While on my way to the Cisco lab today I was thinking about reality. I know this might seem odd, but that is the kind of thing I think about (which is why I get invited to all the parties…). So I was driving to school and thinking about reality and how it relates to existence. I read recently that out of all of existence our conscious minds pick and choose relevant bits, like family and friends, trees and houses, money and ideas and that is what we call reality. Reality isn’t the same for everybody. A lot of the time it is similar, but not the same. This would explain why so many people have so many different ideas of what reality is. Why so many schools of thought and so many religions can be seen as true by the people who believe them.
This way of looking at reality made me think of something in the computer world. Something I have been working with for years, though I think that most of you have not heard of it. I guess I will have to explain some of it as it is somewhat obscure to everyone not familiar with the Linux operating system. The thing I am talking about is the Window Manager. There are dozens of them, and if you know what they are you may also know where I am going with this. If you are a Microsoft Windows user, you will most likely think of your computer’s operating system as a collection of menus and icons. These menus and icons are set in a rather rigid way. That is to say, you can’t change much about their placement or look. There are minor theme variations, but that is about it. This GUI (Graphical User Interface) is not the operating system, it is the interface between the user, that’s you, and the true OS (Operating System), which is a collection of applications and daemons that allow the user to run software and access hardware. There are better definitions out there, but it’s something like that. The point is, without the GUI it would be a lot harder to do some things with a computer and impossible to do others, like surfing the web, editing photos, and playing your favorite FPS.
With Windows you have no choice in what Window Manager you use. In the Linux world options abound. Not only are there dozens of Window Managers, most of them are highly configurable. The user can make their desktop look however they wish. In fact, one computer running one Linux OS can have multiple Window Managers installed, to be used at will. Some people like KDE more than the rest. Others think KDE is ok, but Gnome is obviously the best. Still others find Fluxbox to be most useful (feel free to Google these Windows Managers for more information). When it comes down to it, all of the Window managers do the same thing: act as an interface between people and the OS. Some handle certain jobs better than others, some look better than others, but they all access the same OS.
Now that I have shed some light on the world of Linux I can get to the real point of this post. We all seem to think of reality as fixed, like Microsoft Windows. We see things in a certain way and assume it is the only way to see it. The only way to interface with all of existence. But how can this antiquity explain why so many of us see things completely different and are still just as able to interface with existence? If the Christian didn’t feel at lest some connection with the world through his faith, he would not continue to believe. The same is true for the Hindu, the Muslim, and all other systems of belief. And the same is also true for the Atheist. All of these systems of thought are just Window Managers. All are just one of many ways to access the System. Some are better at some things, others are better at other things. In the end we all are interfacing with the same system, which interface we use is of no importance.