An Essential Element of Mysticism
Actuality and Reality
by Robert E Dreier
These two concepts may be the most important philosophic ideas presented to students of the Rosicrucian discipline for they both concern people and their understanding of the Cosmic. It involves Cosmic Consciousness. In this introduction certain ideas will be presented which will be amplified as this discussion proceeds. Probably the best road to take is the initial cursory definition of both concepts. So let us proceed.
Some students define ACTUALITY as the laws of vibrational energy and REALITY as the laws pertaining to consciousness of the former. That is a so-called nutshell definition. That which is real to the human is that which one can realize, regardless of its vibrational energy content and octave(s). Sound to one who is deaf has no realization since the sense of hearing is dormant, and the same can be said of the other four senses of perception where there is a deficiency. Remember the old question: If a tree falls in the forest, is there a sound? The usual answer is no unless there is someone in the vicinity to HEAR it. But from a purely technical or actual sound (for human sense detection) is present since the sound of the falling tree in all likely-hood creates vibrational energy within the spectrum of human hearing. It is the vibrational energy caused by the falling tree which activates the air and the ear drum that causes the possible perception notwithstanding a person in the vicinity to perceive the REALIZATION of the ACTUALITY. Our 'physical' realizations of actuality are limited to a spectrum of frequencies within the limitations of our five senses. These objective realizations of the physical senses are translated into a subjective reality which may be different for each person. One cannot depend solely on the realization of actuality in ascertaining TRUTH since the perception of that 'truth' may vary from individual to individual. This is why eye-witness testimony may not always be reliable; not every witness will 'see' (realize) the incident in the same manner. All of this, and mystic realization, and more will be brought to light as we proceed.
At first notice, these two words would seem to have the same meaning and the dictionary would be of little assistance to us because it gives practically the same definition for the two words. This is a great mistake, however, and the differences easily become apparent as we appreciate the meaning and values of the word REALITY. An ACTUALITY is that which involves action or exists in motion and can never be considered static - REALITY is that which is perceived with a subjective consciousness and interpretation, meaning or value.
Please compare and associate these two sets of words: ACTUALITY and action, motion; REALITY perception, realization. ACTUALITY is the law and order of vibrations; REALITY is the law and order of consciousness. The one is the phenomenon, manifestation, or law and truth of vibrations of Spirit energy; the other represents the degree of individual appreciation of actualities or manifested vibration. In other words, reality is the product of the individual's reception and assimilation of vibrations of Spirit energy. Without realization, nothing would be real to the observer as an individual.
Herein lies the fundamental point of difference - entirely in consciousness. Each of us realizes certain sensations and emotions independent of his fellow beings and it is well that so important a matter be studied and analyzed carefully. The starting point of all thought and investigation with every human being is in his own internal consciousness; this, to everyone, is the most absolutely fixed of all facts - the most positively certain of all certainties. It is hence the position from which all other certainties and uncertainties, probabilities and improbabilities, possibilities, and impossibilities are estimated. However, as from our individual centers of consciousness and intellect we open our eyes and look without us, we find ourselves surrounded by appearances of various forms and conditions, near and remote, which act upon our physical, intellectual, and moral natures and reacted upon by us. These active and reactive influences are, in some sense, at a constant equipoise. There is, thus, a universe without and a universe within each of us: a universe of cognizable forms, principles, and corresponding with the other. It is the legitimate object and privilege of every inquiring mind to understand, in some degree, both of these universes. In order to do this to the fullest extent one must investigate each with constant regard to its analogies with, and relation to, the other.
ACTUALITY is universal, but REALITY is that which is independent. People realize actuality in different ways. Much of realization may depend upon the five senses, some realization is intuitive. One person's reality may be the opposite of another's. That which one person realizes does not depend upon another person's understanding or comprehension. This is one reason why eye witness testimony may not always be reliable since two witnesses may have different realizations of the same event. I may look at one accident scene, which you may also be observing, and I may see it in a different 'light' than you. Realization may be affected in many ways, by interpretation. From childhood through maturity to old age our realizations change according to life's experiences which affect our interpretations of the same event or thing. In an assembly of people show them an artist's rendition and you may receive a number of different interpretations based on the experiences and realizations of those who examine the artwork. Of course the true answer will be that which the artist had in mind when the painting was created. And this is all the more true when realizing the Cosmic. Everyone will have his/her own realization whether it be anthropomorphic or pantheistic.
When the first astronauts landed on the moon, their reality of the actuality was changed when they witnessed with sense perception what other scientists had imagined by using a telescope. At one time in our history, scientists thought the world was flat, the realization of its spherical shape changed the Ptolemaic idea forever.
Six blind people sensing with touch an elephant will realize the animal according to the areas which they perceived through the sense of touch. One who is color blind to certain colors will see the light rays reflected and refracted in a different manner. Music and noise are realized differently. Therefore one might say that the realization of an actuality depends upon the acuity of the senses and psyche.
Man has certain standards by which he judges realities from actualities. That which is real to the human consciousness is that which the consciousness can realize regardless of its actuality. Actuality exists but can not become made known to man's consciousness until he realizes them. If someone stands in front of you, what is your realization? You see the realization of the persons actuality - you see the reflected vibrational energy impinged on the retina of the eye which is then carried to the brain through the nervous system as impulses. With two eyes separated by a few inches one sees a stereoptic vision in three dimensions. It is then when these vibrational impulses are registered in the brain that initial realization occurs. The mind is therefore conscious of the physical realizations of the reflected vibrational energy of light frequencies and waves. The other five senses involved with realization operate in a similar manner - hearing by energy impinging on the ear drum and transmitted, smell, taste and feeling in similar manner by those receptors which are sensitive to the frequencies which affect these particular senses. Which is the real person you see in front of you? It is only the person which you realize by reflection. The actual you will not perceive. Some one else who sees the same person may have a different realization, there again depending upon that person's retina, nerve transmission, and brain interpretation. Now you can see why "eye witness" testimony may not always be reliable in a court case. Two witnesses may not see the scene with the same realization to the actuality.
