The Treachery of Perceptions

Surreal is Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year because it was looked up significantly more frequently by users in 2016 than it was in previous years, and because there were multiple occasions on which this word was the one clearly driving people to their dictionary.

The MW editors also note that there were three major look-up spikes for surreal in 2016: one after the Brussels terror attack in March, one after the attempted coup in Turkey in July, and one, yep, after the US election in November.

Evolution has shaped us with perceptions that allow us to survive. They guide adaptive behaviors. But part of that involves hiding from us the stuff we don’t need to know. And that’s pretty much all of reality, whatever reality might be. If you had to spend all that time figuring it out, the tiger would eat you.

This sounds promising. Having no desire to be eaten by a tiger or by anyone or anything vaguely colored like a tiger, I read on as Hoffman explained how communication between humans works:

I can talk to you about my headache and believe that I am communicating effectively with you, because you’ve had your own headaches. The same thing is true as apples and the moon and the sun and the universe. Just like you have your own headache, you have your own moon. But I assume it’s relevantly similar to mine. That’s an assumption that could be false, but that’s the source of my communication, and that’s the best we can do in terms of public physical objects and objective science.

So, now I get it. It’s really pretty simple really. I’m in the Matrix and so are you, you, and you. For all of our lives, we have been blissful ingesters of the blue pill. But recently, much to the chagrin and dismay of many, we have had the red pill shoved forcibly down our throats. As Neo might say, “Whoa!”



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Kim Pederson

Kim Pederson


Kim (or Viking Lord) is a freelance writer/editor, novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and RatBlurt blogger.