The Reality And The Illusion Of Our Life Bubbles

For people like myself facing a mystery becomes an urgent call to illuminate and eliminate it. Life only looks mysterious because we tell mysterious stories about life.

Stories often depict so much more than Reality, which they faithfully adorn with extra imaginative detail. A story of your vacation would be told by you in a more dramatic script, with embellishments and vignettes, making it more exciting than the reality of it.  Pause for a second.. have you ever been guilty of painting some mediocre event in brighter colours?

To give you an example.. I once posted this photo of my motorbike in the Cardamom mountains in Cambodia.


Boy did it look fetching, and the exotic location! And the name! Bejesus, this is some modern motorbike Dalai Lama trekking the places unknown, while investigating and relaying the tales about mysterious writers.

“What an amazing story!”, I’ve heard countless  times.


In REALITY however.. the motorbike is 20 years old, requires constant maintenance and frequent dealings with unreliable mechanics. It left me stranded not once recently. In Reality, Jed drives a modest 4×4 that is quite a few years old. Not a Humvee or a bright yellow sports Tesla by all means.

In REALITY.. I ended up in SE Asia because there were no jobs back home then, and even if there were – I was opposed to what was increasingly looking to me like a modern version of serfdom. And in Reality.. Jed could not hold down a job and could not contend with daily doses of human stupidity, which eventually prompted him out.

In REALITY.. the idea of getting entangled in a so called romantic situation makes me feel repulsed for its inherent fakeness. In Reality, Jed IS entangled and does not take fancy helicopter rides with pretty young ladies. His wife would let him know in no certain terms of her displeasure.

In REALITY.. I was bored senseless on my visit to Kuala Lumpur a few years back, its concrete jungle feeling faceless compared to the local market-like messy nature of Phnom Penh. In Reality, Jed has never lived permanently outside the United States, other than being a tourist.

In REALITY.. my life is not glamourous and is still slavery, but I can pick and choose the terms. I’ve created a  comfortable bubble that isolates me from bullshit which to me is priceless. I can decide how close to step towards any human excrement without making  an internal commitment. In Reality, Jed had done much the same with his book writing that affords him modest independent living and only a superficial contact with the rest of the world. He lives in a bubble of his own, both mentally, emotionally and geographically.

You see.. the quality of your life is defined by how much or how little of immature human trivia your life bubble allows to seep through. If one wants to remain internally balanced – organise your life in such a way that it keeps the bullshit at an arm’s length, and keep in mind that definition of human shit differs widely among people. What’s one man’s shit is another man’s treasure. Regardless, it amazes me how people cope with the amount of bullshit they face directly in their everyday lives.

But do people REALLY cope, or do they begin to fall apart and grab the Kalashnikov.. or a spirituality book? Do you realise that these two are equal external manifestations of internal pain?

I am aware of the bubble and its beneficial properties. I don’t know if Jed is aware, and whether he ever considered the true nature of his life situation and what it does for him personally.. I suspect he is and has. I am also aware that the bubble can burst, and the possible dunking in fecal matter may occur. So what? I will just create another bubble.

All people live in bubbles of own making, but some people are very aware of this fact.

Don’t you think people’s Facebook profiles are prettier and happier than their true Reality, which tucks away the ‘ugly’ and in which the ‘happy’ story is the only story that everyone is allowed to observe? Not only do we bend Reality by way of personal imagination and daydreaming, but we also twist the real Reality via filtering the pictures that the world will see.

Have I done the same? Absolutely, through withholding of my physical identity; I am not going to feed you the senseless finger-moon lie. I will just say this.. I choose who and what enters my personal Reality, because just like Jed I hate feeling crowded and out of control of my immediate environment. We all do, you have to stop lying and start admitting some basic truths to yourself. We want to have some control over what happens in our immediate Reality on a daily basis, and whether the shit is allowed to flow in.

And there is nothing wrong with that.

