In this matrix of
Life, perceptions are the only
The dictionary meaning of the noun ‘perception’ states that it is “the act or faculty of perceiving, or apprehending by means of the senses or of the mind; cognition; understanding.”
The cognitive understanding of all things around is put together by almost the entire human brain- the Frontal lobe, Parietal lobe, Temporal lobe and Occipital, except for Cerebellum which focuses on motor activities majorly, but cannot be neglected as brain functions are interrelated. It is also the single unified awareness derived from sensory processes while a stimulus is present.
Leaving aside the science behind it, if we just consider what it entails into, we are forced to focus on the sensations that it leaves us with.
What we see, hear, feel, taste and smell all collectively or separately influence this cognitive understanding forming either a picture or a thought that evokes a response in us. This response is processed and stored in the brain for future use.
For example having realised that fire is hot and it can burn your fingers if touched, we will not even attempt to touch it after this cognition and if brought too close to that by force, a fear emerges and we only react. Thus perception is the most integral part of all human activities.
In the social context perceptions are everything as it defines our status as to who we are, what we are and how we behave with others etc. Essentially our perceptions define us as it is reflected in our behaviour.
If at one side perception is seen as ‘sagacity, acuity and smartness which gives hope that a perspicacious person will endeavour to judge the situation wisely and so would aim to be fair in his thoughts and actions considering the difference in view points, it is also noticed to be ‘deceit and guile and conceit’ which will only enhance antipathy in any given situation.
Perception also holds within, a man’s capacity to know, understand and interpret. If it has to be fully functional, all parameters involving all senses need to be exercised and at every situation the faculties must work anew to give an in-depth insight.
But the fact that all senses are involved makes the process sensitive attuning to emotional overtones, hence making it irrational.
Humans are emotional is given, and so the perceptions are bound to be coloured with emotions and get hijacked is imperative.
But similar to cognitive skills developed through methodical training, one’s perceptions can be altered too. A training to see, hear and feel after careful assessment of the entire situation will result in evolved perceptions. It would be rational comparatively and would reduce the emotional override that entails prior to knowing.
General behaviour pattern rides either on emotions or on cognizant indifference. If you are indifferent then you turn a blind eye and do not involve self in anything that does not concern self. However on the other case, if you are emotional, you tend to read unsavory tones in all that happens around you.
The question here is how perceptions affect or alter life. It does, to a greater extent than we begin to believe or accept. In fact it can trigger butterfly effect in every sphere and bring about phenomenal changes.
The fact is that perception is a state where multiple factors play their individual role and increases the probability of the outcomes. Within one mind many factors function resulting in a myriad of perceptions that can be labelled in over million variations. And this figure gets exponential when more than one human is involved. For this matrix of innumerable probabilities to match, would not only be difficult but improbable too. If it happened then it is pure coincidence.
All the trees and plants have green leaves and yet not one single green of a tree matches with the other. They are all shades of green. Similarly every perception is unique as every individual is unique and there could only be a generalised concurrence and not a perfect match ever.
Human perceptions are increasingly falling into an infinite matrix system where what they perceive is affected by multitudes of combinations that the actual eludes them.” As per Plato’s theory of Forms, which holds that the true essence of an object is not what we perceive with our senses, but rather its quality, and that most people perceive only the shadow of the object and are thus limited to false perception. Immanuel Kant, a German philosopher states in his Critique of Pure Reason that people come to know and explore our world through synthetic means (language, etc.), and thus this makes it rather difficult to discern truth from falsely perceived views. This means we ourselves are our own agents of deceit, and so in order for one to know truth, one must choose to openly pursue truth.”
*If both, senses and cognitive developed language, will fail true perception of objects and situations, then how will man ever function in this complex world? For him to achieve true perception is impractical as one person cannot be in the mental framework of the other ever and given that, perceptions will vary vastly. There can only be overlaps and a possible concurrence may emerge and beyond that absolute similarity of perceptions can never be attained.
Even in the field of science where every hypothesis is tried and tested hundred times over, there comes a day when the whole hypothesis is changed (example of earth being the centre of the universe). Knowledge is growing exponentially and so human understanding is expanding in the same manner.
One possible solution is to look at the situation, its priority and weigh its pros and cons to come up with a common perception that benefits most in the society. To reach here, all involved should first concur to objectively look at the given situation at hand and be ready to openly hear other perceptions and come with the most common and most beneficial one. Basically all must agree to disagree. This, however, is time consuming.
*Then how does an individual cope up with the situation when he neither has the time nor has the objective inclination? A big question indeed.
Before answering that let us explore yet another important aspect which is ‘the reality of perception’. *What is it?
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”- Albert Einstein.
“Everything you see or hear or experience in any way at all is specific to you. You create a universe by perceiving it, so everything in the universe you perceive is specific to you.”- Douglas Adams.
So your perceptions are paramount to you and similarly for others. Thus we find people around us who are run by emotions, who decide quickly, who refuse to think from other’s perspective and who cannot change their set minds. No wonder we encounter myriad emotions exhibiting it selves and running riot which are the direct effect of perceptions conceived in their own columns and rows of matrices.
*Then how does the human society function if no one can concur fully with the other?
The answer to this and all the previous ones* is just one. Rules!
The primary aspect that keeps one in place despite his warring perception is the rules of the society and added to that are the tenets of the religion, the discipline induced and enforced and even one’s financial, social compulsions and some self inflicted compulsions.
In addition, we need to consider perceptions changing with time. As generations pass by, cultural outlook and societal norms metamorphose. What was considered taboo or violation of social norms in 18th and 19th century is accepted and embraced in 21st century ( widow remarriage, dowry system, fashion and food to name a few). This exponentially increases the probability of varying perceptions coming into play. Given that, generally most people agree with the other to get going, to avoid friction and to go away from warring emotions that can only drain us emotionally and make living a hell.
Co existence is possible only when we accept the existence of this variation and adapt self to work with or work around the elements that are warring with our perceptions.
Harmony can be achieved if we learn to embrace. As long you are you, your perceptions are yours and they have to remain so. But only way to survive is to look for common ground and work together.
Yet, there is another way to work through these multitudes of perceptions and that is to step out of the ‘perceived self’, analyse the situation from all different angles and to slowly work towards finding the ultimate truth which will emerge as a combination of all perceptions and learn to accept that and go forward.
This will take a cool head, devoid of emotions and an analytical mind. This can come with practice and immense patience. Does that mean human beings stop being sentimental and stop feeling towards anything? No! Emotions are equally important to bring passion into the equation without which there is no life. But one must at the same time know how to analyse with a cool head as well. A balance of both will give a beautiful life.
First decide. Decide what you want to do with your perceptions. Life is a matrix of perceptions, solve it!