Last Thursday I attended one of Brunel Universities public lectures, which as you can guess was about the how through different disciplines view reality and its part in the world. The lecturers for the evening were Akram Khan, Dany Nobus and William Watkin, a little about the lecture in Brunel’s own words..
“Focusing on physical realities, Akram Khan will share his sense of wonder about the fact that humankind now has within its grasp the means of unveiling nature’s profoundest secrets. Dany Nobus, however, will demonstrate that the hidden truth of all forms of reality is that they must be false because they are inevitably identified through the distorted lens of human experience. William Watkin will argue that reality is not composed of secrets hidden down rabbit holes or false reflections from a distorting lens, but is a magic two-way mirror that has no meaning beyond its ability to make other meanings intelligible, truthful and questionable.” – Brunel University (2012).
I must the evening was delightfully entertaining as we first was introduced to theories such as the string theory to explain reality and how we can measure and see the universe around us. We were then taken through the psychoanalytic approach to reality with explanations of why individuals may see illusions or hallucinations and whether or not these are actually mental health problems or just how reality is perceived, with examples of mind illusions such as the one below this post. Lastly we were introduced to the philosophical approach to reality, which included examples of Watkin’s son and saying to those around him he can fly and how we can take that both as the child is lying or he is imaginative.
Now I have nothing against the first and last method of analysis to reality, however, as we all know I am a psychologist at heart and so it should be viewed and analysed in this way accordingly. Taking the view of psychoanalytic thought which Prof. Nobus explored it should be noted that we can also view the idea that reality should be connected to the area of psychology known as neuropsychology. This is because while more than one individual understands or views part of reality in a certain way it should be understood the brains reasoning for this occurrence. Moving back towards the discussion in the lecture, Prof. Nobus explained that how individuals perceive reality can in fact be both a mental health issue and normal at the same time depending on the circumstances. For example an individual’s who has the delusion that someone is after them can be classified as psychotic whereas, an individual who sees the colour red in the sky when it’s not there may in fact have another problem such as migraines to them the colour is reality and so we must take it at that value.
The first talk by Khan, was informative in the scientific sense of he continued to explain reality in the form of calculations, variations and patterns. He explained reality in the universe and how it continues to expand or even contract in the future. He continued to explain his work with the hadron collider and how it will help identify how our reality as we know it began. I shall not endeavour to explain his work future as after all I am only a psychologist with a taste for the world of science.
One thing I will say is that the theories of reality when we look at how each speciality looks at them is interesting and detailed, the most interesting is Prof. Nobus’s view of reality and that we may in fact be sane in a reality which doesn’t make sense or vice versa. The one area that is clear is that the Chaos theory was not noted into any of the three ideas and I believe with several other participants that this is an important theory to discuss as it is the idea that everything we do or that is around us is indeed chaos but when we look at the outcomes is in fact not chaos at all. Brunel public lectures are definitely not to be missed… there is in fact one tonight at 7-9pm in the Newton rooms pop down if you’re interested tonight’s topic is on Urban Psychosis with one of the lecturers being the famous Will Self recently on the politics show ‘Question time’.
So what do the readers think? What do you see reality as? More importantly in your everyday reality can you pin point times where you question yourself, what you’re seeing or even if something is possible…
NB: Please be aware that this is an old post and that the lecture is no longer available, however, check brunel.ac.uk website for upcoming dates of new lectures.