In an EDx course, called The Science of Everyday Thinking, I learned that seeing, hearing and remembering are all influenced by the sum of our experiences. This means that we know square about reality. All we have is a mere personal interpretation of reality. Often you'll find that your interpretation is not the same as others. I also learned during a Social Sciences class that most of my attributes are not mine from birth. Not really. They are taught by, acquired from or implanted by the surroundings while I grew up. This meaning I wouldn't be the same dragon if instead of being born to Mother Dragon of Mexico, I would have been born to Mother Dragon of the Masai tribe, or to Mother Dragon related to Mohammad Qaddafi.
I remember an old friend complaining once, "I caught myself doing this thing my mother always do (and I hate and criticize in her). I was horrified." Yes, I've caught myself so many times in attitudes I hate in others, I kinda stopped being horrified and started being more watchful about me and less critic on others.
But the point here is this; if we are the byproduct of circumstances, but those circumstances are also according to my own interpretation of reality (that's not accurate reality) and furthermore, I can't tell between real memories and false memories, meaning many of the things that define me could have not happened at all.... who am I really? All those things of my past that make me suffer today, how real are they? At the sight of science, it is more than possible that I'm suffering over practical jokes of my own brain. Too much to grasp? Hell, yeah!
On the other hand, I now understand why the old sages insist so much about living in the present and leave the past (and future) alone. Is it even worthy to waste time trying to figure out how much of that past was real? Cannot answer this question for you. Instead, I'll share a tale.
*****A man was struck by an arrow. It went deep into his chest. A doctor came. He knew how to get the arrow out and save the man's life but he had to act fast. Time was of the essence. He was about to do it when the man held his hand still and asked.
"Good sir, before you get the arrow out of my chest, please could you tell me if it is made of wood? And if it is, what kind of wood is it? Is it from a pine, from an oak, from a willow? Before you get the arrow out, could you go and find out who shot me? Was it a warrior? was it a thief? was it a noble? Also, could you tell me if the feathers of this arrow are from an eagle? or a hawk? Are they from a duck? Please, I beg you, I want to know all these things before you get out the arrow that is killing me."
If the doctor took the time to investigate all these things, the man was as good as dead. I've wasted so many centuries trying to find out answers to completely useless questions (as the why's and who's and how's) instead of just taking the arrow out of my chest and stop suffering overall. If reality is 90% my own interpretation, what are the chances of me changing my present reality?
This is, indeed, reality surpassing fiction...or melting with it. Your choice.