Reality Here and Now


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The Eye of the Needle

Bet on it! It is a big place! And getting bigger, to the tune of about 10 62 cubic metres per second. But imagine yourself in the thunderstorm that is happening somewhere on Earth at this moment. You notice that a flash of lightning and the accompanying thunder happen at different times by your internal clock. The interpretation is simple: the thunder is a soundwave travelling at the speed of sound and takes some time to reach you; the flash, travelling at the vastly faster speed of light, takes an imperceptible amount of time. Just as for the falling leaf, this light-travel delay is so short that you generally consider the strike to happen at the same time that you see it.

On larger scales, however, the effects are quite noticeable and even dramatic. When commanding missions elsewhere in the solar system, space scientists have to contend with delays of minutes or hours between the occurrence of events and the arrival of the signals describing them. Looking at the night sky, you ponder stars as they were tens, hundreds, or even thousands of years ago.

And when astronomers observe distant galaxies as they rush away from ours because of the cosmic expansion, they are looking back billions of years through cosmic history; not only were galaxies younger, but the universe itself was expanding at a different rate. We can look even farther: the so-called cosmic microwave background radiation consists of light that has freely travelled to us from a time This light gives us an image of the structure of the universe when it was newly formed; the eventual vast array of galaxies, planets and stars was still just an embryonic ripple in the cosmic sea.

This view of our nascent universe is here with us, right now; a bit of the static on an untuned nondigital TV is this very radiation. This commingling of the present and the most distant past makes it clear that there is a complex relationship, and there can be an enormous difference, between what is happening right now and what we are observing right now. This does not feel terribly troubling, but it is a good reason to be very cautious.

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Likewise, if you disconnected your analogue TV a few years ago and had your last peek at the cosmic dawn then, this event was quite different from the initial launch of that radiation from the early cosmic fireball. But so what? Despite these facts about what we know of the universe right now, our intuition tells us that there is something like a big cosmic clock ticking away in the background, that depends neither on our perception nor on our knowledge of when events happened. Underlying this intuition is the idea that we could have some sort of signal that travels as fast as we like and that, if we used that signal, we could see the stars as they truly shine at this very moment.

Even if no such signal exists, we can still imagine the set of events that happen right now, at least in retrospect, as it were. Suppose it is pm, and a NASA technician sends a signal to an exploratory vehicle on Mars, instructing it to take a photo and send it back.

Augmented Reality – The Past, The Present and The Future | Interaction Design Foundation

When, at pm, the technician receives a photo showing a waving tentacle about to grab the camera, she can infer that first contact occurred at pm. Similarly, we could think of all sorts of events that are happening right now, by giving the corresponding definition, invented by Albert Einstein: if we sent a light signal to an event a time t ago, and if that signal reaches the event, turns around, and returns to us at exactly the same time t in the future, then we say that the event is happening now.

Events for which this is not true would be in the future or the past.

Taking this to its logical conclusion, by imagining signals all throughout the universe, we would think it possible to construct — in principle at least — the cosmic now. That is, we can imagine all sorts of events, all across the cosmos, even those that we cannot actually observe for a long time, if ever. And we feel quite strongly that each such event either is happening right now, or is not.


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This construction is perfectly sensible, and accords with your intuition — but it is an illusion we maintain. Yet the universal now, the set of all events everywhere that are happening at the same moment as you read this — so clear in your mind — is just a dream. Copyright Anthony Aguirre. Jan-Willem van Prooijen. Become a Friend of Aeon to save articles and enjoy other exclusive benefits Make a donation. The reality therapy approach to counseling and problem-solving focuses on the here-and-now actions of the client and the ability to create and choose a better future.

Typically, clients seek to discover what they really want and how they are currently choosing to behave in order to achieve these goals. According to Glasser, the social component of psychological disorders has been highly overlooked in the rush to label the population as sick or mentally ill. Reality therapy attempts to separate the client from the behavior. Reality therapy was developed at the Veterans Administration hospital in Los Angeles in the early s by William Glasser and his mentor and teacher, psychiatrist G.

The term refers to a process that is people-friendly and people-centered and has nothing to do with giving people a dose of reality as a threat or punishment , but rather helps people to recognize how fantasy can distract them from their choices they control in life. Glasser posits that the past is not something to be dwelled upon but rather to be resolved and moved past in order to live a more fulfilling and rewarding life. By the mids, the still evolving concepts were described as " choice theory ", a term conceived and proposed by the Irish reality therapy practitioner Christine O'Brien Shanahan at the IRTI Conference in Waterford, Ireland and subsequently adopted by Glasser.

