Posts Tagged ‘Perceptions’

When I look at this color sketch I did some years back, I see a Zion Canyon Cliff Wall behind the tree, although I did the sketch from memory. It’s how I perceived a Zion Canyon wall to look.

          Dictionaries give the definition of “perception” as: The ability to see, hear or become aware of something through the senses … a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something … a mental impression. …intuitive understanding and insight … and memory, by which an organism becomes aware of and interprets external stimuli.


This makes me think that the multi-polarized perceptions rampantly raging across America today are blurring facts and truths. But what facts. and whose truths?

          I recently watched the second episode of Season 41 of Survivor, a television series that I’ve been a fan of since it first premiered over 20 years ago. The person who outwits, outplays and survives everyone else walks away with a million dollars.

          The program has evolved over time, with contestants better understanding that it’s a game in which lying is almost always crucial to winning. As this is part of the game, it doesn’t bother me, unlike how I feel about liars who don’t speak the truth in real life. To put it bluntly I abhor them.

Anyway, on this recent Survivor episode, three women on the challenge-losing team were discussing who to vote out of the game. Their choices varied, prompting one of the women to note that it was all a matter of individual perception, because each of them viewed what was in their own best interest differently.

          The older I get, the more I come to understand how people, who even can  have the exact same experiences, can see those experiences and events quite differently. This has been especially notable among my own family of five children, who all seem to have grown up with five different mothers. The truth is, time combined with the wisdom of years, has totally changed my own perception of the mother who I thought I had been.

          Another simple example of my coming to understand the power of perception came to me during a recent visit to my doctor because of back pain. One of the first questions I was asked was: On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your pain? I’ve actually been asked that question on many occasions, including when I was giving birth to my children.

          I always thought the question was a silly one because it had no specific comparison value. This time, I actually voiced the thought, and the nurse quickly agreed with me.
          “You’re right. Its only value is how the patient feels about pain. Some never rate severe pain higher than a four, while other patients rate a hangnail as a 12.”    Enlightening, I thought, as my perception of the value of the question changed with the answer. Perceptions, I realized, continually flow like water instead of being poured concrete that hardens as it dries.

          Sadly, thinking about this gave me no answers as to how to solve the destructive, polarized beliefs and actions roaring across America, and the world, today. Perhaps it will have to begin with simply being kind to one another – well, at least that’s my perception. What’s yours?

Pat Bean is a retired award-winning journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited), and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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