Here are a few standard definitions of reality -

New Oxford American Dictionary: the real world, real life, actuality; truth; physical existence. [Antonym (opposite): fantasy.]

Merriam-Webster's Dictionary: the quality or state of being real; a real event, entity, or state of affairs; the totality of real things and events; something that is neither derivative nor dependent but exists necessarily.

Wikipedia: Reality, in everyday usage, means "the state of things as they actually exist."

Here's something interesting by...

Plato: Only the intelligence that comes from the deepest understanding of reality should preside over human affairs, while all the other criteria of legitimacy applied by human societies must yield to it.

I put these quotes out there because, in a very real way, what is most missing from the problematic discourse in the public square, from the problematic discourse between individuals and from the problematic discourse inside of our own minds is a connection to reality.

The first developmental task of every human infant is to become "grounded in reality." Kind of like how a plant needs to take root in order to grow, a young child needs to become psychologically rooted in the world as it is in order to grow. Little children at first find this task very frustrating. Delaying gratification, developing frustration tolerance, facing the deconstruction of infantile narcissism and grandiosity, and accomplishing the monumental job of separation and individuation - these are the hallmarks of healthy childhood development, and they are no small feats considerating the slings and arrows of having un-actualized parents in an un-actualized world.

We are all wounded to varying degrees in these areas, no exceptions, and so we are all given to using fantasy as an escape to varying degrees. The good news, potentially, is that upon attaining adulthood, we can seek out help to heal our wounds from early childhood, and then let go of fantasy as a staple of comforting ourselves and find our full connection to reality.

I often say to people I work with, when talking about reality versus fantasy, that it's not that reality is the best thing, it's that it is the only thing. There is no viable alternative to reality. Trying to live full-time in fantasy is called psychosis... which brings me to what I write about so frequently on this blog.

Whether it is believing that President Obama wants to kill your grandparents or thinking that by getting rid of the Good Humor man, you can get your child to stop having sugar-lust tantrums, you are on a continuum of craziness. I have written many blog postings about the need to call crazy "crazy," and the need to identify certain behaviors and attitudes, such as racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, etc., as psychiatric disorders. I have also said often that except in matters of taste - Chinese food versus Italian, the Black Eyed Peas versus Miley Cyrus - where there is no empirical test to demonstrate that one is inherently better than the other, there are rarely two legitimate sides to the serious issues relating to the well-being of our society and of individuals.

That is the big problem we face. Wounded childish egos want to be right. Healthy adults want to find the truth. Wounded childish egos want power over others, want to win by defeating opponents, real or otherwise. Healthy adults lead by example, are in touch with their oneness with others, and seek to collaborate. Wounded childish egos feel devastated about being wrong. Healthy adults learn from mistakes and grow. And so on.

President Obama is discovering that whenever he attempts to give legitimacy, even if just in words, to the tantrums being thrown by the wounded childish egos of the far right lunatic fringe, they do not suddenly become collaborative, mature adults. They actually get worse, because if someone is delusional, you can't help them by patronizing them or enabling them. Just as you need to do when your 3-year-old is having a tantrum over ice cream, limit-setting and staying the course of reality are the only things that will help. That is why Plato is... PLATO! "Only the intelligence that comes from the deepest understanding of reality should preside over human affairs, while all the other criteria of legitimacy applied by human societies must yield to it."

Reality doesn't suck, or bite, folks! Anything good that you have ever actually experienced in your life... was real! Remember that.

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