Reality doesn’t exist 

Does reality exist? Many people have asked this question and in this day and age, it feels like appearances matter more than substance. Illustration by Krista Mitchell/The Daily Campus

In this day and age, it constantly feels like appearances matter more than substance, and this has gotten to the point where I would argue reality doesn’t exist. This isn’t to say that the truth of substance and quality isn’t buried underneath the glamor, but rather, the average person doesn’t truly understand the bare truth. 

For example, take insurance companies. Does anyone honestly believe that there’s someone out there who understands each company’s various benefits and costs and can determine the best plan for themselves? Perhaps there’s someone out there who can do this, but the average person can’t. What the average person, including myself, can do is remember that “15 minutes can save you 15% or more with Geico.” That tells me virtually nothing. It gives me no substantive information regarding the quality of Geico’s insurance or how it compares to other companies, other than the fact that I can save money. We all see constant advertisements for various insurance companies and the flashy benefits they can provide, but past that, there is a lot of substance that we overlook. Clearly the flash and glamor work, as companies keep playing the same type of substanceless ads yet stay in business regardless. 

There are countless other examples where appearance trumps substance. Take people, for example. Today, many people have a “type,” or the qualities of a person that they are attracted to. These qualities often include physical characteristics, which are likely a relatively minor indicator of whether or not a relationship will work out. Another example is elections where people will often vote for members of their own political party. While this is a good indicator of ideological alignment between two people compared to an opposing candidate, voting solely based on party affiliation means that you are supporting someone who you don’t truly know the values of. Even the news often reports things in different lights, and it is common for people to recognize certain news networks as liberal and others as conservative. The implication of this is that the same stories are reported in a skewed manner which influences the viewer rather than simply stating the facts; unless you want to watch straight C-Span, which is always great. A final common example is social media. People use filters and edit pictures of themselves, quite literally masking their true selves to look better. All of these examples go to show that, as a society, we are increasingly putting an emphasis on what we see and what’s on the outside as opposed to substance. 

In my opinion, this is something that will be extremely detrimental to society at large simply because the truth and genuine knowledge are consistently being buried. For people to make any decision, take something as minor as what shoes to buy, or something as important as choosing the next president, they need information. For those choices to be good choices that will produce positive results, that information needs to be accurate and reliable. But nowadays, that seems to be less and less common of an occurrence. This implies that our choices are less likely to produce favorable results. This turns many aspects of life into a race to look better, when in reality we should want things to simply be better. We may prefer the shoes that work better over the ones that are marketed better, but increasingly the substance of things matter less, and that likely will not have positive consequences. 

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