I am speaking to you from inside the bubble. While absolute control is not possible, I can certainly limit my interaction with the unsavory, the stupid and the dishonest.

Ignorant is OK. Ignorant is like a terminal illness: can’t really kick it for being such, can only nurse it to death.


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17 thoughts on “The Reality And The Illusion Of Our Life Bubbles

  1. Hi Tano

    While I have no disagreement with the gist or essence of what you have written, from a scientific or philosophical viewpoint – I wonder if it is correct to use the word Reality as a synonym for the word Fact.

    For instance, would the following statements (Fact rather than Reality) not be more accurate, and express nothing less than what you intended to express?

    In Fact…the motorbike is 20 years old. In Fact… Jed drives a 4×4
    In Fact…I ended up in SE Asia. In Fact…Jed could not hold down a job

    Similarly, in your other post, ‘Reality has no contenders,’ for instance, could any or all of the following statements could just as well (and perhaps more accurately) not be called Facts, rather than Reality?

    No one cares about you more than they care about themselves
    The world is governed by survival of the fittest
    You will die and no one will take much notice

    While pondering about it, only today, I have came across a rather lengthy academic discussion about Reality and Facts here:

    On cursory reading, it seems to confirm that while we often we use the terms interchangeably; on many levels, the two are distinct and not synonymous.

    Thank you for your thoughts.

    1. “I wonder if it is correct to use the word Reality as a synonym for the word Fact.”

      It is correct and absolutely valid. The majority of words have more than one meaning; the application of meaning depends on the context.

      In the context I have used the meaning – the words ‘reality’ and ‘fact’ are interchangeable; see especially the last phrases.



      the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them.
      “he refuses to face reality”

      the real world
      real life
      physical existence

      a thing that is actually experienced or seen, especially when this is grim or problematic.
      plural noun: realities
      “the harsh realities of life in a farming community”

      a thing that exists in fact, having previously only existed in one’s mind.
      “the paperless office may yet become a reality”
      the quality of being lifelike or resembling an original.
      “the reality of Marryat’s detail”


      relating to reality TV.
      modifier noun: reality
      “a reality show”
      the state or quality of having existence or substance.
      “youth, when death has no reality”
      existence that is absolute, self-sufficient, or objective, and not subject to human decisions or conventions.

      in reality
      in actual fact (used to contrast a false idea of what is true or possible with one that is more accurate).


      Are you pondering what is Reality and what is fact? A brief look at your link suggests that the OP considers Reality as nothing more but a ‘collective opinion’. Yet, he also states objective Reality exists. It is not clear then what his personal belief is about.

      Having said that.. are you clear that Jed has a 4×4, and my motorbike is twenty years old? Well, that’s all I wanted to convey, and if these facts are clear to my readers – they are the facts that reflect Reality of our respective vehicle states.

  2. I had checked the dictionary definitions but thank you for providing the meaning for reference.

    “In the context I have used the meaning – the words ‘reality’ and ‘fact’ are interchangeable.”

    Yes, that is what I wondered about – i.e., the contexts, in which you have (repeatedly) made use of the term Reality – where either term could have been used. And wondering why you have consistently used one and not the other.

    I was also pondering that I tend to use the word Facts rather than Reality when talking about things that refer to time, actual events – or the vehicle I drive.

    For example, I can say this to be one Fact that I drive a 20 years old vehicle. I would not call this a Reality because many or some days, I drive a car that is two years old. Still, other days, I drive a truck that is ten years old. Add to these the fact that none of these vehicles is legally mine. All these facts and many more would have to be considered before making a singular and definitive statement about the Reality of my vehicular status or state; I had tended to think, I guess.

    Similarly, moving from one to another country – something verifiable, taking place in space and time – for me, would be a statement of a Fact about my life, more than it would be a statement of the Reality of my life.

