Philosopher Bishop George Berkeley contributed much to mathematics and philosophy, especially in the more existentialist arm of the business. His beliefs can be summed up in the phrase "To be is to be perceived" which takes things a bit further than Descartes. The concept is, essentially, that all we can understand of reality is what we perceive. Perception is impossible to separate from reality. It's the opposite of materialism and it forms the basis of Kant, Hegel, and other modern philosophers. Today, the concept of GM loaning dealers money in advance of the feds created an existentialist conflict of the type Berkeley himself contended with. We just have TyrannosaurusWRX to guide us through this empirical nightmare.
I think the world is confused as to what it is lately.
I'll give you an example. The other day I'm cruising down a street in my neighborhood. Its a really windy road and, of course, the speed limit is 25 mph. I was taking a few liberties with the speed limit, going maybe 35 down a hill. Anyway, I round a corner and I see a lady jogging in the middle of the street. Now, I hate jogging and I hate women so this posed a serious question in my mind of whether to mow the bitch down or not. Thinking quickly, I figured it'd be too much work to wash her off my champagne dragon later, so I slowed quickly to 25 mph and pulled to the far right to give her room to jog on through. Apparently this wasn't good enough. As I get close to her and begin to go by her, she screams "YOU'RE NOT ON THE HIGHWAY!!!!!" Now, I'm confused not only because I was fairly certain I was not, in fact, on a highway, but also perplexed as to why a person was in the road. So I coolly drive by, give her a nice wave and say "You're not a fucking car". I guess we just didn't know what each of us were that day. Maybe I was on a highway, maybe she was a car. Maybe GM is part of the US Government, maybe it's not.
It all comes down to what you perceive it to be.
Photo Credit: NYU.edu