I hate surprises. It doesn’t matter whether they are good or bad, I prefer to know what is coming at me, so I can prepare myself to make the best of it or decide in advance whether fight or flight is the better option. I have known in advance what I was getting for my birthday since I was 12. I know that this would seem to indicate a stolid nature devoid of any sense of adventure, though I think few people would describe me that way. The thing about surprises is that they tend, in our complicated culture, to be the quick and dirty substitute for something far more meaningful and important: wonder.
We think we know what reality is. Our lives are filled with work, sex, and food that we consider to be real. The processes within your mind, where you categorize the input of your senses and turn it into recognizable patterns, you also consider real. For most of human history, reality has been a fairly easy to define thing: reality is the world around us that we can see and touch and smell and taste. But the boundaries of reality are shifting. With the ever-expanding world we are creating in the spaces between our computer screens, we suddenly find ourselves in the position of questioning what is more “real”: the things we can feel with our hands, or the things we feel with our hearts? Continue reading