Today I have decided to take a subjective stance on a subject – Perception.
Perceive: Become aware or conscious of (something); come to realize or understand, interpret or regard (someone or something) in a particular way. Perception: a belief or opinion, often held by many people and based on how things seem
“If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern.” ― William Blake,
Let us take 2 people, send them to a restaurant and afterwards ask them to give us a run-down on their experiences. I guarantee you, there will most definitely be a disparity in their experiences. Two, three or four children growing up in 1 home, attending the same school, eating the same foods at the table with the same parents will all have differing experiences, therefore sharing with us different stories. Why is this? Well, it all goes about a little matter of perception. As the quote by William Blake above states, we all see things through narrow chinks of our own cavern – meaning that we experience life, gather information, make conclusions based on our narrow perception of what we think is our reality and our wisdom from our little cave (our world as we see it). Perception is NOT reality. Perception is our truth as WE see it.
I have come to realise that we may meet as colleagues / friends / spouses / family members on certain levels yet be vastly different in our perceptions of the exact same situation. So, living in Gauteng, we have morning and afternoon traffic on our highways. We all sit in our cars for hours – experiencing the same situation. But how do we perceive it? Some of us are irritated, some put their favourite music on and sing along, some are deep in thought, others are on their phones trying to fill the time with mindless gossip or terribly important strategies for the day and some look as though they are totally serene. Each to his own, I say. However I do have my own perception about traffic and subconsciously expect others to be the same.
Interestingly enough, the ego starts to play with our minds here. Because we are convinced that OUR experience / perception is correct (because we have nurtured it with our emotions, backed it up with our summation of our perceived facts and come to our very convincing conclusion) this is a major cause in the sowing of strife. There is no way that someone can convince me that the food is good at a restaurant when my own experience of same was terrible. But, being egotistical, we insist on trying to convince the other person they are wrong. Why is that?
Why would we want to make someone else agree with us? Is it our innate need to feel that we are accepted? Do we have a deep seated thrill in feeling that we know more than the other? Do you want someone to agree with you because you are so self-centred and emotionally immature that the mere thought that someone could have a different opinion shakes your core? What do you typically do when your friend doesn’t necessarily meet you on your terms? How do you view your siblings’ perceptions of what happened ‘that day’ when yours is totally different? Are you the one who makes sure that you speak louder and faster than another when making your point? Do you verbally abuse or break down someone’s argument when they stand in disagreement with you? Are you the one who takes the gossip (your perception mixed with someone else’s, added salt and a little gravy) and spreads it around in the hope that this will make your argument seem better?
Or are you that person who has a slightly more elevated EQ, and can quietly say “let us agree to disagree” or just not answer back? Are you more inclined to let someone have their view without having to shovel yours down their throats?
Take some time and watch how you interact with those you come into contact with and I would love if you would share with me what type of person you are, when you have answered the questions I have asked here above.