Ming the Mechanic:
Manufacturing Reality

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Manufacturing Reality2003-10-22 05:15
8 comments
by Flemming Funch

We seem to form our picture of reality based on a pattern matching algorithm. It doesn't really matter if you consider that a function of neurology or as a deeper metaphysical principle, the result it about the same.

If "enough" pieces of a reality are assembled and they are recognizable and familiar to us, we assume that the remaining details are probably also in place and that we're dealing with a "real" reality.

It is perfectly possible to fool people into accepting a scenario as reality that really isn't, if you put enough familiar elements into place. Most candid camera episodes are built on that kind of principle. An environment is set up so that it looks like you've been hired for a new job, and there's a real office and other employees and everything. And then a surprise element is thrown in, like the arrival of a stripping telegram, or the need to handle some impossible problem, like your desk falling apart. And the "employee" accepts it as real, because everything else looked right.

Or how about experiments that were done where a comedian managed to get up in front of a medical convention and give a speech in complete giberish without anybody noticing. Because he looked right, and sounded right, and even though the attendees where highly educated M.D.s they were also used to not having to understand all the details of what everybody was saying, and they were used to displaying a certain respect towards their peers. The Emperor's New Clothes. We're all trying to act normal, unwilling to admit we don't understand everything.

Conversely, we can also create an invisible reality, if it is constructed of elements that are so unfamiliar and unexpected that we just can't see it. A stage magician is usually quite adept at that. You don't see what he's really doing because you're not attuned to the patterns he's using.

It is said that when Captain Cook's ship first approached the island of Tahiti in the South Pacific, the inhabitants could literally not see it coming. Even when Cook and his crew got out and pointed out their ship to the Tahitians, and explained how they arrived, the natives couldn't see the ship at first. Because it was totally unfamiliar and they didn't have any belief that included the possibility that somebody could arrive from the ocean in a large sailing vessel.

In our modern society we tend to walk around believing that we're very rational and observant and we've got a pretty good grip on what is reality. Science tends to create that picture. But yet, science, however useful it is, is just a systematic way of agreeing on what a certain reality is, and how to get predictable results with it, and it tends to stay within the boundaries of those codified agreements, often ignoring anything that doesn't fit. Science only very cautiously and gradually will expand that area.

If you master these principles, and you have sufficient resources at your disposal, it is entirely possible to both create fake realities that large numbers of people will accept as the truth, as well as to create realities that are invisible to the general population.

Think for example of a black project that has access to sufficiently advanced principles and technologies that have been kept out of the public knowledge, out of scientific text books, and out out of the educational system. Say, teleportation or time travel. You don't even have to worry much about leaks, because they will pretty much be self-healing. If somebody puts out a story about secret time travel experiments, it is very easy to ridicule them, and you don't even have to do it yourself, as there will be plenty of respectable scientists and good citizens who'll stand up and say that it of course is impossible and complete nonsense. Somebody could even write a book with all the details and you could pick it up in the UFO section of your local bookstore, but it wouldn't sink into the public awareness as anything real.

You can keep very big things very secret if you just make sure that enough of the components and participants are far enough removed from what is normal and expected, and the facts are generally so hard to get to, and so hard to piece together, that the whole thing becomes invisible to most people.

Single secrets hidden by known people can fairly easily be discovered. But complex secrets, put together from many individually incredible elements, those are much harder to bring to the light.

Conversely, you can make fake stories appear very real and accepted if you just make sure that you provide enough components of normal reality. Like, pictures, sound, stories, information, and lots of it, and repetitive delivery of it. And that the people presenting it look like the right kind of people to do so. Reporters, scientists, government officials, etc.

