Cogito Ergo Sum, the famous observation of Descartes is today in modern circles thought nonsense. Centers of consciousness and awareness are increasingly found to be fuzzy. And even beyond that modern Physics has fuzzy notions of reality as well. What is real is not particles, waves, or quanta/wavicles but wave functions, complex probability amplitudes whose collapse is some
magical, ahem, not-well-understood “measurement” process. So that which I perceive as “I” may be in fact something quite different. As Descartes considered, everything I perceive about my exterior world might be fiction and not trusted. But, consider for a moment that those modern researchers on mind and conscsiousness are right. That consciousness which I perceive as “I” is a fiction. That is, that the reality of that which I perceive is not to be trusted and even the focus point of consciousness that I think of as “I” is a likely fiction.
Yet what remains, as the ancient Greeks considered more solid, is the thought about which I, err, thunk. For example, that which William Hamilton famously carved with a non-real knife on a non-real Brougham Bridge, namely
i2 = j = k2 = ijk = -1
That! That is real. Those ideas, those notions can be transmitted, transmuted, and touched (by mind). The quaternionic algebra is a “thing.” It is real and unlike consciousness, electrons, or my perceptions is by its ontological nature … not subject to the same sorts of questions as one puts to notions of self or the world of my perceptions.
The Christian faith is based on ideas, ideas like Trinity (the relational nature of God), Sacraments, and Theosis. These ideas are in some sense, likely, more real than we are (and as well as real as the quaternion algebra above) and as Jesus demonstrated on the third day … those ideas are real in the sense that my lunch is as well.