Our Perception

Perception is defined as the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses.  In our day-to-day lives our senses bring information into our brains unimpeded by conscious thought or emotion.  What we see, hear, feel, taste and smell is delivered to us through the faculty of our senses to the best of their abilities.  Barring physical impairment what we experience through our senses is 100% accurate. 

Once the information has been delivered to our brains another function takes over, the executor in our brain.  Science and psychology have not yet been able to locate the exact location of this function in our brains, and we use the term executor to explain that function that makes decisions for us.  For example, if we have our hand on an object and we move it from left to right some distance, we know that we moved it.  If we have our hand on the same object and the object moves our hand from left to right some distance, we know the object has moved our hand.  It is the executor that lets us know who or what is doing the moving, even though the observed movement is the same in both instances.  The executor is also responsible for us knowing that objects remain the same size regardless of how large or small they appear to be in our vision. 

Beyond our capacity to experience the world through our senses, there is another capacity that we have and we call this function perception.  Through our perception of the world we decide how we feel about things.  We know from experience that if ten people witness a car accident that we will get ten different accounts of the accident.  The reason this occurs is that each person perceives the accident differently.  For example, if one car involved in the accident is an old clunker and the other is a new car, the person who would normally root for the underdog might claim that the driver of the new car was at fault.  If the observer owns a new car, they might claim the driver of the clunker is at fault.  Also, where the observers are relative to the accident will determine the angle from which they view the accident, and this can alter their perception.  For the most part we see our perception of an event as being 100% accurate, even though we may view the event through our emotional state of mind at the time and through our personality traits.

As a general rule our perception of events are good enough for us to get by.  However, it is important to understand that once the information we physically experience is delivered, our executor usually filters this information through our emotions and we decide how we feel about it.  The problem is that this is not a perfect system.  More often than not, our perception of an event is anything but realistic.  Therefore, when I claim that it is not the events in our lives that help shape us, rather it is our perception of these events, I am talking about the seemingly natural process of seeing things through emotional eyes. 

In our everyday lives there are usually many other people around us.  We interact with these people and our interaction is driven largely by our perception of the type of people they are and our relationship to them.  When we meet someone for the first time we develop a sense of the type or person they are, and we perceive their personality through this initial exchange.  We say that first impressions last the longest and for the most part this is true.  However, I am confident that you have met someone, developed a sense of the type of person they were, only to have to change your mind about them later on when new information about that person is discovered.