Saturday, June 5, 2010

155 / Thinking Realistically

Philosophers sometimes advise us to "think realistically," as a kind of caution not to set our sights too high. "Thinking realistically" means that we should accept the "real" limits that are supposed to constrain our actions and expectations.

But if we really want to "think realistically," then we need to be thinking only about the natural world. The natural world is the only world that has a "reality" that exists independently of our own actions, and our own meanings. The "reality" of the natural world serves as a limit on our own creativity. You can't break the law of gravity, after all. That's just a "reality" in the world that ultimately sustains our life.

But in the human world, which is a world we create, "thinking realistically" is nothing but a false prophecy; it's a major mistake. "Reality," in our world, is what we make it.

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