02 March 2015

Perception

Perception.
Definitona way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression.

I am so fascinated by how minds work.

Unless you have been under a rock, you saw this picture last week:


Some of you saw it as a blue and black dress, some of you saw it as a white and gold dress. 


I've heard different explanations but the one that seems most prevalent and fact based is top-down processing, where we see what our brain expects. 

Get that?   We see what we expect to see.  That's what we perceive.


And then my friend Libby shared an article on the color blue and how it wasn't seen as a distinct color because people had no concept for that color.   The color was there, but people didn't distinguish it from greens or other dark colors.  They didn't have a name for it.  For some reason, blue was the last color to have a word for it in almost all cultures.  (The exception being the Egyptians, and that was probably because they were the only culture to produce blue dye way back when.)

Since it didn't have a name, people didn't see it. They weren't expecting it.  They couldn't perceive it!

So doesn't that make you wonder. What IS real?   

We think we know what we see is real.  Except what happens when what we see isn't the same as what others see? Is it less real? Nope.  Just perceptions are different.

Which somehow brings me to ISIS. 

(Maybe it's only my mind that can reasonably connect these three articles. But it does.)

Another friend, Alex, shared this article from The Atlantic on ISIS.

I'm not posting the actual article because it is very long.  But I really think it is worth clicking through to read. 

This article gives a pretty good theory/explanation of what ISIS is all about. Read it. 

And the main thing that I brought away from this article is that to most American citizens, we KNOW ISIS to be bad. Actually I think it is safe to say that we perceive ISIS followers to be batsh*t crazy.

But to the people devoted to ISIS, it is their religion and they KNOW it is good. That is their perception.  They are just following the will of their god.

Perceptions. 
Can be totally warped.

Until we as a world realize that our perceptions are based as much on what we are exposed to as what is tangible, we'll never understand where the other is coming from. The arrogance of insisting we are right and the other is wrong will never win anyone over or change perceptions.   

(Could you convince anyone that saw the dress differently otherwise? No matter how much you insisted?)

And while I have zero desire to understand ISIS, I know that if we as a nation/world want to defeat them, we have to know their reality first. 

(And that dress is blue and black.) 



(Edited from the first publication. Accidentally posted last night before summing up. )
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