What is the real world, but the result of our actions? How we act defines not only who we are, but the purpose that we define for ourselves. In order to live in the world as it is, we must act according to the reality of the world not what we would like the world to be. While this may sound complicated, it isn’t. What is complicated is why we nevertheless continue to act as if we define the world and not the other way around. Examples abound:
“House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) says he’s “not qualified” to debate the science of climate change, but insists that President Obama should “absolutely consider” a ban on U.S. travel to West African countries experiencing Ebola outbreaks. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says he’s “not a scientist” when it comes to climate change, but also says it would be “a good idea to discontinue flights” from Ebola-affected countries. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal — who studied science in college — says he’ll “leave it to the scientists” to talk about climate change, but says it’s “common sense” to institute a flight ban.”
The fact that there are individuals and corporations that would like to insist on the “illusion” of climate change does not change the consequences of climate change. The fact that individuals react in fear does not change the nature of what is feared. Again, Ms. Sheppard:
“Meanwhile, actual doctors and medical professionals have made it clear that Ebola does not spread through the air, it is not “incredibly contagious” and there is little likelihood of a large-scale outbreak in the United States.”
Irrationality is part and parcel of the world in which we live. However, we can change not only who we are, but the purpose that we define for ourselves. To say that we must live “in the real world” is not to say that the world is defined by those who live in it. Rather, it is to say that we must adhere to the real consequences of our actions and our beliefs. Reason can happen.
Make no mistake: the real world in which we live is defined in a relatively exact, measurable and wholly reasonable way. However, the world by which I mean the one in which we make decisions and create beliefs is dependent upon us as individuals and as societies. We can only hope that there is some way that the quality of the relationship between the idea of the world and the real world itself can rise to the occasion. Otherwise, the often very unreasonable world in our minds will eventually determine the very real world in which we live.