Monday, February 21, 2011

Reality

Reality. This is a question that plagues me so often.

By reality, I’m referring to what is physical, what is real, what is measurable. Yet “reality” to me often feels so flimsy. Sometimes I think if I just close my eyes at just the right moment, then when I open them I’ll find that everything around me has changed.

Of course, I know this isn’t the case. As kids we learn things like “object permanence”, simply that an object doesn’t cease existing once we no longer see it. I know that. I know that I can’t just ignore reality—pretty soon my body will start telling me I’m hungry, or someone will walk through the door and demand my attention. I can zone out pretty well when I want to, but not that well.

I guess that’s not exactly what I’m talking about. I’m more talking about the nagging feeling that what I see isn’t really as solid as I think it is. The feeling that maybe this time when I jump, the ground won’t be there when I come back down. The feeling that everything “real” is just a superficial surface to something much more real.

Distance feels like it shouldn't exist. “You mean I have to walk for five minutes before I get to that building I see over there?” No, I’m not really lazy, but sometimes I look and wonder why there is such a thing as distance.

Time, what is that anyway? Moments pass me by, and I can’t ever fully make out their shape. Sure, time exists. But I haven’t found any good definition for it. We all learn what time is, but who’s to say it may not pause as a thousand thoughts run through my head?

Basically, everything that science measures (and I loved physics, and am loving Biology, btw, so it’s not like I’m just a mystical, science-hater person. Whatever that is.) feels unreal to me. I feel like that’s a bit convoluted. Science determines reality, right? You prove it with science, and then you can believe it. But I can never shake the feeling that everything visible is somehow fake.

Then I came across this verse in Hebrews. “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” (Hebrews 11:3, ESV)

So hang on a second, what I see was made by what I can’t see? You mean everything visible, is much less real that the invisible? What is solid is not what I can measure, but what I can’t measure?

This is amazing to me. Even though I’ve thought and known all of this for a year or so, including that verse, I am still just in a slight stunned state every time I think about it. I love that God’s word is the foundation to everything I see. I love that what we think is “solid” is just the decorations on the building, not what’s really there.

Like usual, I have no clue if this made much sense to anyone but me, but I’ve been meaning to share this for a long time. Just never sat down and wrote it out.