Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Mind or Reality ~ Which Came First?

There have been various explorations on this blog about the writer’s mind and the reader’s mind. And, we’ve also explored various realities.

Try putting both words , “reality” and “mind” together, in the search box at the upper right, the one with the little magnifying glass, and you can see what we’ve already discussed.

Today, I want to broaden the discussion out to anyone’s mind and how it either creates reality or is created by reality.

I’m not going to state a definite opinion (though, you might infer it from the “voice” of this post).


A child is born with a mind. Does it have patterns already associated with it? Or, is it “blank”?

If it already has pre-existent patterns of operation, does that mean that it reaches out and molds whatever is outside the body into a “personal” reality?

If it’s blank, does it just accept whatever exists outside it as fact and build on that?

What about thoughts and feelings? Are they both part of the mind?

Why should it matter what we think or feel about the mind and reality?

If you could read and understand that last sentence you may have a clue about why it could matter

There are enough studies and articles about mind and reality to build a staircase to the Moon and there seems to be no strong consensus on which came first.

Oh! There’s also the debate about whether the brain and the mind are the same thing or if the mind somehow includes the brain but operates “above” it.

And, we probably shouldn’t ignore the various views on what the word “reality” actually means and the various “kinds” of realities people postulate: social reality, personal reality, physical reality, imaginary reality, consensus reality, etc.

My reality recently got a kick in its mental/emotional ass. My view of the world and the importance of various supposed priorities is evolving and mutating. I’ve always wondered about what’s real and how I could know it and the last week has taken my wonderment to a new playing field.

The Game continues but the Rules are changing

If enough of you comment on the questions of this post, I’ll weave a part two tomorrow. If the comments are sparse, I may weave tomorrow’s post out of thin air.
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
Follow the “co-author” of Notes from An Alien, Sena Quaren:
On Twitter
AND, Get A Free Copy of Our Book

15 responses to “Mind or Reality ~ Which Came First?

  1. Shalon April 6, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    My take on this, Alexander, is that we can’t know what’s real or what’s not real, and that the blind commitment to one form of reality is a type of zombie-hood that sucks your brain out of your mind and eats it. I think an openness to what reality is and a non-commital view is more difficult for our egos to handle/accept (those little buggers want most to commit and be without doubt), but more rewarding for ourselves and the people around us.

    I also feel that since reality is unknowable, the smartest thing to do is give it the benefit of the doubt. Instead of thinking about and giving energy to the nastiest things that could arise in our mind because of events that happen in our reality, why not give it the benefit of the doubt and pay equal attention to the most positive things that could be the cause of our reality. For example, a friend does not call or does not show up for a date. Instead of thinking about the nastiest reasons why that happened (“She doesn’t care, I’m no good.”) we can fantasize about positive things (“He has lots of amazing things going on in his life. He bumped into an old friend.”)

    I use this for my reasonings about an afterlife as well. What makes me feel happier and more fulfilled in my life? To believe in a G-O-D or an afterlife, or to think that I rot in my casket and that’s it–game over?

    I realize that my method has flaws, but it works for me.


    • Alexander M Zoltai April 6, 2011 at 4:42 pm

      Shalon, it’s interesting that you say, apparently with confidence, that reality is unknowable, and go on to postulate a mental-input toward reality that applies a positive spin on unknowables.

      While a completely Unknowable reality is rather chilling for me to contemplate, I appreciate your “benefit of the doubt” approach :-)


      • Shalon April 7, 2011 at 3:09 am

        Well, I didn’t mean to say this with confidence, because I really don’t know, but it appears to me that reality is unknowable because there are about 7 billion different versions of reality out there. Whose reality is the right one?

        I come from a Mormon family, and my uncle swears that Joseph is the prophet and God exists–anything else is blasphemy. My students, most of them Muslim, swear that Mohammed is the prophet and God exists–anything else is blasphemy. I myself am agnostic and I prefer to stay in that place of uncertainty. My good friend is atheist and swears that there is no god and to believe in one is to deny ‘reality’….

