Confusing the Possible with the Actual

A lot of people confuse what’s merely possible for what’s actually true, thinking that the first has the same worth in an argument as the second.

I see this often and I think it is mistaken. I also notice frequent confusion between our wants and what’s possible. That’s a step further out from the first error. This is often the result of our own subjective biases, our ideologies, whatever narrative our brains currently operate under, and it’s unavoidable if you’re human and know nothing of these as they pertain to you. So there is good reason to think that many of our imaginings, while fun to think of, may not only be imaginative, but also imaginary and not reflect anything existing outside our heads.

I deal with this issue daily myself, and I think it’s important to reflect on.

Possibility comes in different levels and different categorical domains. But what is actual in any argument, no matter how airtight the reasoning, carries much more weight than what is only, even barely possible if at all.

What we can fallibly but reliably know to be the case has much greater impact on our endeavors than what might or might not be. There is a real universe that constrains us, our lives and our deeds, and cares not about what we speculate, hope, or wish, until through our own efforts, we work within the possible to discover what else is possible and work to make that possibility into actuality.

We ignore or dismiss that real universe at our peril, for reality can be a cosmic bitch hellbent on vengeance when spurned.


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