Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Pet peeve

Heard something the other day that just riles me to no end.  We were discussing perception in one of my classes (marketing or management) and someone offered up:  “It’s extremely important because perception IS reality”

 

(deep breath…  calm down…  easy…  easy…  ok)

 

Alright, look here.  That’s just about the stupidest thing ever.  Perception is no more reality than paper is lead.  Don’t believe me?  I can prove it.

 

Stand with your back facing the wall, close your eyes, take a few steps forward until you can no longer feel the wall, keep your eyes closed, turn 180 degrees around, and walk forward.

 

With your eyes closed (and lights off, if you want to be adventurous) you cannot perceive the wall, unless it has an unusually large temperature variance to the rest of the room or a ticking clock or some other tip that it’s still there.  All things being equal, and if “perception IS reality”, then that wall should also cease to be there and, as long as you keep your eyes closes, you should be able to walk until your legs get tired. 

 

Unless, of course, your perception is flawed (because your eyes are closed) and the wall really is there, then you’re going to smack your face into the wall and look very, very stupid.  Unless the lights are off, and perception is reality, then you won’t look stupid because nobody will be able to see you.

 

Look, perception IS NOT reality.  REALITY is reality, perception is how we interact with reality.  Everyone has a right to perceive the world around them through whatever filter they want, but that does not mean that however they perceive the world is equally right as compared to how others perceive the world.  Or, simply put, some opinions are flat out wrong (and I’m not exempt from that universal truth).

 

As an example (and this is a real life example, by the way), I can say “the sky is blue”.  You can respond “no, I’m color blind, the sky is actually green.”  Your color blindness does NOT change the fact that the atmosphere of the earth refracts light in such a way as to filter the spectrum of available light so that the blue segment of the spectrum is most visible under normal circumstances.  Your color blindness only means that the blue light which is filtered and eventually delivered to your retinal cones and whatsits is altered so that your optic nerve interprets the blue to be green.  The sky is still blue, your eyes are just messed up.  Despite that, this idiot kept trying to convince me that because he saw the sky as green, then the sky was green.  The thing is the sky is not green any more than if he closed his eyes the sky, moon, and all of his surroundings would cease to be in their entirety (with the exception of those things he could still feel, smell, or hear).  By the same logic, Columbus not only “discovered” America, but he also CREATED every inch of territory he saw for the first time with his eyes.  Newly discovered planets DIDN’T EVEN EXIST before they were perceived by humans.

 

It’s just about the stupidest thing ever.  And if you’re offended by this, then just perceive that I didn’t write it and it’ll be like it didn’t even happen.  In fact, perceive that I wrote the exact opposite, if that makes you feel better.

While you’re at it, why don’t you perceive me a million dollars, too, and I’ll admit that I’m completely wrong and retire this blog forever.

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