Why do we preceive what we do about ourselves, others or the world around us? Do internal mental or emtional states influence what we preceive? What does it mean to preceive? does preconception affect preception?
Here’s is a little experiement you can do yourself. Find or purchase a small note pad/ stenopad, you know like the kind people use to make lists. Label three pages in a row day one, the first of these three also labeled morning. When you wake up for the day, sit on the edge of your bed for just a few minutes and let your thoughts clear and then, before you begin your morning write a short sentence, or if you prefer a string of adjectives about how you feel, emotionally or physically, and put a line under them. You don’t need a great deal of detail to start but be honest. After you done you bathing or whatever you do, avoiding the mirror as much as possible, before you leave for work or begin whatever project you maybe undertaking look in the mirror with intent and write down, under the line on page one the first word, words or sentence that comes to your mind. Turn the page, at the top of page number 2 for day 1 write midday. In the middle of your day, at lunch or when that time comes depending on your routine answer the following questions with a yes, no or ?. They are, Do I feel attractive? Do I feel competant? Do I feel confident? Do I feel appreciated? and finally do I feel anxious? This should only take a few minutes and when your done turn to page three. This page, with day one labeled at the top is marked evening. Before, or when, you get home for the evening, before interacting with your family or roommates give yourself a few minutes to clear the thoughts of the day from your mind and when they clear ask yourself, quietly, focused inwardly, how you feel. Write a short chain of adjectives or a brief sentence and put a line beneath it. In the evening before you go to bed for the night take a last look in the mirror, and record the first words that come to your mind. Repeat this process for a week minumum, two weeks is ideal. Once the pages are written don’t look back over them, leave them exit your thoughts, refrain from looking in the mirror more often than instructed, and finally don’t fret over the experiement. Just be honest and be yourself.
When you have finished collecting the data then, when you have an hour or two, go over the information and ask yourself the following questions: Has the level of my internal awareness changed, Have I become more aware of my moods and feelings and thoughts? More importantly, does these internal moods affect my preceptions of myself in the mirror, in other words do my moods change the way I look? How considerable do you suppose this change is?
I remember one night sometime ago while listening to my favorite radio program, Coast to Coast, when the guest, who’s particular name is unimportant, and the host, again whose identity is unimportant, had reached an impasse in their conversation. The host and the guest had different points of view on the subject and the hosts efforts to make his point were being hung up for one simple reason. The two kept using the same word or phrases to describe their slightly opposed views and didn’t seen to be able to communicate. In other words it sounded as though they were making the same statements, saying the same words, but because of variances in meaning, the effort to express the differing view resulted in a fustrating experience for the host. I could feel his frustration through the radio. It wasn’t angry or nasty between the two but vexing. The words in question were preceive, preceiving and preception. The statement that started the dialog was, and I’m paraphrasing as I am unsure of the exact words, “If I preceive a threat, to myself or my family, then I will use any tool at my disposal to eliminate said threat.” This was expounded apon tp include neighborhood, nation and such and I have heard it stated in one form or another since I was in my middle teens.
What does it mean to preceive a threat? Often examples like this are used, “If you saw somebody about to shoot you then you would try to shoot them first? wouldn’t you? or if you saw a missle about to be launched and you could knock it over while it was still on the ground you would, its the only thing that makes sense.” (Refrence the documentary, “Why We Fight.”) This statement seemes obvious and direct but it logically presupposes intent. This presupposition tends to automatically, more times than not, draw aggrement even though most of us, myself included don’t natural study said presupposition. The argument presupposes both intent and some godlike omniscience on the part of the preceiver to know something that is otherwise unknowable. I simpler language its dependent on two great big assumptions. Question, have you ever been in a public place when a person whom looks familar in someway to you waves in your direction and when you wave back it becomes apparent they weren’t waving at you at all but someone else in your vicinity? Remember the embaressment or feeling foolishness. They looked somehow familar, where motioning in your direction and you assumed to were the object of said motions. Has anyone yelled your name in what appeared to be your direction and as it were someone else near you just happened to have the same name? Did you feel silly reacting to someone in a familar way or responding to your name when no one was talking to you in the first place? If it this easy to draw a incorrect conclusion based on a simple assumption should we just start popping of rounds at some idiot who is only guilty of brandishing a firearm. If you think that’s O’kay, then you can alway move to my home town, people around here fire off their guns for any old reason.
The reality is nothing more than a simple case of basic logic. A statement is either true or it is not true. Think about this:
Is it always true that possession of a weapon, be it a nuclear missle, conventional bomb, fighter plane, tank, battleship or even a hand gun implies or infers in anyway a person’s intent to use said weapon?
Is it not always true that possession of stated weapon or weapons imply or infer a person’s intent to use said weapon?
People always get pissed at me when I ask such questions, stateing its not that simple or some other phrase that is generally specific and equally vague. The fact is that it either is always true or its not always true, there is no moral presupposition or any other preconception involved, it is just the place were the conversation starts. The United States has the largest aresnal in the world. Our government borrows money to add to this stockpile. If the first case is true, that intent is always implied and inferred then what does that tell you? Remember that when someone starts ranting about the threat from Iran, Pakistan or China. But wait, before you start to fume, What if the second case is true, that ownership of a weapon(s) does not imply or infer intent to use? Then why borrow money to build weapons? If they are not ever definitely going to be used then how will our government ever pay off all that debt? The more I think on it the crazier the whole thing seems and it simply make less and less sense.
One last question, I do blather on, is feeling threatened the same thing as being thgreatened? Both feeling and being are based on the act of preceiving. As I have said, I am a paranoid schizophrenic so I understand the feeling of threat, especailly since I have heard it said, through the mass radio media of the 90s that people like me should be buried up to our necks and have our heads run over by bulldozers. It was a long time ago and I felt very threatened even though I understood the source of the rage. It involved a school shooting by an ex-employee who had a “history of mental health issues.” I had not shot anyone yet somehow, by simple association, I had become a thing that should be elimuinated. Just throw open the furnace doors and march me in. I realize with thought that the talker on the radio may have been using an extreme position to raise awareness of serious issues in the mental health care system. It was Meta who helped me grasp that, but what if I took the earlier position, “If I preceive any threat to myself or my family I will use any tool at my disposal to eliminate (Terminate) it.” If any government or group has the moral imperative to act in self defensein such a way then so do I, don’t I? In short, no, not I or any one else is in the moral right to, simply by acting in a violent fashion first, premptivelt elimante a preceived threat. People feel threatened all the time, some act others, do not. For some people here in my home town living on the far right, the election of a black president was intensly threatening. Young African Americans walking our city streets with pride at finally being fully equal members of our society was seen by these individuals as strutting with lawlessness on their minds, after all. now they can get away with anything.
Always start your thought with a simple statement and a question. Is your statement always true or not always true. People feel threatened all the time, they say threatening things to each other on a daily basis. If just feeling scared, or hearing or saying threatening sounding things is all it takes to give people the god given moral impertative to start killing each other, well, then, I guess the game called planet earth is just about over.