I said earlier that experience leads to philosophy, not the other way around
This is not an original idea (it comes from Nietzsche)—I'm adding to it the concept that the reason why this is the case is that it's easier to change your philosophy using reality than to change reality based on your philosophy
A lot of times, my philosophy and my experience match—at these times there's no conflict between them so I just sail along. But sometimes, my philosophy and my experience don't match up—so I ask myself this question—
Is reality wrong? Or is my theory wrong?
Let's say my theory is that there are no aliens. Then, on the news one night, I see aliens. Reality and theory don't match—one must change. Which one? I can simply change my theory to include aliens—or I can attempt to change my reality to exclude aliens (which is a lot harder but people do it anyway)
How about a more nuanced example. This time my theory is that everyone who voted for Alice is an idiot. Then one day I find out that my friend Beth (who I know is not an idiot) voted for Alice! I can change my theory to not everyone who voted for Alice is an idiot or Alice must indeed be an idiot or Alice is no longer my friend! I can change my reality to Beth did not vote for Alice—but that's insane!
What about the example of a meditator who grows up in a Buddhist community? This is surely a person whose philosophy (ingrained in them from birth) has contributed more to their reality (of centeredness) than their experience has contributed to their philosophy. Did not focusing on meditative teachings result in this person's meditative reality? Of course a person's philosophy contributes to their experience as well as the other way around. What happens when a meditator raised thus, encounters reality that argues with their theory? Let's say her theory is that everyone can meditate. Then she meets someone who can't! She meets a person who is unable to focus on their breath for even 10 seconds! The person has a condition which resets her memory every few seconds—so she cannot focus on her breath for more than one breath at a time. The meditator can change her theory to be not everyone can meditate like I do or this person is still meditating, she's just doing it with a single breath! She could change her theory to a number of things. But if she tries to change her reality, she will be doing things like this person is not a person! To change reality to match your theory is insane. To change your theory to match a new reality is a snap
So which is more fundamental? Reality or theory? In the case of this meditator, we can see that her reality is more fundamental than her theory. Her theory changes as new reality comes along. How can she possibly change her reality to support her theory? I don't think she can
If she arbitrarily changes her theory to be anti-meditative, he reality will still be meditative. So reality is more fundamental. That's her experience. Someone who grows up as a bartender will have bartending theories. Someone who grows up meditating will have meditative theories. What's more central—what I've seen or what I think about what I've seen?
When I try to make my philosophies more real to me than my experience, I do something backward. That's when my reality is like, I'm afraid for my life and I bought an assault rifle and I voted for someone who makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside and I don't care about people I don't know. I could develop a philosophy that says, The world is a scary place and arming myself for war is appropriate and The other is scary. That might make sense. But the person who makes philosophies more real than experiences does this—Start with philosophies of fear and then attempt to manipulate (their view of) reality to fit—create (choose to believe) realities of My neighbor is my enemy and I need a gun to survive and The government is against me. Those are realities which are hardly supported by reality but which are supported by the person's theories. This is a case where working from philosophy to experience is dangerous. And it's almost always a faulty way to proceed
Yes, there is a nexus between reality and theory. Are my conscious theories constantly creating the universe around me?—maybe. Can a person create a nexus of belief that then creates much of their reality? Yeah. But, even (or especially) in cases like that of the meditator or guru, the amount of pull from reality is certainly more than the pull from that person's theories. Can thoughts create reality? Yes. But it seems to me that reality influences thoughts more than thoughts influence reality—just as laws do not govern people, but rather law is secretary to a ruling chaos—so thoughts play less of a prescriptive role than we think, compared to what we experience