Saw a very interesting Ted Talks which in a way echoed what I have been thinking, but crystallized the thoughts into a coherent overarching idea.
The main premise is that humans live in a dual reality. The objective physical world, and the subjective world of ideas.
Religion, Government, Money, Nationalism, Race, Science. All of those exist in our minds.
The objective physical world being what we see, the rivers, mountains (though even those have been constructed from ideas: rivers (water that runs on land in a certain direction) mountains (a large rocky outcropping))
The world of Ideas is a mental layer that has been overlaid on top of objective physical reality.
This concept is backed up by science. When we see/feel/experience, we actually reconstruct the world instead of seeing it like a camera would. Our ideas of places, people, objects, etc, create the world for us. For instance, when I say “home” what do you see in your mind’s eye? Your childhood home? Your current house? Do we all share the same definition?
Is the emotion behind the word positive, or negative?
The differences between the ideas, is that some “fiction” (what we hold only in our mental world) can affect reality by being realized. For instance science and technology. We can dream up a computer, the internet or going to the moon, and then using those ideas, combined with others, such as math(spotting patterns), etc, bring them into objective reality.
Religion, on the other hand, only exists in the mind. So do all of our laws, morality and “human rights”. We can realize them through action, but they do not “build” anything. You cannot build heaven, but you can bring the ideas you see as heavenly into reality.
Another example are Corporations which are defined as legal fictions. In reality it is a group of people that bought into the same idea behind the corporation, who then work together to make it a reality. (Usually to make money(another fiction) so that we can survive.)
Why is this important? Because we create one reality on top of another. The more people that buy into a certain idea, say science, the more that idea grows and becomes “reality”. Because we build it, and nourish it with our actions in the real world.
Further what we call “society” is really a story that we have all bought into. Usually by creating an internal interpretation of the world that shares a lot in common with other people (by growing up together and sharing the same ideas), like seeing, we construct our own version, but that version is usually similar enough with others to be compatible. When it is not, we call those people insane, or maladjusted. (Barring physiological disorders)
So to function “correctly” in society, means accepting this story. A story we all tell and share with each other. Parent to child, friend to friend.
A memetic cultural information transfer.