    I can see that words have more than one meaning and the usage depends on the context — and can see that it is “correct and absolutely valid” to use the word Reality as a synonym for the word Fact. But I still wonder if it is also absolutely correct to use these as synonymous, in all those contexts – and how does one know where one is more appropriate than the other.

    Keeping in mind the fact that ‘I am’, is the only verifiable “fact” – something a lot of spiritual people, including Jed talk about – I can also reason that Reality (rather than fact), might be a more accurate term to describe the kind of things you were describing.

    Yet, having said all that – the distinction between the terms can still not be avoided. Fact is not always Reality and Reality is not always Fact. What makes you lean towards calling one or both the Reality?

    Further looking at the link provided, the discussion seems to cover all possible grounds…That is, they are the same – that they are not the same – e.g.,
    Fact is a subset of reality; these belong to different paradigms of thought (epistemological versus ontological); and that their usage has perhaps some archetypal explanation..’ World is made of facts’….etc. etc.

    Apologies if this is all too conceptual, not relevant to your post, or if it is something you have already written about elsewhere.

    Finally, yes, I am clear that Jed has a 4×4, and your motorbike is twenty years old. Thank you for your response.

    1. Keeping in mind the fact that ‘I am’, is the only verifiable “fact” – something a lot of spiritual people, including Jed talk about”

      Is that true?

      Verify this please. How do you know that you are?

      1. ‘I am’ is self-verified. It requires no external verification. ‘I am’ (I exist) is prior to my knowledge about me.

        It is perhaps truth, rather than true.

        1. You haven’t answered my question.

          I did not ask you to provide some external verification. I asked you how you verify it for yourself. So I will repeat my question:

          How do you know that you are?

          1. OK. Thank you for repeating.

            How do I know that I am?

            I suppose I know that through interacting with Reality. Without contact or engagement with the other or another, consciously, I wouldn’t know that.

      1. I take it to mean that it does not or should not matter to me, what term you use for what and why. What matters to me is the Reality or the Facts of my life, my soup, which I cannot help but eat.

        1. What it means is that trying to logically explain the effect of the sunshine on your sense of well-being is counterproductive to being well.

          I am all for understanding as much as possible about the world and Reality, but that excludes meaningless argument over the use of terms that in essence would not change the meaning in any way.

          Do you want me to guess what you are REALLY doing, as opposed to what it SEEMS like you are doing?

          You want my attention. That is why you made your comment.

  3. “How do I know that I am?
    I suppose I know that through interacting with Reality.”

    According to your statement above, you verify your existence via interaction with Reality. Does that mean that Reality exists, is?

    1. Does that mean that Reality exists, is?

      I exist, am. Reality exists, is. Two sides of the same coin, it seems.

        1. “How does that go with your initial proposition that ‘I am’ is the only verifiable

          There are only four ways it can ‘go’ with the initial proposition.

          1. It is incorrect to say that ‘I am’ is the only verifiable fact.

          2. It is incomplete and implies the fact that Reality exists, is.

          3. I cannot fully articulate my experience.

          4. All linguistic expressions of experience are incomplete.

  4. “But do people REALLY cope, or do they begin to fall apart and grab the Kalashnikov.. or a spirituality book? Do you realise that these two are equal external manifestations of internal pain?”

    haha, nailed it, thought about this coping mechanism´s of escape also, tried to feel the pain through but realized it would be, feeling after feeling, so why not coping without harming anyone, i think otherwise it would rip some people (myself included) apart.

    Trying to control thoughts is like seeing where loosing of control of life starts. Thanks for your text.

    1. “Trying to control thoughts is like seeing where loosing of control of life starts.”

      I am not sure what exactly you mean, but I ‘d say thoughts cannot be controlled as such. However, the kind of thoughts that come in would depend on a personal mind evolution.

      For instance, there is a difference between the thoughts of a five year old compared to a forty year old.

      I would also say that the common meditation advice to ‘observe your thoughts’ is pretty useless.

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