There is more than one type of reality.
There are in fact, three different types of reality.
- Objective reality.
- Subjective reality.
- Intersubjective reality.
Understanding the three types and using them properly is advantageous.
Confusing the three types causes misunderstanding, emotional reactions and irrational thinking.
Types of Reality
1. Objective reality
Objective reality is the “gold standard” or scientific standard for what is real.
It describes anything that is measurable, observable and would exist even if human beings did not.
Examples would be:
- Physical laws.
- Physical stuff. If you are holding an orange, you can eat said orange.
2. Subjective reality
Subjective reality is what you believe.
Others can believe the complete opposite and it would still be fine.
Subjective reality is a gradient scale, with a few people believing one extreme, a few the other extreme, and most people in-between. There is usually abundant evidence to support all positions on the scale.
The most simple example are straight-up beliefs. Some people have useful beliefs about something, others have limiting beliefs about the same thing.
Other examples include:
- Political views.
- Glass half-full or glass half-empty.
3. Intersubjective reality
It describes things that exist because we collectively believe they exist, to the point where we would almost consider them objective reality.2i.e., “mass delusion”.
- Fame and celebrity.
Using the Different Types of Reality to Your Advantage
Now that we know about the different types of reality… how can we use them to our advantage?
The first thing to recognise is that the types of reality are mutually exclusive.3Despite what I said about intersubjective reality being a special subset of subjective reality.
Everything will fall into one of the three types, and it’s useful to recognise which.
If something is objective, you know it can’t be changed and it is a wasted effort to even try.
Those that do will quickly discover that you can avoid objective reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding said reality.
If something is subjective, then you have options.
You want to choose things that are advantageous to believe are true, even if there is no evidence to support that belief.
It is advantageous to take your limiting beliefs and to replace them with empowering ones.
Common examples would be confidence and motivation – it is more advantageous and beneficial to believe in yourself and your motivations, than not to.
Intersubjective reality is where things get interesting.
It is usually disadvantageous to be out of sync with intersubjective reality much like it is with objective reality – you can avoid it, but you can’t avoid the consequences of it.
For example, you can pretend that human laws do not exist, but breaking them will still result in consequences.
But sometimes, it can be advantageous to be out of sync with what everyone else believes.
This is commonly known as “playing by different rules”.
- Choosing entrepreneurship over a traditional career.
- Businesses and startups that disrupt traditional industries.
- Skipping breakfast to save time.
- How you approach your social and romantic relationships.
- Not following celebrity fandom, and freeing up time and attention for other things.
What To Do Next
The Types of Reality model is a simple one, and one that you can easily use to your advantage.
For more simple models and systems, grab your 100% free copy of Significant Systems below. It shows you how to deconstruct systems and present three essential systems for living well in today’s world.
- I first learnt about this from Homo Deus by Nuval Noah Harari.
- i.e., “mass delusion”.
- Despite what I said about intersubjective reality being a special subset of subjective reality.
Photo by Lucrezia Carnelos.