BioBooksAwardsComing NextContactBlogFun StuffHome

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Perception Versus Reality

I'm the guest blogger today at Magical Musings! I talked about creating characters, so if you're interested, head on over and check it out. Just an FYI, this blog is geared primarily toward writers and that's reflected in my post.

Last night, as I was putting the finishing touches on my guest blog piece, I watched the end of Men In Black 2. I've seen this movie before, probably around the time it first came out, and I remember not being all that impressed with it. When I watched yesterday, though, I thought the ending was pretty cool. Um, warning, I'm going to reveal spoilers, but the movie was released in 2002, so I'm guessing pretty much anyone who wanted to see it has seen it.

Okay, in MIB2, there are these tiny aliens who live inside a locker, and in the final scene, they're in Will Smith's MIB locker. Sorry, I can't remember if he was K or J. And Will Smith says to Tommy Lee Jones: "Shouldn't we let them out of the locker? There's a whole world out there." Or words to that effect. And Tommy Lee comments along the lines of Will still being a rookie. He then goes over and kicks a door open revealing that we're living in the locker of a larger alien species.

It reminded me of short story in an science fiction anthology that I read a long time ago. I can't remember the name of the book or the name of the story, but the idea stayed with me all these years. In it, this man or boy (I can't remember how old this character was supposed to be) gets a toy. He creates a planet, and when he gets mad at what's going on, he destroys it. He ends up regretting it and starts again, vowing not to wreck it again, no matter what the life forms on it do. The planet? Earth.

Both these ideas talk about our reality being based completely on our perspective. The philosophical questions raised are legion and this is exactly the kind of stuff that gets my brain swirling. I took a class in high school called Philosophy of the Western World and we did all kinds of reading that touched on this kind of question. All these philosophers trying to prove our world existed--heck, trying to prove we existed--and they couldn't do it. Everyone knows: I think therefore I am, but there were others who took that proof apart.

The end result of this class (at least for me) was that we can't know what reality is because we're limited by our perception. So I decided I'm not going to worry about it. :-) It doesn't matter if we are living in a locker of an alien species, this is our reality and what we have to work with. That said, however, this is a concept I'd love to play with some day in one of my stories. :-)