In any situation you generate a view of the reality of that situation that is unique to you. This ‘internal reality’ is formed using several influences including:
Sensory cues. The things that you are aware off through your senses, sometimes called ‘cues’. The problem is that we are very selective about the cues that we pick up on and hence never see the full picture.
Your emotions. We bias our view of a situation through our emotions and tend to, ‘see what we want to see’.
The quirks of thinking. Psychologists have identified a set of quirks in our thinking that are part of human nature and that affect us ALL.
Neurological limitations. Neurologists have found that we have limited short-term memory and this affects our ability to process information and hence affects our view of internal reality. There is some evidence that our brain moderates the amount of energy that it uses for thinking and hence we may think to a level that we can get away with.
Complexity. Virtually every real situation we come across is complex both in its structure, with many relationships between all of the parts, and its behaviour. Our intuitive understanding of complexity is very naive and so the world seems far simpler than it really is. Through complexity science we have discovered that complexity is far more complex than we can imagine and that it inherently limits what we can know and do in a given situation.
These influences all combine within your thought processes to generate an internal reality that is unique to you, although aspects of it may be shared with others.
“It is our internal reality upon which we base our judgements and decisions and that both directs and restricts our creative capabilities”.
Reality without Perception
One could imagine that if we could be cognoscente of every possible sensory cue, have no emotions, no quirks, fewer physical restrictions on our thinking, and understand more fully the nature of complexity then our view of a given situation would be more complete and more objective; this the ‘external reality’ that sort of exists if we do not.
“The greater the gulf between our internal reality and the external reality the more likely we are to miss something important, or screw up. This is why reality matters.”
The Reality Gulf in the Work Environment
Our work environment is a complex system of human and machine interactions and what we tend to do is make decisions and judgements based upon our internal reality and then use these to influence the external reality and it is the gulf between these realities that more often than not causes things to not turn out how we expect them to.
This website focuses on the reality in the software delivery workplace and looks at how we can reduce our biased view and reduce the reality gulf to improve our chances of interacting in that environment in a more predictable way. Many of the ideas in this section are relevant to other workplaces and organisations.
The Reality Gulf in the nature of the Universe
Physics is a discipline that attempts to supposedly remove bias from our view of reality and in one way it does because the mathematics that underpins physics allows us to predict the behaviour of our world with amazing accuracy. The mathematical physics is a shared internal reality which is biased by the fact that we create the theories based upon our interaction with the world around us. The problem is that for pragmatic reasons the physicists interpret the abstract mathematics into constructs that have some meaning in the internal physical reality that we all share, but such interpretations say little or nothing about the external physical reality. So unless, like Max Tegmark, we consider the external reality to be a pure mathematical object, current physics can never give an insight to whatever it is of which we are part that generates the universe that we perceive around us. This website suggests a different approach to understanding the nature of the external reality in which physics just becomes an emergent property of that external universe.