Reality sucks

Trevor Watkins is the founder of the Individualist Movement, the author of two books, and a contributing author for the Free Market Foundation. He publishes on a blog at 

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The views expressed in the article are the author's and not necessarily shared by the members of the Foundation.

This article may be republished without prior consent but with acknowledgement to the author.

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This article was first published on Bbrief on
8 February 2023
(see hard copy at the end)

Reality sucks

The only thing for sure is that you are here, that you are alive, that this world is full of wonders.
– Spinoza
Reality is the state of things as they actually exist.
Reality determines the future and explains the present.
Faith, hopes, dreams, good intentions are all mere commentary.
Reality is the truth, the red pill, harsh and uncaring.
The truth is based on unequivocal evidence. Evidence is based on thorough investigation.
Reality is persistent, consistent, repeatable, predictable, and provisional.
Quantum physics presents an alternate view of reality, but is limited to the subatomic realm.
To identify what is real you must use reason, logic, insight, and a healthy dose of scepticism. The scientific method provides a useful guide.



  • You, your past, your experiences, your free will;
  • your parents, your ancestors;
  • your hard assets, gold, land, resources;
  • your age, gender, height, weight, location;
  • death, disease, disaster;
  • government, rules, taxes;
  • the world, other people, other places, other things, the universe;
  • your uniqueness, individuality, and occasional stupidity;
  • consciousness;
  • emotions;
  • mathematics;
  • spontaneous order.


  • Your future;
  • your children;
  • your hopes, dreams, earnings, achievements, stories;
  • love and conflict;
  • catastrophe;
  • fame;
  • wisdom.

Fictions, faith and fantasies

  • Your nationality, race, skin colour;
  • your level of intelligence;
  • your relationships;
  • religions;
  • ideologies (capitalism, communism, socialism);
  • nonsense theories (man-made global warming, overpopulation);
  • morality;
  • democracy;
  • experts and opinions;
  • imagination, perceptions;
  • history;
  • promises, contracts;
  • your bank balance and possessions;
  • language;
  • anything dependent on others;
  • hearsay;
  • things that are too good to be true.

Why is this important?

Because your survival depends on it. In the past, only our ancestors who understood the very real difference between a lion and a buck survived and bred. But reacting to every rustle in the grass as though it was a lion was not a good survival strategy either. You had to know what was real and not real.
Nowadays our existence is based almost entirely on what science has revealed. Our food, health, energy, communication, transport – all based on reality, not wishful thinking.
And yet, outside of science, we live in a demon-haunted world, as Carl Sagan famously said.
The world is dominated by regimes that reject reality. China’s government still espouses the frequently failed Marxist ideology, as does our South African regime. Islamic fundamentalist countries persist with unworkable religious ideologies. Much of Europe cannot reconcile their socialist tendencies with the reality of budget deficits. And many Western countries are flirting with truly insane “woke” policies and ideologies that reject reality.

How do we change our South African reality?

Like an alcoholic we must first accept our reality before we can hope to change it.


Some South African realities

  1. We are bound to a failed and unworkable ideology.
  2. Our finances and institutions are at the point of collapse.
  3. Most of our polity is corrupt.
  4. Half our population is uneducated, underfed, unemployed, untaxed.
  5. Crime is rampant and unpunished.
  6. We live in a pretty country. 

The grim reality is that these items are probably unfixable in the short term. Ideologies only change when their supporters die, of old age or in a revolution.
Unfortunately, our South African reality sucks.

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