On Perception

It’s becoming harder and harder to hold a strong opinion about something, or feel a certain way. Because it’s all about perspective. You could be very right about your perception, but how can you be sure that the perception of others’ isn’t the right one? Or maybe there’s something there too?

A lot of recent events have made me realize that no matter what you see, what you feel, what you think is real (feeling like I’m rapping right now), can be understood differently by someone else.

Interestingly enough, your perception is your reality. However, your reality can be very different from those of others. We sometimes see things with tunnelled vision, especially when we’re dead centre of a heated argument or a disagreement between one or more parties. We struggle to show our perspective and attempt to mould our audience to our own perspective, since we genuinely believe that our point of view is the right one.

Society plays a huge role in drawing “right” and “wrong” perspectives. We depict our standpoints from societal norms, customs and values. This is why traveling the world can truly be an eye opener because you are forced to see and think outside your normal frame of mind. People will behave differently, react differently, express differently and above all treat you differently than your place of upbringing. Not only that, you will notice that people exhibit different traits and these are a direct result of their own upbringing.

This is one of the many reasons why it is so crucial to keep an open-mind when speaking to people of different cultural backgrounds. It is important to not jump to conclusions and to give the other person the benefit of the doubt. There may be certain aspects of their frame of mind that are influenced by past experiences and upbringing, and you cannot be certain about the objectivity of each individual you interact with.

What steps do you take to keep an open mind, and how do you allow or disallow the perceptions of others to influence or perhaps open up your mind?

 

6 Replies to “On Perception”

  1. I like to use my interactions and experiences with people to gain insight on their up bringing and what circumstances might have influenced their decisions in life. I was working with a patient, 21 year old female, that was a born with blood condition that occasionally causes severe pain everywhere and there's no cure. Management is simply giving her fluids and pain medications. She's been from hospital to hospital for pain medication and none of the doctors believe she's in any real pain. And from observing her behavior it was pretty obvious she was faking her pain to gain access to narcotics that were only available in the hospital and maybe escape the responsibilities of having two children. Anyways I found myself angry at this patient. All I could see was this immature girl who was consistently rude to the doctors with sense of responsibility and completely addicted to narcotics. I thought to myself “there's people out there who actually need medications and these resources.” I felt no compassion for this girl and thankfully she wasn't my patient because I definitely wasn't able to keep an open mind. I later spoke to a colleague about this patient and he made me realize that I don't have the slightest clue about this girl's past or background and what it must be like to have a condition you didn't ask for where the only treatment is to take medication that is addictive.

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  2. I've come to completely look at the world in a different way. I never think that my opinion is objectively right. I dont believe there are any objective truths, rights or wrongs. Everything that happens is based off a subjective experience. There is no entity that is beyond our universe that can tell us what is right or wrong. Some people may think so, in the form of a god. But even then we only have his word from thousands of years ago and in my opinion there needs to an evolution of that word to better suit human beings today. Regardless, I keep that in mind and always remember that someone else's opinion is equally as right or wrong as mine. I try very hard to see it that way which allows me to stay empathetic in arguments. You just have to keep mindful 🙂

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  3. Wow that is a very particular experience and your friend is absolutely right about not knowing the background and what the person has been through. That is essentially what shapes us, and how we interact. It is important to remember that we won't know what everyone has gone through, but we can keep an open mind and not jump to conclusions.

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  4. You could also look at “rights” and “wrongs” such as peace and violence and wonder why status quo is that peace is a right and violence is a wrong. Things like that, are they instinctual or are they what is appropriate in the society we belong to. Of course, if we thought vice-versa, (where peace is a wrong and violence is a right) there would be chaos, perhaps in the form of war and mass killings.

    In that case, are not these rights and wrongs objective truths. But a killer might disagree. Right?

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  5. I would say that it's still not an objective truth because then we are basing truth on what keeps order. Ie chaos is wrong but we can't really say that either right? It's just that the reality where we believe that violence is wrong and chaos is undesirable is one that allows our species to survive. So I think it's ultimately a biological choice based off survival.

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