My Oxford Dictionary of Current English defines reality thus:
• n. (pl. realities) 1 the state of things as they really exist: he refuses to face reality. 2 a thing that is real. 3 the state of being real • adj. referring to television programmes based on real people or situations, intended to be entertaining rather than informative: reality TV.
But I still don’t know what reality is.
‘The Real’, my semiotics and psychoanalysis class taught me, is not what we experience. We experience a representation of reality (even our memory and brain is a representing device). The only possible exceptions are those experiences that are so experiential, they only exist in the experience (extreme pain, sex, death).
My reality of life on the ranch, therefore, is not a reality of the ranch. The ranch does not generate my experience of it. I generate my experience through interactions with components of it. The totality of the ranch is not conceivable.
Deep End has served its respective landlords with a fantasy space, ready to be overwritten. Traces of previous fantasies are still perceivable around the edges, but really, with each new lord of the manner a re-boot process has occurred. Perhaps the ranch’s seductive quality is its blank canvas-ness.
The ranch can never be experienced in its own terms; it is always performing a function for the landlord. There is no real ranch, no pure ranch-ness we can access. Perhaps it should become the subject of a reality TV show? Then we could access the ranch.