19 November 2012

What We See

I was a weird kid when I was small.  Don't worry--I'm not cutting myself down.  To me, weird is good, so I see the term as something of a compliment.  In any case, I was weird because I used to think weird things that other kids didn't think about.  I know they didn't because I asked them.  I would wonder things like whether words were really words or just sounds that we agreed had meaning, and what would happen if we assigned a different sound to an object--for example, if we assigned the sound "blurb" for chair.  Is it possible that we could forevermore refer to chairs as blurbs?  I also used to wonder if we all saw colors the same, or was it possible that what I see as blue, someone else sees as my red, but because they've been taught that it's blue, that's the term they use to describe it.

I think about this sort of thing a lot.  I wonder why I see certain people as attractive and other people as unattractive, while others see different people as attractive and unattractive.  I wonder why what I see as frightening (heights, for example), other people see as just something else in life.

What you see may not be exactly what I see.  I think that we're making a big mistake when we assume that other people see things exactly as we see them, for when we make that assumption, we open ourselves up to the possibility of making some unfair and unjustified judgments.  I know that people have judged me for how I react to certain things that I see just because I don't see them as they do.  You may see a certain incident as dangerous, and thus expect me to respond to it as something dangerous, whereas I see it as something interesting.  When I don't react to it as something dangerous, you may call me careless or irresponsible for not reacting as you expect me to react.

When I see a red light, I see a certain shade.  Who's to say that when you see a red light, you don't see it as what I see as blue?  Questions like these keep the world really interesting for me, for I know that our perception is a huge part of our reality, and much of what we call reality is based on that perception.  Let's try not to judge other people based on our expectations of what we think they should see, for there's a very good chance that they're perceiving reality in a very different way than we are--and that sort of difference is something that we should celebrate and try to learn from rather than judge and condemn.

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