Do you live in my reality, or your own? That’s a hard question to answer, because often people aren’t sure what reality they live in. This is, however, a question worth asking. There are growing numbers of sophisticated social engineering campaigns that are being directed at our brains by all kinds of different special interest groups for the purpose of influencing how we perceive our personal reality.

Reality is complex. There are many different definitions for it, but most are similar to, “The state of things as they exist, not some imagined state.” Herein lies the challenge with reality. All of us interpret what we see differently. The same for all our senses. What tastes good to me might be revolting to you. The same exact item is labeled in our minds differently giving us two distinct realities.

Our senses also aren’t always capable of showing us what exists. Try to imagine reddish green — something that is somewhat like red and somewhat like green. Or, instead, try to picture yellowish blue. Humans can’t do it. Even though those colors exist, these “forbidden colors” are made up of hues whose light frequencies automatically cancel each other out in the human eye.

The dog whistle is another example. The frequency of the sound is in the ultrasonic range, which can be heard by dogs and other animals, but not by humans. Just because we humans can’t hear it, doesn’t mean it isn’t real.

There are technologies and platforms available today, and many more being developed for the next generation of the internet, web 3.0 or metaverse, that can deliver intense and immersive 3D experiences that will potentially offer up a wide range of different sensory experiences that will look real. It’s important, as we navigate these alternative realities, that we educate ourselves on how they work on our brains and our interpretation of realities.

We have all seen videos of people wearing 3D headsets playing video games and stumbling into furniture and running into walls. The alternate reality presented by the game collided with the physical reality of their living rooms. These immersive experiences, at least temporarily, created an alternate reality that made people act strangely and put themselves in harm’s way. Choosing and protecting your own reality is more than fun and games. It can have serious real-world consequences.

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Kevin R Benedict

Kevin Benedict is a thinker, futurist and writer. He serves on the Future of Business team at TCS, and meets with executive teams globally.