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"Your 'reality', sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say I have no grasp of it whatsoever!"
Baron Münchhausen, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
"I reject your reality and substitute my own."
Paul, The Dungeonmaster (popularly attributed to Adam Savage, Myth Busters)

Some people just don't get it.

The character who lives up to this trope this is a relative of the Cloudcuckoolander but with much more sinister overtones. They seem to live in a world of their own, they may live by the mantra of Screw The Rules when the "rules" are actually hard facts. They will stubbornly insist "their" reality is the true reality in the face of evidence to the contrary, much to the frustration of others and sometimes danger to companions, underlings, peers or themselves. If anything actually manages to pierce their iron-bound conviction, a breakdown, villainous or otherwise, is likely to ensue.

On a broader scale, any person can have moments or periods like these or full on blind spots when it comes to some hot-button issue, a la Selective Obliviousness. It might be a running gag Played for Laughs, or the disabusing of their delusion may be a dramatic plot point.

The poster child for many other tropes: Belief Makes You Stupid, the Inspector Javert, the Knight Templar, the Lawful Stupid. Not to be confused with the The Spark of Genius or the Reality Warper (who literally can reject and replace reality) although it is possible to combine this trope with either of the others; A God Am I is usually the result.

A Sister Trope to Implausible Deniability.

Compare Gravity Is Only a Theory, Windmill Political.

Note: You almost certainly know people of this trope in Real Life. Most of them likely involve religion and politics. Let's not go there.

Examples of I Reject Your Reality include:


Anime & Manga

 Luffy: I Refuse!

Sanji: What do you mean you refuse?

Luffy: I refuse your refusal!

  • Pokémon 3 focuses on a delusional little girl whose connection with a bunch of reality-bending psychic types allows her to... bend reality. But even when confronted with things she can't change, she still insists her version is the correct one. Most likely because she's eight or so.
  • The titular character of Suzumiya Haruhi strays into this at times, such as acknowledging the speed of light and then arbitrarily ignoring it, and as a Reality Warper she can make her beliefs true! Fortunately for the sake of the universe, this is usually held in check by her inner skeptic. On the few occasions when she lets her imagination run wild, the consequences are not pretty.
  • To Aru Majutsu no Index has Esper powers involving something called a 'Personal Reality' which suggests that something along the lines of this trope is in play.
    • Esper powers are essentially low grade reality warping powers. Part of the training involved in increasing the level of an Esper's power is by teaching and strengthening their personal reality and making the triggers for them to unleash it easier.
  • Seto Kaiba, from Yu-Gi-Oh! vehemently denies the existence of any sort of magic throughout the English dub, despite evidence to the contrary.

Comic Books

  • Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes can be quoted thus: "It's not denial. I'm just selective about the reality I accept."
    • To be fair to him, we are seeing life through the eyes of an extremely imaginative and rebellious six year old boy.
  • Doctor Thirteen in the DCU has this as his superpower. He's a crazy skeptic who doesn't believe in the supernatural despite living in a world where wizards and aliens are public celebrities. Because of his innate, unknown powers, the supernatural literally doesn't exist for him (but does for his beleaguered wife and his witch daughter).
    • This is taken to the extreme in the Vertigo Visions one-shot, where Doctor Thirteen is so stubbornly refusing to believe in anything that might be supernatural or out of the ordinary he considers himself to be the sanest man in the world. He thinks his wife is needlessly exaggerating their problems even though he uses her money to fund his research without getting paid while constantly insulting her, and labels everything unusual he sees as a hoax or a scam.
  • Brief squib in a Jack Chick pamphlet, where one pagan character declares, "Well, I'm a Buddhist, so you don't exist!"

Fan Fiction

  • In Oh God, Not Again, Sirius chooses to pretend he was in Majorca instead of Azkaban for over a decade. Everyone pretty much goes with it. Legally speaking, since he was acquitted of all those murders, the reality he rejects "didn't happen".
  • In the fanfic If Bella Were Sane, Edward doesn't seem to listen when Bella (who is a Deadpan Snarker in this fic) says she doesn't love him, and no matter how many times she tries to tell him she doesn't, he continues to believe she does.

