Reality shift

Reality shift

:"This article is about purported anomalies in physical, spatial, or temporal reality, from a theoretical perspective. For illusory reality distortions caused by mental disorders, see hallucinations."

Reality shift is a term used by proponents of anomalous phenomena to describe enigmatic changes in physical, spatial, or temporal reality. This may include unaccountable physical changes of reality perceived, the unexplained appearance or disappearance of objects of any size, spontaneous healing, added or missing time, and forms of synchronicity. Causes of these proposed anomalies are frequently disputed by both proponents and detractors.

The term is marginally used. There are very few published cases where a sudden reality change has been considered objectively real, and even those are considered to be controversial. In these cases, more popular terms would be anomalous phenomena or paranormal. In many cases, however, the experience is considered by skeptics to be a subjective hallucination stemming from a mental distortion of reality. The cause of these shifts are subject to debate and opposing theories are discussed below. Reality shift as a term, as opposed to anomaly, paranormal occurrence or hallucination, has not gained widespread acceptance.

Theories of a dynamic reality

Proponents in favor of reality shifts believe in a dynamic reality that is malleable and subject to radical alterations from what could be considered its normal state.

Among those who support the idea include American mathematician and computer scientist Rudy Rucker, who ascribed reality shifts to there being "a sequence of possible universes, akin to the drafts of a novel" in his book, "The Lifebox, the Seashell, and the Soul"cite book
last = Rucker
first = Rudy
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = The Lifebox, The Seashell, and the Soul: What Gnarly Computation Taught Me About Ultimate Reality, the Meaning of Life, and How to Be Happy
publisher = Thunder's Mouth Press
date = 2006
location =
pages = 128-134
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 1-56025-898-5
] . He likens each "sheet of reality" as being rigorously deterministic with a great web of synchronistic entanglements whose causes and effects flow forward and backward through time in such a way that changing one thing changes everything around it in both the future and the past.

Likewise, Michael Talbot, who wrote on the subject in several books including "The Holographic Universe" (1991), proposed the idea that reality is flexible and capable of even large scale alterations, such as the appearance and disappearance of entire groves of treescite book
last = Talbot
first = Michael
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = The Holographic Universe
publisher = HarperCollins Publishers
date = 1991
location = New York, NY
pages = 154-161
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 0-06-016381-X
] . He used the phrase "shifts in reality" to describe his views of reality shifts being radical alterations in the world, and included alleged miracles and psychokinetic events in his book as examples. Talbot based much of his ideas on the work of physicist David Bohm and neurophysiologist Karl Pribram, both of whom held holographic theories or models of the universe. Talbot claimed that paranormal examples of reality shifts "suggest that reality is, in a very real sense, a hologram, a construct."cite book
last = Talbot
first = Michael
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = The Holographic Universe
publisher = HarperCollins Publishers
date = 1991
location = New York, NY
pages = 154-161
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 0-06-016381-X
] .

One personal example Michael Talbot shared in The Holographic Universe was an experience where he claims he and his professor both witnessed a woman fling an umbrella at their feet on the ground, at which point it made odd crackling or sizzling sounds and then reshaped itself into the form of a gnarled stick.cite book
last = Talbot
first = Michael
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = The Holographic Universe
publisher = HarperCollins Publishers
date = 1991
location = New York, NY
pages = 154-161
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 0-06-016381-X

Of course Talbot's theory of the universe being holographic in nature is only one explanation for how it could be possible for such radical alterations to occur. Other proponents of the idea have presented differing opinions.

In 1993, sociologist David Erlandson and his colleagues laid the groundwork for conducting research into alternative paradigm research, with an emphasis on making practical use of naturalistic inquiry techniques, and with particular care to mention the significance of the role reality shifts can have in all forms of naturalistic research. cite book
last = Erlandson
first = David
authorlink =
coauthors = Edward L. Harris, Barbara L. Skipper, Steve D. Allen
title = Doing Naturalistic Inquiry: A Guide to Methods
publisher = Sage Publications
date = 1993
location =
pages = 34
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 0-8039-4938-3
] Erlandson points out that the naturalistic researcher believes that observed instability may be attributed not only to error, but also to reality shifts. Since reality shifts are potential factor, the quest then focuses not on invariance, but on "trackable variance", which is defined as being variabilities that can be ascribed to particular sources (error, reality shifts, better insights, etc.)

