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© Copyright Arthur Levine, 2010
Words: 1450
Keywords: Reality, Communication. Dreams, Information Processing, Politicians, Terrorism, American

Reality show survivors eating mealy worms and bugs to win a competition, cartoon video game characters using guns and swords to kill each other, lonely people developing virtual friendships on the Internet, and politicians espousing their version of the truth: are these all new forms of reality that the American public has come to accept as fact today?

Whose reality is it anyway? Is it the reality of the producers of reality shows, the script writers of video games, the originators of Internet networking Web sites, or the talking points of government officials hoping to get elected, gone awry? Perhaps it is all of these things combined into what is presented as fact to the viewers and readers of these varied forms of modern day communications.

Modern day forms of communication such as radio, TV, magazines, newspapers, blogs, and video games serve as agents that afford us the opportunity to process information and interpret what is being said to us as we wish, coloring the so called facts as we desire, forming judgments as our minds eye dictates, and allowing politicians to convince us of the truth that they hold is self evident.

Deciding what is real and what is a public relations effort devoted to fostering ones program or position is not an easy task. The truth is it has never been easy to determine what reality is. Methods have always been available to distort the truth, prejudice our sensibilities and confuse our ability to reason. Modern forms of communication have only served to intensify the ability to distort the facts and speed up their delivery to the general public. The methods may have changed, but the ability to distort, alter, and shape the version of reality that we perceive to be the truth remain the same, and make it difficult to grasp what reality really is in America.

Americans today run the same risk of being misinformed, or just plain lied to that they were exposed to over two hundred years ago. Going back to the founding of our nation, people were being told things which were put in evidence as facts, and which have not stood the test of time. The real difference is that today, modern forms of communication have made it easier and quicker to disseminate misinformation, but have also provided the mechanism for uncovering distortions of fact on an almost instantaneous basis.

Bloggers on the Internet will pick up any misrepresentation of the facts immediately after they are presented, and then provide a correction based on what they believe to be true – their own version of reality. Cable TV news shows will via with each other to tell the American public whose version of reality is the correct one on a daily basis. Newspapers will endorse a particular party line depending on whether they hold a democratic or republican viewpoint. Magazines will use their political orientation to promote their own point of view. Competing video games will challenge each other over whose version of death and destruction is the right one to accomplish the complete virtual annihilation of an imagined enemy. Scientists will tell us what they believe reality is based on what they consider to be physical facts of the universe based on formulas, which themselves are based on theories not facts. Religious leaders will tell us what reality is based on their interpretation of what the bible says. But who amongst us can take as gospel which one of their varying interpretations is the only one that we should accept as real.

What is the average citizen to do? Who can you believe? Which version of the various realities one is offered a steady diet of is the truth? I think the real question should be is anyone really looking for reality anymore, or do we just want to hear and see what calms us down, makes us feel good, and assures us that we are doing the right thing.

Make no mistake about it; the new American reality is anything you want it to be. It can be a belief that we are spreading democracy by invading Iraq or Afghanistan. It can be justifying getting divorced rather than staying faithful to ones marriage vows when the going gets rough because of the catchall excuse of incompatibility. It can be an individual being absolutely convinced that only his or her path to God is the right one. It can be the concept that social equality is a form of liberalism, or that the whole concept is a misconception. It can be the ability to confuse want and desire with real need. It can be any and all of these things and much more. The new reality for Americans today is what you make of the information that is put before you. It is whatever you want to believe.

The new reality for Americans today is that as we develop and refine our ability to separate what we believe to be fiction from fact, as we refine our capacity to reason, we will have the opportunity to become more united as one nation, more dedicated to searching out the real truth, and more capable of creating a new reality that will be in our common interest. We can develop a belief system that will provide us with the strength to survive and prosper as one people with different versions of what reality really is, but with a shared vision of what we want our future to be. We can seize the opportunity to make the new American reality a force for good.

The new American reality can be a clarion call for a better future for ourselves, our children, and all the people of the world. It can be a manifestation of our innate desire to have peace. We may reach this new reality through different paths, and by reaching different conclusions about the facts as they are represented to us, but we can share a common goal of drawing a conclusion that will be in the best interests of all of us.

We may differ in our interpretation of the facts and what the new American reality really is, but we can all come together in a common desire to make our American dream come true. That’s what the new American reality should be about, turning dreams into a reality that will help each of us attain our goals in life, changing prejudices that have kept us from realizing our dreams, forming bonds that will protect us from the evils of terrorism, and sharing a common virtue instilled in us by our Creator.

Perhaps the most important part of the new American reality has been shaped in our minds by the natural disasters and acts of terrorism, which have befallen our people. We cannot change this part of the reality that we know to be true, but we can find a better way to deal with our problems in the future. If the new American reality is to be one of great promise, if it is to be within our grasp, we must find it in our hearts to accept that which we cannot change, and to change what inhibits us from achieving true greatness as a nation. We must exhibit the courage to believe that what we stand for as a people is real and has true merit.

We must find a better way to create a new American reality based on the common understanding that one person’s reality may not necessarily be the same as another’s. Sometimes we will have to compromise if we want to see our dreams of a new American reality take place. Sometimes we will have to take each other’s good intentions on faith.

The new American reality is within each and every one of us. It holds the potential for providing us with a new perspective that will allow everyone to participate in the great adventure that the new American reality is becoming. It gives us the opportunity to discover the last great frontier of a new world where reality is in the mind of the beholder. It gives each individual a chance to determine what his or her reality is. It gives you a choice of what you want to believe in.

You get to decide what’s real.

Author's Bio: 

Hi this is Arthur Levine, the author of the novel Johnny Oops. To read other articles about what reality really is please join us at