constructed reality

sun image2POSTCARD06: Bangkok: Standing outside the house in the shade of a large tree, waiting for the taxi to the airport. The brightness of the sun is tremendous, colours are vivid, the world is a high resolution Photoshop enhancement. After the eye surgery I feel like a nocturnal creature, squinting in the daylight, a quiet presence behind sunglasses. I have an attachment to darkness, I’d like it to be dark, dull and rainy today but instead it feels like I’m in a television studio. The light penetrates everything. There are no real seasons in Thailand, no markers in the calendar to say where we are in the annual cycle. The weather is the same every day. Night comes at 6pm, instant darkness, then at 6am, instant daylight and each day is pretty much like the one before. The days become weeks, weeks become months, months become years. The whole thing is just one very long, continuous day, and night is the blink of an eye.

Time disappears, people are startled to discover they have aged… wake up one day to discover they’re old – life has gone. Rip Van Winkle fell asleep and woke up with a very long beard. The story is based on an Orkney folktale about an inebriated fiddler, late one night on his way home, hears some wonderful music and discovers a group of magical beings dancing in a circle. He plays his fiddle with them for a while and continues on his way home. When he arrives he discovers fifty years have passed; people have died, his daughter is middle-aged, her children are grown up. We don’t see the true nature of the world. Reality is thought to be what is out ‘there’, perceptions based on received sensory data input: what we see, hear, touch, taste, smell – and what we ‘think’ it is. What we recognize as a particular colour, is seen by an insect as ultra-violet, by a snake as infra-red. Who are we to say our view of the world is exactly what it is? The ground appears to be solid, terra firma even though the planet is spinning around, hurtling through outer space at thousands of miles an hour. Things are not what they seem to be.

A bright pink and white taxi approaches the house, enters the driveway and fills my vision. Bags inside, door slam, reverse out and we’re gone.


‘… there are no colors in the real world… there are no textures in the real world. There are no fragrances in the real world. There is no beauty; there is no ugliness… Out there is a chaos of energy soup and energy fields. Literally. We take that and somewhere inside ourselves we create a world. Somewhere inside ourselves it all happens.’ [Sir John Eckles, Nobel Prize winner in physiology and medicine 1963]

3 thoughts on “constructed reality

  1. Pingback: ever-present | dhamma footsteps

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