Alexei Panshin's The Abyss of Wonder

Deeper Than a Well

  Once upon a time, I served as a private in the army, stationed in a distant country.  The soldiers had a way of speaking about the difference between where they were and where they would rather be:

  "Back in the real world," they would say.

  On the other hand, I once heard Robert Heinlein address an audience in New York City.  And the most provocative thing he said was:  "I know the difference between this" -- rapping twice on the wooden lectern in front of him, bap, bap -- "and reality."

  Apparently, reality is where you find it.   And it may not be what you've always thought it was.

  They say Mulla Nasrudin -- the spiritual ancestor of the Old Space Ranger -- was seen one day riding his donkey seated back to front.  "Why are you facing the wrong way?" someone asked.  He answered, "How do you know it's me that's wrong, and not the donkey?"

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