Now try this. Realize something that does not exist. Picture in front of you a shoe box, wrapping paper and string. I take the wrapping paper and place it around the shoe box, fold the paper so it fits snugly around the box. Next I take the string and wrap it around the length and then the width of the box and tie a knot. You saw a mental image or 'realized' a non-actuality. You have seen a box, made of cardboard, with a particular color, a box-top, paper etc. All these items were imaginary. But you could visualize them clearly as if they really did exist. Now, when you can see a thing so clearly that you can recognize it, distinguish it from other articles, and tell just how it is made, it must be a reality to your consciousness as though you had actually seen such an article. But there is no such article as was described above. It was a product of your own mental visualization. It would have no use or purpose. You could not pack a pair of shoes in this 'mental' box.
Again which is the 'real' thing to your consciousness a physically realized shoe box or one that is imagined?
A very important factor to consider regarding Actuality and Reality is the reliability of the five senses. This is the area of 'self deception'. If our realization depends primarily on our five senses then we can SEE OBJECTIVELY only what the eyes as physical organs can detect through reflected vibrational energy, and in a similar manner HEAR TASTE, SMELL and FEEL only what those sense organs will permit us to detect, and then transmit by the nervous system to the brain where it is evaluated SUBJECTIVELY. Our senses are limited in their objective functions. Objectively we have limitations of time and space. We can hear at only a limited distance and sight is limited in similar manner; but smell, taste, and feel are limited more by space than time. These limitations on our perceptions have an important bearing upon our realization. Man has partially overcome these natural limitations of the senses by resorting to mechanical and electrical appliances to extend the sensitivity of the senses, witness the magnifying glass, telescope, stethoscope, radio, television, hearing aid, etc. Therefore it is safe to say that: The five senses are limited by physical conditions and functional conditions. So we see man has improved and enlarged his ability to sense using in many respects artificial means other then those which are provided by nature. The functions remain the same but the sensitivity is enhanced. The five objective senses are, therefore, affected by functional conditions. What is important to note here is the next phase of importance and that is the INTERPRETATION of our senses. To one who is blind, a beautiful scene of nature is meaningless, and to one who is deaf, the music of Beethoven makes no impression. But to one who has command of all of the senses interpretation will vary with the brain's interpretation and the meanings assigned by the person depending upon individual sensitivity, and life experience. A beautiful sonata will have a different realization than a hard rock band blasting away. When vibrational energy strikes the retina of the eye the image of sight is reversed or upside down. It is similar to looking through a camera lens and ground glass view finder all images are reversed from the print. The lens of the eye carries the picture to the retina, and then is transferred through the fine filaments to the brain where the image is processed. It is during this process where the objective consciousness is transferred to the subjective where interpretation takes place. We realize the picture as individuals according to our own faculties and experience.
Your interpretation of an actuality gives you a reality to that particular actuality. Whereas, the fact remains, in actuality it may be something different. If in your childhood you were taught that a table was a chair and every time you saw a 'chair' you would have realized it as a 'table'. Therefore one cannot depend upon the actuality of realities. One cannot depend upon the interpretations of realities. For man to know the truth in all things he must develop his Cosmic Consciousness and not learn completely through the material mind or earthly consciousness. The realization of pain is, after all, the realization of the mind and consciousness and not the actuality, which we may think that it is. Some people still 'feel' pain from what they believe to be an amputated limb. We are on occasion deceived by pain, first as to its cause and second to its location, and third as to the true nature--all because we have given sensations (the five senses) and acquired interpretation. Pain need not be a material phenomenon, we all are aware to a certain extent of mental and spiritual 'pain'. We must develop our minds to detect and interpret these sensations. All psychic products of the mind result from the transformation in the brain and nervous system of the energies, within and without, into component or collective parts of which the intellect and emotions may be considered the synthesized unification. All psychic products have a tendency toward manifestation and resolution into action or motion. We can perceive that the brain is veritable transformer of cosmic energies between the intellect and emotions, and that the pure or higher forms of creative imagination involves a harmony, a blending, a coordination between these two psychic principles. On one hand, the ideas of the intellect have a tendency toward speech, while, the emotions give color and are in fact, the power back of our actions. Our intellect may build up a product that requires action, but this is only accomplished through its appeal to the emotions; for action, of whatever nature it may be, is more spontaneous and efficacious when aroused by that functioning of the emotions which we call interest. When interest is absent, or too feeble, action fails and remains in the consciousness as a simple tendency, rudimentary and inefficacious.
The words ACTUALITY and REALITY are often confused and interchanged by the general public. ACTUALITY - the law and order of vibrational energy. REALITY - the law and order of consciousness. One is the phenomenon, manifestation, or law and truth of vibrations of Spirit, and Spirit energy; the other represents the degree of individual appreciation of actualities or the manifested vibration. In other words reality is the PRODUCT of the individual reception and assimilation of the vibrations of Spirit. Without REALIZATION nothing would be real to you as an individual. Herein lies the fundamental point of difference - entirely in the CONSCIOUSNESS of the recipient.
Copyright © 2003 bv Robert E Dreier