We all admit that it's easy to become confused. I myself
regularly do so every day. In fact, you can't even learn
anything until you first become confused.
But there is *no* reason to become more confused than is
The KEY DISTINCTION is between reality and perception of
reality. This must be borne in mind at all times.
There are two things. One is reality. Two is perception
of reality. They are not at all the same thing.
If you let even for a second the key distinction between the
two slip, even by the tiniest, tiniest amount, then you are
doomed. It's all over. You've bought the farm. There is
no recovery. You've had it.
Let us for the sake of God *not* define anything. That turns
out, experience teaches us, to be the worst possible response.
It is a horrible mistake. First, it gives rise to many
different interpretations, and the curse of Babel is upon
us. Second, we *ourselves* in almost all instances that I
have seen, are not able to remember and strictly observe
our own definitions. So preserve us from them.
We need to look up to and admire all the people who are *not*
philosophers, people who actually go about their business in
the world and achieve admirable ends. Let us pray use *their*
For one thing, it will be a cold day in hell before they ever
change the way they use words because some half-assed philosophers
have suggested they do. Second---unlike us---they are not confused.
When George Bush, for example, worries about the perception
of the Russian ambassador, he is being very realistic. He
does not have his head up his ass. He understands the situation
The world is out there, and the Russian ambassador sees things
in it. The Russian ambassador is not insane, and so he knows
that what he sees and the representations in his head are not
the same thing. Yet the Russian ambassador may *perceive*, for
example, that such-and-such is a threat, where we happen to know
(since we are the possibly threatening party) that it is not.
Therefore, George Bush wisely knows that he must try to afford
the Russian ambassador an *accurate* representation of reality.
We can do no better than they: we *must* continue to *never*
confuse reality, on the one hand, with our perceptions OF it
on the other.