An alternate reality

Why do some people doubt objective reality?

One explanation I’ve heard says this: It is possible to believe that everything in the world works through human structures. Human beings control everything. If you complain to the right people, problems get solved. If problems do not get solved, a conspiracy is refusing to solve them for its own advantage.

In this worldview, external forces are under human control, and they should respond to us, not vice versa. This includes, for example, viruses, the cold math of vote counting, and the changing climate. “We only need to complain forcefully enough to the correct people and make them listen. Then they will make things be the way we think they should be. We have the right not just to hold our individual beliefs but to have them accepted and acted on as truth.

In science fiction, however, external forces tend to drive our stories. We can’t control the universe, no matter how much we don’t like it. We are mere human beings — but if we understand what’s actually happening, we can respond effectively. The genre encourages a grounding in reality, which gives it strength.

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