Film

  • John Doe, the serial killer in Se7en. He imposes his own private view of the world by first inflicting gruesome punishments on "sinners", and finally forcing Mills to kill him, his own punishment for himself for the "sin" of envy.
  • Harald the Christian in Erik the Viking denies the reality of Viking gods, and therefore can't be harmed by them during the film's climax.
  • Baron Münchhausen sometimes was used as an embodiment of this trope in a comedy variant.

Literature

  • Lady Schrapnell of To Say Nothing of the Dog, has as one of her mantras that "rules are meant to be broken". This includes the laws of time travel and physics. Time lag? No such thing, you're trying to shirk work with a lame excuse. Bring artifacts back from the past? Well, they find a loophole in the end but who cares if it can't be done? Too dangerous to send the black grad student back to do the work? Nonsense, it's only an air raid, how bad can it be?
  • Cornelius Fudge in Harry Potter is in utter denial about the return of Voldemort - by Order Of the Phoenix, the Ministry of Magic is outright denying the comeback until the battle in the Ministry itself forces the issue. On the other hand, Voldemort is specifically lying low to accommodate this, so...
    • This is taken Up to Eleven in A Very Potter Musical, with Fudge denying Voldemort's return not only after seeing Voldemort's latest Flootube post, but even while Voldemort's standing right in front of him. Killing him. "A heart attack! It's got to be!"
  • A group of Dwarves in The Last Battle decided that Aslan wasn't real so they couldn't see that they were in Aslan's Country, thinking they were in a small dark shack. When they were given wonderful food they ate it but thought it tasted like shit, because they expected food passed around in a dingy stable to taste like shit. In The Magician's Nephew, there is a similar scene where the titular magician sees Aslan as just a lion that goes around growling at people.
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four is this on a society-wide scale.
  • Atlas Shrugged: Among the book's themes is that the governments and the failed businesses are denying reality (in the form of what amounts to Objectivism: reality is objective, morality is not subjective, and all the capatilist and "man qua man" philosophy attached to it) and should be left to suffer the consequences. Let's not get into the debate about its merits here, as if there are dissenters who might theoretically just list the book here as a Take That gesture.
  • Discworld's Lord Rust owns this trope, with his mind refusing to accept various conversations, but on one ocassion an entire person.

Live Action TV

  • Andrew from Buffy the Vampire Slayer was very prone to twist facts, particularly concerning his time as a supervillain, in order to make a more interesting story, and on some level seemed to believe his outrageous claims, even when they contradicted the outrageous claims he made two minutes earlier.
  • While the page quote from Myth Busters is a scene that Adam will never live down since Memetic Mutation got hold of it, and is a valid example of the "momentary lapse" version, much of the time the show is devoted to debunking people of this mindset - free energy, moon landing hoax and so on. Adam may also have been quoting the old 80s movie The Dungeonmaster.

Machinima

  • Sarge of Red vs. Blue: Nothing will convince him that he isn't a brilliant mechanic, that the Blue Team is not their diabolical and dastardly enemy, that Grif could ever make Sergeant (to the point where when they reunite and "Sergeant Grif" is introduced, he asks where the invisible Sergeant is). Somehow, he still manages to be a more competent leader than the other Reds, though, and something of a Genius Ditz when it comes to warfare, which is becoming more clear than ever in the opening episodes of Revelation.
    • To a lesser extent, Caboose also fits this, combining it heavily with Cloudcuckoolander: when Church has to go on a Journey To The Center Of His Mind, we see just what sort of "reality" Caboose sees: Church (who can't stand Caboose in reality) is his overprotective best friend, Tucker is even more of an idiot than usual, Caboose himself is smart and erudite, Sarge has a pirate accent, Grif wears yellow and Donut (pink armor!) is a girl.
      • And Sister is Church's yellow-wearing identical twin. And by "identical" I mean identical in all aspects besides armor (up to and including personality), to the real Church (as opposed to Caboose's mental Church).

Music

  • Doctor Steel is crazy. And a big believer in visualization and subjective reality. He calls himself a "Doctor of Reality Engineering."
  • Imaginary by Evanescence.

 "Don't say I'm out of touch, with this rampant chaos, your reality.

I know well what lies beyond my sleeping refuge:

The nightmare I built my own world to escape...."

