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Friday, May 21, 2004

Our own personal realities 

Since, as human beings, all our interactions with the world transit through senses, we can say that reality is a subjective experience. Then reality is not universal but a personal interpretation based on the information our brain has received so far. It’s a pretty old concept for which Decartes became famous with his “Discours de la méthode” and the related quote “Je pense donc je suis” (I think therefore I am). Even if criticized by many modern philosophers, Decartes’ contribution was critical in establishing reality as a personal experience.

Since we are on our own in our personal universes, we feel isolated and we try to gather with like-minded people. It’s reassuring. We are linking personal realities together. What we perceive as a sense of community is still a personal experience.

The point that I want to make today is that one’s reality is of added value to the collectivity only if it contributes something unique. Communities of practice in general are, according to me, putting to much emphasis on building a common understanding. They would be far more productive if they tried to explore more often their boundaries, where uniqueness resides. We are valuable in how we think differently. It’s the only way to contribute to the expansion of humanity’s collective reality.

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