P. M. H. Atwater's 1999 book, Future Memory, was the first to use the term "reality shift" together with extensive descriptions her view of the ways that reality is experienced differently when individuals expand their consciousness, such as the documented cases of native runners, who could allegedly cover in excess of 150 miles per day, so they could make the trip from Lima, Peru to Cuzco in three days, whereas the Spanish who documented this feat required twelve days on horseback to cover the same distance. The Australian aboriginal dreamtime enabled the indigenous Australians to allegedly reach an altered state of consciousness in which they believed themselves to merge with and enter into animals, the earth and whatever else may be in between, changing physical reality in the process. cite book
last = Atwater
first = P.M.H.
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Future Memory: How Those Who "See the Future" Shed New Light on the Workings of the Human Mind
publisher = Birch Lane Press
date = 1996
location =
pages = 7-13
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 1-55972-320-3

David Theo Goldberg addressed the subject of reality shifts in legal and social settings when he described the presence of "several simultaneously operating levels of reality" in the context of legal and social situations in his book, "Between Law and Culture: Relocating Legal Studies." Goldberg proposes that when people experience reality shifts that transform events in which someone was injured into "a broader chain of causes and effects," this view of the sociological aspects of law illustrates how even when a society widely shares certain understandings of injury and identity, alternative understandings must also be acknowledged, even when those views comprise a minority viewpoint. cite book
last = Goldberg
first = David
authorlink =
coauthors = Michael C. Musheno, Lisa C. Bower
title = Between Law and Order: Relocating Legal Studies
publisher = University of Minnesota Press
date = 2001
location =
pages = 4-16
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 0-8166-3380-0

Possible examples of reality shifts

What types of purported phenomena actually meet the definition of reality shift is debatable. In general, reality shifts are thought to be sudden changes in one's physical, spatial, or temporal environment, which could of course include a large variety of material.

* A sudden change in the abilities and experience of the physical body related to a heightened state of consciousness. [Pearce, J.C.: "The Biology of Transcendence; A Blueprint of the Human Spirit"]

* A dimensional shift in spatial experience in which physical events suddenly and opportunistically realign with a precipitating conscious unconflicted choice (commonly following a holistic - past/present/future - state of perception and psychological willingness to relinquish the present construct of reality).

* Alleged anomalies such as the appearance or disappearance of objects, or the transformation or transportation of these objects, from a place where they should have been in a normal reality state.

* A case of spontaneous remission of injury or disease based on a shift in consciousness or intercessory external focus of consciousness.

* Perception of synchronicity between external physical experience and an internal state of consciousness.

* A perceived psychokinetic event.

* A temporal event involving an alleged time loop in which the exact same sequence of events appears to repeat; a purported time overlap in which a person interacts with someone from the past or future; great distances traversed in very short amounts of time.(de ja vu)

* Temporal Retrocausality, the controversial potential of the past being influenced by present events, or the condition of more than one past being recalled.

* An alleged ability to influence - through one's conscious thoughts or unconscious - external events such as traffic lights, weather changes, broken objects appearing whole and fully functional without apparent repair, empty containers appearing full without recollection of being refilled, materialization of physical objects like money or food without recalling causality, or electric lights turning on or off without switches being physically touched.

Criticisms of reality shift theories

The largest criticism of reality shifts is that, if true, they would represent radical deviations from accepted physical assumptions. While physics deals with a wide variety of systems, there are certain theories that are used by all physicists. Each of these theories were experimentally tested numerous times and found correct as an approximation of nature (within a certain domain of validity). For instance, the theory of classical mechanics accurately describes the motion of objects, provided they are much larger than atoms and moving much slower than the speed of light. These "central theories" are important tools for research into more specialized topics, and any physicist, regardless of his or her specialization, is expected to be literate in them.

