Reality

I'm an Objectivist. What does that mean?

It means that my fundamental belief is in reality.

It also means a lot of other things, but that's the main thing.

It also means that most people on Earth disagree with me.

Some people believe in reality but attempt to explain it by claiming an unseen supreme being created it. That means the supreme being is fundamental, not reality.

Others claim it's na├»ve or dangerous to attempt to say anything about "a reality" we all share, especially that we all share it. With these people, whenever you say "reality" they feel the need to ask "Whose reality?" as if there can be no reality that is not a personal attribute. They take comfort in believing that their reality is not mine.

People who disagree with me think that "reality" belongs to someone.

They think that reality, as such, is created by someone.

That's the idea I firmly reject.

Instead, I hold that reality, as such, was never created and cannot ever be destroyed and is what we all live in and learn about. It's what we all can see when we open our eyes. It's what our senses make us aware of. 

Another term for reality is the universe.

"Uni" means "one". If you think there are multiple universes, I say the universe combines all your "universes". If you claim that anything existed before the universe (like a god), I say that your god, if he existed, was in the universe. If you claim a "big bang" created the universe, I say that if it happened, the universe was around before it.

That's how hard I believe in the universe.

I know that people disagree with me on this. They may ask "How do you know the universe has always been here? That information has been lost to history! You can't provide evidence for that!"

That the universe has always existed isn't something for which evidence is required, because of the meaning of "universe". "Universe" means "everything combined, taken as a whole". That means everything throughout all time and space. That means, by definition, that there was and is and will be nothing before, after, or outside the universe.

Nobody created the universe. Nobody controls it. Nobody owns it. It just exists.

But we live in it, and so we must learn about it. Life requires learning about reality, and not pretending we don't have to.

We should not attempt a shortcut and say "God created the universe. He knows about it, and I know God. That gives me a handle on things."

And neither should we try to retreat into our own universe to fend off disagreements with cop-outs like "That's true for you, but not for me."

We also should not retreat into a large crowd and say "Let's vote on what's true. Reality is a matter of consensus. There's no other way to know it."

When confronted with ideas we don't like, the above solutions are the equivalent of closing our eyes, covering our ears, and shouting "La, la, la!".

Disagreement with other people is an unavoidable aspect of human life. It's messy and can be scary and frustrating. But it won't go away by pretending that anyone owns the universe, or can create one.

Like it or not, we all live in the same—the only—universe.

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