“Five Features of Reality” essay

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In their 1975 article, “Five Features of Reality,” Houston Wood and Hugh Mehan provided five important ways that we can use to fully understand realities in a society. This paper will elaborate the five features and provide examples for a comprehensive understanding.


Reality cannot be rivaled and does not appreciate any corrections. People with this trait are resolute and will not take responsibility of their actions and what they believe in and they believe that whatever happened was not their fault but somebody else’s. They believe that a wrong happening is as a result of a mere exception and should not be regarded strictly A good example is that of Herman Cain supporters who despite being told of his infidelity claimed to have known him as a morally upright man who would not be involved in such actions. Surprisingly, even his wife defended his moral behavior. They claimed that the stories had been created by his political foes thus guarding the reality that they dearly believe to be true and unchallenged.


Reality brings together different versions and situations, matches them up together to make sense and make an articulate story. Herman Cain’s story always had coherent inclusion of a lady at the National Restaurant Association (NRA) where he was CEO. He also remarked that the woman that he allegedly sexually abused was his wife’s height. The woman then came out to give another coherent but contradictory accusation that Cain had sexually harassed her.


Reality involves some interactions with those creating it. The individuals behind it may at times conflict as a result of their different points of view but they largely cooperate in making the reality. In Cain’s case, Cain and the woman were the reality creators and they did not have a similar point view at first. Later, the woman brought out the reality in a different way from what she and Cain had perceived it during their time of interaction.


Reality is easily tainted especially when there is some shift in points of view. When Cain and the woman shifted and differed in their points of view to develop different feelings, it was evident that the similar reality that they had known was gone. The woman shifted her point of view and this resulted into Cain feeling dejected and deceived. The reality they had shared had been breached and there had been new perceptions. This shows that reality can be easily changed to carry a totally different meaning altogether. They had met and at that time, the woman had approved Cain’s remark but had changed her way of thinking presently giving a new version of the reality. Though the same details surrounded the situation at the hotel, there was a new different understanding.


Different and competing realities that one uphold in their mind can lead to change in the whole perception of a truth despite their earlier coexistence in oneself. After the incident at NRA, the woman found nothing wrong with everything that happened between her and Cain but changed her stand after sometime. Though she had kept the two realities for sometime, there came a time that the two realities conflicted and she completely changed her stand over Cain. At NRM, she was afraid of her job security if she revealed what had happened. This reality was changed and she cared no more about Cain’s reaction due to the change in circumstances and time.


The five features in Cain’s case could be used in everyday life and could apply to different people in different situations. Wood and Mehan have provided a good explanation of what features of realities are important and meaningful.

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