By definition, according to my Apple widget, perception means “a mental impression; a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something.”
It’s amazing how much perception comes into play when we as people identify something and interpret it, whether it be a person, place or thing.
Take for example someone who has been on a deserted island for weeks and when finally rescued by a ship, they learn there is nothing on board to eat but pizza. Chances are pizza will become the most delicious thing this shipwrecked person has ever tasted. And I’d bet they’d consume large amounts of it. But then take someone who works at Pizza Hut. Pizza is probably not the most delicious thing they’ve encountered, considering they have to deal with it for eight hours a day, four to five days a week. The difference between these two people is their perception of pizza. Pizza is pizza, no matter how you look at it. But Shipwreck person would likely perceive it differently than Pizza worker would. It’s their perception that matters. One perceives it to be delicious and life saving while the other may see it to be a pain in the ass and life draining.
Recently, I found myself looking at something completely different than I had in the past and I began to wonder why that was. I always thought a certain way about something but then slowly, I found myself seeing it in a different light. The situation hadn’t changed at all but rather I had changed, thus causing my perception of the situation to change. And in this case, it was a form of growth, of a better understanding of myself, and in turn, it led me to have a better grasp on what life means to me.
While we may try desperately to see things as they are, not as we wish they were (and this is incredibly important for a healthy life, I believe, because we can make that which is to become that which we wish it were,) it’s important to realize the world appears to one as how one perceives it to be. This can be risky, especially if one sees it through false lenses, but on the flip side, with a better understanding of oneself and of reality, one forms a better perception of the world.
Galileo Galilei, a philosopher from 1564-1642, once said, “All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.”
Without one’s perception of things, this would not be possible. But with perception comes the chance to discover the truth and what greater thing is there? Falsity is just that – false – and even though it may hide pain for a bit or cover that which one doesn’t want to see, it doesn’t change that which is.
If one perceives driving fast to be acceptable but then after their tenth speeding ticket, no insurance company will accept them without incredibly steep premiums, one’s perception of speeding will likely change. If one kills someone on the road due to their speeding, one’s perception of speeding will likely change as well. The truth that speeding is dangerous and costly has always been there but it wasn’t until one’s perception of it changed than did their understanding of the truth change. And it’s the coming to the truth that’s the difficult part.
But when the truth of something shines its light, if one’s perception identifies it, I think it’s a glorious thing. Seriously. Like the parting of the clouds. Reality. Happiness.