Perceptions are such an odd thing, because research from Psychology and Neuroscience tells us that we assume many of our moments through our past interactions. I like to call it match making, we are assumptions on our experience through our past experiences. We have to be, to survive and communicate with others, so we have languages in common and names for stuff, like colours and objects, so we can understand each others worlds a little bit better.
I say a little, because even though we have this awesome complex language, we still manage to mishear, misinterpret and misunderstand others and accuse them of doing the same to us.
So, this match making, what on earth am I talking about? For example I once saw a medicine bottle with my last name on it, I had just got a cute little kitten and she needed something that I cannot remember now, but I walked past the windowsill and read my name on a bottle, I quickly looked again thinking, I am not on any medication, when I re-read the bottle, it said Sky and my last name, not Lisa and my last name. Because I was not used to having anyone else in my home with medicine bottles, especially with my last name on them, my brain just filled in little assumptive gaps, and made me physically read something which was not even there.
One day in my office a chimney had been hit by lightning the night before and was unstable, and it fell down the next day, whilst I was in there and frightened the living daylights out of me. Now if I hear a rumble in my office my mind immediately goes to that incident. So from reading labels to stirring up emotions our brains are matching new experiences with old ones at all times.
Now add this…when you were first born and went around your world taking in all of the information around you, your loving guardian would have been labelling all of this stuff for you. The first time you registered a green as a green, it then became a base for all greens, and so on, with every colour, shape, object and even emotion.
If we sat in a room together and attempted to describe it all, shade by shade, with as much detail as we could, and then gave an artist or graphics artist these details, nothing would look the same, it would not look the same in your mind, in your friends mind, anyone’s mind, and certainly not in their artists mind who is attempting to interpret what the minds saw.
Then when we complicate this idea further with how we like to like, what we like, (or what we do not like) often. When we walk into a room, our mind will pay attention to what we tell it to pay attention to, as in, what we pay attention to we get more of. So not only are we limited by the distortion of ‘how’ we see things, we are also burdened with our preferences, our preferences are geared by our thoughts. So what we spend our time thinking about, will be more ‘visible’ to us, I say ‘visible’ because it may be something we sense and are aware of, something we can see, without seeing, as well as physically seeing.
Okay, so perceptually, we do not physically see things the same, and then we interpret them differently by paying attention to familiarity (good or bad), and this makes us not only misinterpret things, but literally delete things around us. You may be in a room with three lamps, and edit them out of your intake of information because they hold no importance to what your conscious reality decided to show you, because it bases the information it shows you on what you ‘normally see’, or you normally would pay attention to.
You still with me?
Then to top off this misunderstood little pud. We generalise, we make mass sweeping statements of non reality which become base beliefs that stop us from seeing the real, reality of a situation.
‘Everyone thinks I am…’ If we, in reality took about the streets with a mass research project to get this statistical data that you have made up in your head, to give you the ‘evidence’ that you are……whatever you mistakenly think you are. Or someone else is etc etc
Generalisation would be, ‘It always rains on my way to work’…when in reality it only rained twice, only the two times it rained you remembered more, because you got wet, and more sensory information was involved in the memory of the situation. Therefore you deleted the five days it did not rain, and gave a sweeping statement of non reality to your life experience.
Then when you apply this to everyone else you know and meet…
Well, I think we should all stand up, give ourselves a great big pat on the back and be proud that we all communicate as well as we do, considering these implications.
You see, I can never ever see, what you see, ever. This does not trouble me, it makes my heart beat harder for you, because you are the result of a very unique experience, filtered and engineered by the environment and your observations of it, your internal ‘way of being’, your perfect and imperfect perceptions of what we together decide is ‘reality’ when we happen to mix our own individual worlds at the same time, although time itself is considered an illusion, as brain waves deter the ‘feeling’ of space and time, but that could be another article 😉
Enjoy your unique world and appreciate that other people are just as screwed up and beautiful as you in a very different way…