        So, I’m not saying that there isn’t a real ‘reality’ out there, but that despite the possibility of a ‘true’ and ‘real’ reality, there still exists a choice. I believe that this requirement to choose one reality over another means, to me, that reality is unknowable.


  2. Karla Telega April 6, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Babies are born with reflexes, dictated by the brain. They are the most rudimentary survival instincts. The brain is an elegant and amazing organ, constantly gathering input from our environment and processing it according to ever evolving life lessons. I don’t see why we feel the need to attribute reality to anything more than that.


  3. Simone Benedict April 6, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Hmmm. Well, a couple of children’s stories come to mind. One is The Emperor’s New Clothes. The other is about the blind men and the elephant.


  4. Once April 6, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    The questions on the floor, of course, are so elephantine (speaking of “the blind men and the elephant”) that I doubt I could make much more than a stab in the direction of actually unraveling the questions of “mind” and “reality” enough to even approach an answer or two concerning either. However, recently, an observation of mine about some mishaps of in the last few weeks and months has presented a hitherto unfathomable experience as food for thought at the banquets of my mind, really.

    About a year ago, I suddenly lost most of the sight in one eye due to a stroke that affected the retina; recently, about two or three weeks ago, after returning from Florida, for mysterious reasons, I temporarily lost most of my hearing in both ears. Before either of these, I had many teeth extracted which made speaking somewhat strained to avoid sounding like Porky Pig. Now, without going into detail on all three mishaps, I can tell you that when it comes to “reality,” and what seems to be “real” especially as this relates to interactions with other souls, much depends upon the basic equipment of any human being. If I take my teeth out, accept the loss of sight which makes negotiating stairs a serious business or accepting change at a cash register, and, added to these, a sudden loss of hearing which made conversation almost impossible, one can just imagine how different “reality” may have seemed to me in the past few weeks and months.

    Now that I have a wonderful plate of teeth (at a cost of thousands!); now that my hearing is in fact returning, now that I have adjusted to the 2D format of seeing sufficiently, I am beginning to feel like my old self again, in spite of the fact that the last time I was in the hospital, I discovered that I am now two and a half inches shorter than I was only ten years ago! I suspect one’s physical attributes, qualities, and circumstances, and, conversely, a lacking in any one or all three of these in comparison to others in the cast, provides a kind of warning shot over the bow of anyone’s sense of what reality is and how to address it.

    Personally, reality appears to be what it is to me; the minute I must related this reality to someone else, voilà! There are difficulties which simply do not exist in the singular; when it comes to the plural of humanity, then, of course, we run into a problem of justice and equity, which is an entirely different kettle of fish, and whole new elephant to examine.


    • Alexander M Zoltai April 6, 2011 at 11:11 pm

      Yes, John, changes in our physical apparatus can change our perception of our physical reality.

      Your statement about relating your reality to others seems to me to bring up a particular aspect of that reality: personal perception.

      Even though we seem, as humans, to have one common reality, it appears that the physical part of that reality has the most pronounced ability to multiply itself


  5. Cassy Lark April 7, 2011 at 11:52 am

    I think that reality is very personal and is created by anything and everything that causes, in us, some sort of sensual awareness. There is an inseparable symbiotic relationship between our senses and the reality that is created within our mind. We are born sensual beings – so from our first breath, our realities are shaped by our senses and the responses to them. A baby has the sensation of hunger and its reflex is to cry – this reflex, eventually, becomes habitual as the baby learns that attention is the response to the cry.

    Metacognition helps us to evaluate our minds reality as shaped by our sensual experiences. At times, we are faced with extreme situations that, if we let them, can alter our ability to evaluate what is consistently real. This happens, often, with abuse victims who can come to believe that because they were hurt by one person, they are threatened by all people.

    So, in short, I would say that the weave of reality and mind is so tight, it would be difficult to identify which is the chicken and which is the egg (though I am writing this before 8am and have only had one cup of coffee – no telling what my reality will be an hour from now :)


  6. Pingback: The Red Pill Guide to the Top 20 Secrets of Our Time

What Are *Your* Thoughts or Feelings?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: