In his Oct. 17, 2004 article "Without a Doubt", New York Times writer Ron Suskind reports on his 2002 meeting with a senior Bush advisor:

The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality."

I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued.

"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.

"And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

The "reality-based community" is made up of scientists, analysts, economists, doctors, nurses, and mechanics. It's made up of butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers. It includes anyone who believes in statistical analysis, the scientific method, and/or the power of trial and error to determine the best course of action.

In short, it's composed of pretty much anyone who sticks his or her head out the window to see if it's actually raining so he or she can decide whether to grab an umbrella or a pair of sunglasses for their trip to the store.

It does not, however, include those who decide one day to become superheros and without further prelude or consideration march to the skyscraper rooftop to fling themselves off it on the presumption that if they act as Superman acts, they will become Supermen and suddenly be able to fly.

Apparently (if the aide's comments are representative of the reality of current thought in the Bush Administration) the President of the United States thinks that those who think and act based on discernable reality are dull plodders. Chumps. Schmucks.

So what's the opposite of the reality-based community?

Not necessarily the faith-based community -- because one can have religious faith and still be grounded in reality. It's possible, for instance, to understand and accept the reality of evolution and still have faith that a deity is the invisible hand guiding life in the universe.

The viewpoint the Bush aide espoused most closely resembles the philosophy of people who practice chaos magic. Aleister Crowley, for instance, would have heartily approved of this "Damn the consensual reality, we'll make our own!" solipsistic outlook on life, the universe, and everything.

It's doubly interesting, indeed, considering that the fundamentalist Christian community that forms the hard core of Bush's support heartily condemns Crowley and like-minded mystics as being immoral.