Tabletop Games

  • Genius: The Transgression has the Unmada, Mad Scientists who believe they alone understand the truth. Unmada are low level Reality Warpers who unknowingly prove themselves right and censor contradictory facts. Then there are the Baramins of Lemuria, whole organisations of Unmada sharing similar delusions based around a key point where mankind went off in the wrong direction, and they're going to fix it. Any way they can...
    • The most triumphant example would have to be the Phenomenologists: The Baramin for people who believe mankind made a fundamental mistake when it acknowledged the existence of hard facts or any philosophy more consistent than personal whim. They casually reinvent their entire world view to justify whatever they're doing and it is almost impossible to realise when one is lying simply because from their point of view they're always telling the truth.
  • Mage: The Ascension featured Marauders, mages who had something strange happen during their Awakening that drove them mad. As a direct result of that, they're more powerful than other mages, as Paradox slides off of them and onto others, meaning they can get away with the most blatant of magic without reality grabbing them by the short hairs. However, they're also locked in their own delusions, and if they get powerful enough, reality rejects them.
    • Some of them also literally had the ability to "substitute their own": they would (in a manner totally unconnected to their actual power level as a mage) unconsciously warp the reality around them to conform to their delusion. So a Marauder who believed himself to be a Nature Hero would walk down the street transforming buildings into gigantic old growth trees, cars into elephants or lions, and people into natives...and then they would all change back as soon as he left the area.
    • To a lesser extent, this is how all Awakened magick works: the mage identifies a fact he doesn't like and imposes his will to alter that fact. Of course, if the fact in question is obvious enough, reality tends to impose back, often painfully.
  • The Magic: The Gathering card Deny Reality. 'nuff said.

Video Games

  • The Soldier of Team Fortress 2: in his Excuse Plot backstory it's mentioned that he was rejected from the U.S. military but went to fight World War II anyway...by himself. He kept on fighting until he heard that was the war was over... in 1949. And you can bet he was killing more than soldiers.
  • In the video game series Xenosaga, this is revealed to be How the Gnosis alien race thinks, and in fact, what makes them literally exist: The rejection of reality as it is.

Web Comics

  • An inversion of the trope: A Loonatics Tale Issue #4: "Talking To Myself," is about Dr. Qubert giving the main characters a mental health interview; Dr. Qubert's own personal philosophy on the treatment of mental disorders is that if he can see reality the way his patient does, he can understand what makes him see it that way and the best way to fix it. So in a very real sense he works by temporarily rejecting his own reality, so that he can see how his patient needs to change their reality to bring it in line with what's medically considered normal.
  • Order of the Stick's Knight Templar, Miko Miyazaki. Once she gets it into her head that someone is evil, nothing on heaven and earth will change her mind, not even if the gods themselves were to smite her. Literally - she loses her alignment and paladin-hood when she kills her mentor, Lord Shojo, thinking he's a traitor. She dies thinking she did the right thing.
  • Eight Bit Theater. If a character is around long enough they will do this at some point. Highlights include Fighter's belief that he's best friends with Black Mage, and everything involving King Steve or Red Mage. Of course, oftentimes the "crazy" person's version of reality will be right, usually because it's funnier that way.

Western Animation

  • One episode of South Park has Jimmy and Cartman (mostly Jimmy) come up with a ridiculously popular joke. Over the course of the episode, we keep seeing Cartman's flashbacks of how they came up with it, each more glorifying Cartman than the last. In the end, Cartman has himself so convinced he SOLELY came up with the joke, that he won't admit otherwise, even when threatened with death, and has himself convinced that Jimmy is the delusional one for remembering accurately.
  • In All Grown Up, Dil is a Cloudcuckoolander who believes the world is triangular, among other ridiculous things, and won't be persuaded otherwise.
  • This seems to be Peep's attitude toward Heloise on Jimmy Two-Shoes. No matter how angrily or violently she rejects his advances, Peep is convinced she just teasing, and that Heloise will love him too. Not helping is the fact that Heloise did date him, but only to make Jimmy jealous.
  • Invader Zim is convinced that he's the greatest Irken Invader ever; completely oblivious to the fact that he's an incompetent, insane dolt who's hated by his entire species.
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