Many "scientific" explanations of how reality shifts may work are considered to be pseudoscientific. Pseudoscience is something that claims to be scientific but does not follow the scientific method. ["Pseudoscientific - pretending to be scientific, falsely represented as being scientific", from the "Oxford American Dictionary", published by the Oxford English Dictionary.] The reason for this view is that the subjectivity of reality shifts make them difficult to verify in an objective way, a central tenet of the scientific method. Other reasons to consider reality shifts as psuedoscientific is that the predominant explanations of how they work typically point to quantum or subatomic forces that aren't considered to translate to the macroscopic scale in which reality shifts are said to occur, at least in a manner capable of producing such events. Although it is consistent with accepted scientific theory for larger objects to have particle-wave duality, their larger nature reduces quantum mechanical effects very quickly. For example, molecules as large as buckminsterfullerene have now been shown to produce the quantum wave/interference pattern in a double slit experimental setup. [M. Arndt, et al., "Wave-particle duality of C60" Nature 401, 680-682 (1999)] However, note that this effect still occurs only on the molecular scale and the deviations from classical mechanics are vanishingly small as the mass increases. Quantum interference has also been observed in with fluorinated fullerenes, which are deformed buckyballs with a shell of 48 fluorine atoms. This C60F48 currently holds the new record in complexity (108 atoms, mass 1632 u) for quantum wave interferometry. The quantum mechanical effects that produce such interference patterns behave like waves as well and in such are entirely predictable. That is to say that although the behavior of any one atom may be unpredictable the ensemble has a net behavior explained by wave mechanics. Although everyday objects have a de Broglie wavelength as do indeed interact with the world as a wave as well as an object the effect is vanishingly small. Since such explanations rely upon such wave behavior the wave should be easily observed. That is there should be a distribution of deviations from reality (reality shifts) that average to a pattern with its center at the normal state. This means that for something to move out of our range of sight for any perceivable amount of time even once then it should be bouncing around with in the room in observable manner most of the time. Thus even scaling quantum mechanics and amplifying it to ridiculous levels would not result in reality shift events. Since reality shift events are completely inconsistent with any previously observed quantum mechanical phenomenon connecting the two is generally considered to be an effort to borrow the legitimacy of science rather than extend theory to explain an observation and form a hypothesis. Such efforts to borrow legitimacy is a common approach to pseudoscience.

Skeptics may accept cases of reality shifts as accurately reported, but point to more mundane reasons as the cause, for example hallucinations caused by physical or mental illness, or other explanations that fit more conventional theories of science. Events involving multiple witnesses also tend to be rejected. Recent studies have shown increasingly that sane human beings can be dramatically mistaken in their eyewitness accounts.

Reality shifts in fiction

*Christopher Maselli, "Reality Shift: They Changed the Future". HarperCollins Canada / Zond Kids Pb (2002). ISBN 0-310-70338-7.
*The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
*The Lathe of Heaven
*The majority of novels and short stories by Philip K. Dick feature reality shifts
*"Mobius Dick" by Andrew Crumey

Reality shifts in movies and television

*1408 (2007)
* Silent Hill (2006)
*Day Watch (2006)
*The Butterfly Effect (2004)
*Tru Calling (2003)
*Happy Accidents (2002)
*The Family Man (2000)
*Frequency (2000)
*Passion of Mind (2000)
*The Matrix (1999)
*The Thirteenth Floor (1999)
*Dark City (1998)
*Sliding Doors (1998)
*Sliders (1995)
*Groundhog Day (1993)
*Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)
* (1983)
*Somewhere in Time (1980)
*Portrait of Jennie (1948)
*Dead of Night (1945)
*Flesh and Fantasy (1943) Also Titled: Dreams and Fortune Tellers

See also

*Materialization (parapsychology)
*Paranormal vanishing
*Spoon bending
*Time loop
*Time slip
*Time warp
*Vadim Zeeland

*Anomalous phenomenon

;Reality related
*Consensus reality
*Lucid living
*Reality and chakras in Bön
*Reality in Buddhism
*The Real
*Simulated reality


*Faith healing
*Spontaneous remission

*Reality warping

Notes and references

*Richard Gregory, "Even Odder Perceptions". Routledge, London & New York, NY (1994). ISBN 0-415-06106-7.
*Cynthia Sue Larson, "Reality Shifts". Magical Blend magazine, Issue #68 (Jan 2000). pp. 16-19.
*Brad Steiger, "The Reality Game and How to Win It". Newcastle Publishing (1986). ISBN 0-87877-085-2.

External links

* [ Reality Shifts: A Definition]
* [ Reality Shifts: What happens to those who slip between the consciousness of time and space?]
* [ The Central Mystery Of Quantum Mechanics: Observation Paradox Video]
* [ Quantum Physics, Depth Psychology, and Beyond]

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