And—I'll build you pictures of buildings and houses made from pictures of concrete and lumber and steel With pictures of landscapes and driveways and basements and pictures of neighbors to round out the deal I can picture a dog and a fence and a lawn some kids playing tag for that down home appeal And—I'll sell you these pictures for pictures of money then you'll own an estate you can picture as real
The very first entry in Merriam-Webster’s definition for the word real is: “having objective independent existence.” Most of the other definitions have to do with authenticity as in ‘not fake or fraudulent,’ or variations to cover real property, or real income, and so on. But the meat of the subject has most to do with, ‘occurring or existing in actuality,‘ and herein lies my minor obsession. Our experience in the world is entirely subjective and all notions of objects occurring or existing in actuality is by way of the great and mighty presumption that they actually do. This is the crux of all the sciences and philosophies, not to mention our everyday experience of just being here. Things being as they are, we really have no choice, do we?
Science tells us that things are made up of atoms and atoms are made up of 99.9% empty space(1). Rectify that when you stub your toe in the dark on the way to the toilet. Things made up of mostly space ramming into other things judged empty by the same measure, but somehow result in calamity. Does this sound right to you? I’d put on my Karen hat and demand to see the manager, except there isn’t one. Okay, God. But when subpoenaed to testify, God will have to say under oath that He didn’t do it. You did. It gets more infuriating the more you think about it.
So if things aren’t justifiably called real, then what do we call them. Unreal? Of course not!(2) That makes no sense whatsoever. It is understandable though that we tend to plaster over these paradoxicalities with word play. What’s a mother to do?
(1) What’s worse is that the .1% of an atom that isn’t empty space is not solid stuff either, nor does it behave in ways that make sense in terms of everyday physics. I don’t know how physicists don’t end up in padded cells. I am grateful for the work they do though.
(2) I just used another from my lifetime limit of exclamation points.