Nothing is real.
I’ve been haunted by this thought for more years than I can remember. But I could not quite put my finger on how it could be possible that none of this was real.
When I was 16, I started listening to VNV Nation. When they came out with their song “Rubicon”, I was floored. The line, “I can’t prevent the thought that nothing’s real,” echoes in my mind still, after all these years.
Then I read Kant.
Nearly a year ago, I took a philosophy class at CSUSB. The last third of the class, we focused on Kant’s empirical realism.
Empirical realism says that nothing is objectively real, objects that we perceive can only be empirically real or subjectively real. Because we are subjects, we are permanently and irrevocably only able to derive subjective truth from any experience.
I wish that I could explain how beautiful that is to me, and how it fundamentally changed the way that I view the world and my place in it.
What we perceive is empirically real; reality exists only to the extent that we can sense it. What lies beyond what we can sense, what exists beyond the subjective, is a mystery. Thinking this way has brought the mysterious, the magical, the miraculous, back to me.
Sometimes I get too jaded for my own good.