in our reality we need to be active participants in it and not just passive consumers.