The Importance of Perception

I think most of us understand the value of perception, the act of perceiving.  This is much more than just the application of the physical senses, it also involves a long chain of rulings or judgments about the WHAT that is being seen, heard and so on.  So perception involves both physical senses and mental activity, including memory.  It is during this process that value is assigned to the thing, place or person that is being observed.

Familiarity is key here, for instance we assign value differently to things places and people that we know, followed by people that seem in some gross way to belong to our group, whatever that may be followed by groups, things, places and people we have some contact with even though the individual at time we are currently observing may not be known they may resemble a thing place or person that is known.  Those judgements of places things and people that we are the most intently skewed are the judgements or rulings made internally, in our minds about places, people and things for which we have no experience.  This is not to say that these judgements are necessarily skewed negatively as they could be skewed positively as well, neither extreme matters, what is important is that the perception is off because we are making assumptions about an object or person we know nothing about.

This is the curse of being human, the less we know the more we assume, but we are often incapable of differentiating between what we know and what we assume.  This also applies to world view.

There is world view, the view of ourselves in the world, the type of people we are in the world of nations, what are role is, and what the world is really like.  I grew up back in the 70s after the Vietnam War when the debated would on occasion rage about that war and they inevitably became debates about tactics and commitment of forces.  That was my experience.

We then, and I think now,  see ourselves as a force for good in the world, bringing freedom and democracy and wealth to all.  I am not being sarcastic here, there are many people who feel this way.  The last election illustrated it nicely.  “We should fix our own house first”  many said.  “We should stop paying for the world.”  There is plenty of footage on the web to sift through.  We see ourselves in the mirror of our minds eye.  There reflected back at us is a great and noble being only trying to do right, sure we made mistakes, misjudgments but we are making the effort to make it right.

This was most evident to me during the last campaign, especially in the area of foreign policy but also around the edges of domestic policy.  It was a debate over word choice.  Islamic Terrorist was one or those phrases.  Trump made the greatest blow to that image in the looking glass by simply stating policy when it came to the world.  He didn’t speak in glowing terms about our role in the world and then carry out acts of violence after the fact as had been the case in the years past.  The now President Trump stated ideas that were already being kicked around in the policy arena.  The border wall is not a new idea at the federal level, neither is bombing terrorists families or forcing allied states and protectorates to pay for U.S. protection.  Some of these concepts go backs to the 80s.

Our mirror is cracking and we can catch a glimpse of the beast through it.  Don’t close your eyes.

We as a people and possibly the world are entering a strange time.  We have yet to discard the factory model of living and move on to the next incarnation of our civilization.  It could be that this transition will not happen at all or that we will destroy ourselves before we can make the leap.  We can study history, but we should be careful not to live in it.  It can help us, serve as a guide, lend clues to understand the world as it is but it can also be a trap.  We can not count on governments or corporations to be our guide in our daily activities and in our daily interactions.  When it comes to how we see the world we can only count on ourselves.

What is done is done.  It can not be undone.  All that is left is to figure out what to do.

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