the idea that reality is created by society's beliefs about it. in other words: the world is what the majority believes it is.

That presents an interesting circular reinforcement scenario. The world is what the majority believes it to be, but the majority believes that way because that's the world they see around them.

I think there's at least some truth in this. While our beliefs may not be able to change the physical (though they may), we do in fact affect society with our beliefs. The majority makes the rules, and then convinces others that's how it's supposed to be.

Consensus reality is nevertheless voluntary.

Variations include

Of course, I don't personally know anoyone claiming to have successfully stopped beleiving in consensus reality.

If I attempt to fly, I'll do it sober, at ground-level, on a soft surface.
...Unless I'm snowboarding.

Companies tend to get no work done when they do management by consensus. Is there an anology here?

Of course, all of these analyses are tinged with the latent monotheism that pervades the Western philosophical paradigm. There are, in fact, many consensus realities, and humans slip and shift between them without much effort or thought. Examples include business, family, science, faerie, sex, religion, media, cyberspace, and politics. A hypothetical non-human observer would be hard-pressed to determine in which reality a human was at any given moment based on external evidence, but it's almost immediately clear to us.

The modernist or materialist paradigm is that anything intangible does not exist, and, therefore, there is but one reality: the physical universe. Such people attempt to maintain this philosophical position despite the fact that the meaning of any word like "intangible" is ultimately itself intangible. These paradigms reached their peak in the 1980's, but having been under assault even in the physical sciences for nearly a century they have begun to wane.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.