The practice of reality therapy remains a cornerstone of the larger body of his work. Choice theory asserts that each of us is a self-determining being who can choose many of our future behaviors and hold ourselves consciously responsible for how we are acting, thinking, feeling, and also for our physiological states.

Choice theory attempts to explain, or give an account of, how each of us attempts to control our world and those within that world. According to Glasser, human beings have four basic psychological needs after survival: [6] the most important need being to love and be loved by another person or group for a feeling of belonging; the need for power, through learning, achieving, feeling worthwhile, winning and through being competent; the need for freedom, including independence and autonomy while simultaneously exercising personal responsibility; the need for fun, pleasure seeking enjoyment and relaxation is also a very important need for good psychological health.


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One of the core principles of reality therapy is that, whether people are aware of it or not, they are always trying to meet these essential human needs. These needs must all be balanced and met for a person to function most effectively. However, people don't necessarily act effectively at achieving these goals. Socializing with others is one effective way of meeting the need to belong. But how a person chooses to interact with and gain attention and love from others is most often at the root of their psychological dismay. Reality therapy stresses one major point—people are in control of what they are currently doing in their lives whether or not it is working in their favor toward meeting their basic psychological needs for power, belonging, fun and freedom.

And it is through an individual's choices that he or she makes change happen for the better or worse. In our current society, the survival need is normally being met—it is then in how people meet the remaining four psychological needs that they typically run into trouble. Reality therapy holds that the key to behavior is to remain aware of what an individual presently wants and make choices that will ensure that goal.

Reality therapy maintains that what really drives human beings is their need to belong and to be loved. What also drives humans is their yearnings to be free, and with that freedom comes great responsibility one cannot exist without the other. Reality therapy is very much a therapy of decision or choice and change, based upon the conviction that, even though human persons often have let themselves become products of their past's powerful influences, they need not be held forever hostage by those earlier influences. Reality therapy seeks to treat patients who face difficulty in working out a relationship with others.

So, the formation of a connection of the patient with the therapist is regarded as an important milestone at the start of the therapy. According to the therapists, bonding of the patients with their therapists is the most crucial dynamic that would facilitate the healing process. As soon as this bonding is stable, it can help to form a fulfilling connection outside the therapeutic environment.

Patients receiving this kind of therapeutic treatment will learn various ways to strengthen relationships in the most suitable manner possible and that too in the absence of their therapists' safe relationship. Moreover, they will be able to use their newfound skills in their personal lives. Reality therapists say that when patients are able to use the skills, behaviors, actions, and methods learned through the therapy in their personal lives, then they will be able to successfully work out external relationships as well. This will provide them with the satisfaction of leading a more fulfilling life.


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Glasser believes that there are five basic needs of all human beings: survival, love and belonging, power, freedom or independence, and fun. Glasser believes the need for love and belonging is the primary need because we need other people in order to satisfy all the other needs. Reality therapy maintains that the core problem of psychological distress is that one or more of the client's essential needs are not being met thereby causing the client to act irresponsibly. The therapist then addresses this issue and asserts that the client assume responsibility for their behavior.

Reality therapy holds that we learn responsibility through involvement with other responsible people. We can learn and re-learn responsibility at any time in life".

William Glasser's choice theory is composed of four aspects; thinking, acting, feeling, and physiology. We can directly choose our thoughts and our actions; we have great difficulty in directly choosing our feelings and our physiology sweaty palms, headaches, nervous tics, racing pulse, etc. Emotions feelings are the client's self-evaluation is a critical and crucial first step. A self-realization that something must change, realization and acceptance that change is, in fact, possible, leads to a plan for making better choices—plans that are at the heart of successful reality therapy.

The therapist helps the client create a workable plan to reach a goal. It must be the client's plan, not the counselor's. The essence of a workable plan is that the client can implement it—it is based on factor under the client's control. Reality therapy strives to empower people by emphasizing the power of doing what is under their control. Doing is at the heart of reality therapy. Behavior, in the real world is an immediate and alive source of information about how we are doing and whether we are happy with what is going on in our lives.

However, it is very hard to choose and to change our emotions directly. It is easier to change our thinking—to decide, for example, that we will no longer think of ourselves as victims or to decide that in our thoughts we will concentrate on what we can do rather than what we think everybody else ought to do. Reality therapists approach changing "what we do" as a key to changing how we feel and how we will work to obtain what we want.

These ideas are similar to those in other therapy movements such as Re-evaluation Counseling and person-centered psychotherapy , although the former emphasizes emotional release as a method of clearing emotional hurt.

ISBN 13: 9781463507558

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