I'm not really even talking about conspiracy theory particularly. A bigger view than that. Conspiracies are usually imagined as something the known and accepted players are doing when you aren't looking. Like, does George Bush and Tom Brokaw and Kenneth Lay and everybody else you see on the news have secret meetings where they plan out how they'll fool everybody? Well, maybe they do, but that's probably not where it is really at. Whatever specific things they do will quite likely come to light sooner or later and would be too hard to hide. What matters is not what they did, but what reality we end up accepting, and which realities we'll ignore. The real secret stuff would probably be going on in places you don't even know to look at, and would be done by people you've never heard of. And the people you are looking at on the news are quite likely thinking they're just doing the best they can with what's available to them. Because they probably live in a manufactured reality as well.


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8 comments

22 Oct 2003 @ 11:56 by Andrius Kulikauskas @81.7.114.188 : Kitty Hawk
Makes me think of the first manned flights, and the people who proved it couldn't be done, right up until it happened. Or even with trains, many thought people would suffocate if they ever travelled at such speeds.  


22 Oct 2003 @ 19:00 by Danny Caudillo @63.164.145.198 : Wow!!!
Flemming, I must say, that is probably one of the most interesting entries you have ever written. I am now going to think a little bit more from now on before I fall into a false reality. ( =  


23 Oct 2003 @ 23:23 by Bob Callahan @68.68.60.75 : Thought provoking
Flemming, honestly you have really made me think this time. Thanks for the thought-provoking entry.  


24 Oct 2003 @ 04:41 by spiritseek : How fake is our reality?
"The real secret stuff would probably be going on in places you don't even know to look at, and would be done by people you've never heard of. And the people you are looking at on the news are quite likely thinking they're just doing the best they can with what's available to them. Because they probably live in a manufactured reality as well."
Is the real truth only important to us for our living this 3d world,or does it touch upon our spirituality truth? Knowing the lies may be just as important as knowing the truth.  



24 Oct 2003 @ 06:06 by ming : Deeper Truth
Well, yeah, I think it sticks deeper. If we accept the material world as it seems to be, we might also make certain conclusions about what WE are inside, and what life is really about. Conclusions that might not serve us at all, and which might not really be true. And that is more detrimental than any material advantages somebody else might have over me by fooling me a bit. For example, the world according to the news on U.S. TV is violent, random, unfair, threatening, incomprehensible and dis-jointed. If I had to construct spiritual beliefs based on that, it wouldn't be pretty. Compare that to native american or aboriginal ways of perceiving the world, where everything is connected and meaningful, and the spiritual beliefs match the way one experiences the material reality.  


24 Oct 2003 @ 06:57 by spiritseek : Discerning the truth...
unless we catch someone in the lie its very hard to determine that there is one. Ergo the problem,we don't listen to our gut feelings as much as we should,of course this takes practice.  


25 Oct 2003 @ 11:23 by dang @24.242.9.222 : a universe of perception
I concur with the others, this is a really thought-provoking entry. For a long time I was very interested in the psychology of magic and illusion, hoping to find some insight on the whole notion of expanding one's perception to see things which are utterly hidden. Unfortunately there does not seem to be good literature out there on this topic (I have _Magic in Theory_ by Lamont and Wiseman and it's not really what I was looking for). The closest seems to be the work of Paul Watzlawick, but it's a little dense for this lay reader at times. I should say, "doesn't seem to be any good literature where I was looking." Perhaps you all know of some?

I suspect that perception is an inherently spiritual ability, so one can only go so far in terms of researching it, without actually DOING it. It is, as you might say, THE subject, or the vector pointing home. This explains why real spiritual knowledge cannot be shared or written down, but can only be experienced.  



25 Oct 2003 @ 17:11 by Frankie Lee @68.70.46.22 : Reality is What We Make Constant
Reading your Manufacturing Reality piece has reminded me what a gifted and original thinker you are, to take this often weighty subject and make it so accessible and light through your perceptive ming metacommenting! Thanks for all the dedicated years in the trenches to arrive at this place of simple clarity. I imagine exponentially more and more people receiving the benefit! blessings from LA, Frankie Lee  


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