Puppets on a String – Human Perception and World Views

Perception serves more than one purpose to the human experience. Wikipedia defines Perception as – the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the environment. This definition unfortunately describes only one of the services perception provides. I would like to offer instead the definition – Perception is a collection of data filters, some natural but most created by education and experience, which serve to shape and enforce limits on sensory and intellectual data that is considered to provide the individual a world view in which to operate within. Similar definitions yes, but the differences are critical.

In the Wikipedia definition, perception is nothing more than an interpreter of sensory information. It implies that all sensory information is considered, and considered equally. Additionally it implies that intellectual data such as words, symbols, and events are not subject to perceptional filters. These critical omissions remove from view that perception is subjective and subordinate to the human intellect, a key concept in the road to higher enlightenment which I will discuss in future posts.

Perception provides to the human experience with:

-A world view to determine what sensory and intellectual data to consider and what to discard based upon (representative, not all inclusive):

Personal Impact

Personal Accountability

Personal Interest

Personal Relevance

Ability to effect

Sources

Protection against Cognitive Dissonance

-Relative importance of the sensory and intellectual data permitted for consideration

-Relative confidence of the truthfulness of the sensory and intellectual data permitted for consideration

-Provides a world view to screen possible conclusions, implications, or meanings resulting from considered sensory and intellectual data for inclusion or discarding

-Provides a world view to shape and enforce limits on imagination – (Known as Perceptual Imagination Limits)

Cognitive Dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values. Knowledge of the Perception, Instinct, Feeling, Thought, and Behavior (PIFTB) Cycle (See details on the Dragontamers Website) shows us that information we received is first filtered in the perception phase to report to our intellectual centers and make “sense” out of the information input we constantly receive. This is an ongoing and continuous process that we really never notice unless an events causing Cognitive Dissonance takes place. Mild Cognitive Dissonance events actually take place quite commonly in our everyday world. Two examples I offer for your consideration is when a person receives information from their senses they cannot automatically place into their current world view. The second is when another person expresses an intellectual interpretation of an event that does not fit into the persons world view.

To describe the first event I would like the reader to imagine the following: One day while walking down the street you noticed what appears to be a large bird pecking at a fictional animal from the TV Series Star Trek called a Tribble. This is quite confusing since you know Tribbles are fictional, yet you see one with the bird. Not quite believing your eyes, you move in for a closer look. As you come up on the scene you realize that a man was standing in a parking lot below street level with a pet bird on his shoulder that is playing with the owner’s hair.

How did we make such a strange mistake? Well from the observer’s perspective, all you could actually see is what appears to be a clump of Fur on what you believe is the ground and a bird that is pecking at it. That is the sensory input you have to work with, now it is up to perception to make sense out of that image. Most of us have never seen someone walking around with a large bird on their shoulder, especially with the added limitation that you can only see the person’s hair. To make sense of the image the perception process reaches into your memory and attempts to locate some matching memories. The bird is pretty easy, but the first match your mind makes for the lump of fur is that it resembles a fictional creature called a Tribble as seen on the TV series StarTrek. So perception presents to your awareness a bird picking at a Tribble. Since you know Tibbles are fictional, you experience a moment of Cognitive Dissonance because what you perceive you see does not fit into your world view as a real possibility.

In the second example I am going to talk about a situation I personally experienced. While doing some work at the Navy Yard in Washington DC, I heard some loud bangs and thumps that sounded to me like the unloading of a dumpster from a truck. Upon hearing the same sounds, my colleagues immediately packed their belongings to leave the building. When I asked them why they were leaving suddenly, they pointed out the same sounds I just heard and left. I later learned that all of them had been in the building at the time of the Navy Yard shooting. What struck me as interesting was how my experience as a retired Marine who has been shot at and been around fire arms for decades didn’t hear any threat in the sounds, but instead perceived them as sounds from a trash truck, while these folks became very agitated and perceived the sounds at least as another possible shooter. Upon my personal review of this event I realized that the perception of the sounds as a dumpster truck was in part because I saw one of these types of trucks pull up to the rear of the building on my way in. What does this show us? That same data can be, and often is, perceived differently by different individuals based upon both experience and education.

Now that you have insight on the perception process, let’s take a look at the perception filters. First thing I need to say about filters is that it is natural to have them. When I say natural I mean that any given individual living in any environment will develop a set of filters unique to that environment that allows them to function within that environment easily and most often perceiving information in a useful manner. The next point I need to make about filters is that with humans they are uniquely flexible when compared to other animals on the planet. The flexibility of human perception may have been the key to human success as the dominate specie on the planet. In order for humans to be as highly adaptable as we are they need to be able to shift our perception of reality to survive in such very diverse environments. With animals, borrowing a few very exceptions, their perception is basically biologically hardwired into their existence. Often we see that animals will have a very limited view on what they perceive as food and what is dangerous. Some animals, like the panda for example are facing extinction by starving to death because human caused loss of the bamboo reduces the abundance of the only thing they perceive as food.

Another human capability which results from the flexible limits to our perception; humans can learn how to perceive the world from those we trust, such as our parents. For tens of thousands of years this capability allowed humans to move in and take over the dominate nitch in environments very different than the one we evolved in. Humans receive more education from their parents when it comes to perception then the lower animals where it is hardwired into them, but the tradeoff is certainly worth it. Without the need to spend thousands of years to evolve instincts for the new environment, humans can move in and prosper within a single generation in some of the most extreme and harsh places on earth. Like it or not, humans naturally develop our world view from our direct experience and from our education. I define education for the perception as being information we received without directly experiencing the event. Sources are primarily from a trusted form of media such as a newspaper, television, and radio, or from trusted individuals such as school teachers and parents.

Perception is also the point where many social and emotional disorders come from. Damaged or corrupted world views created in some cases from exposure to long term or extreme stressors, especially at or starting from a young age. Stressors can be anything from abuse, constant or extreme anxiety, or physical factors such as malnutrition or exposure. Less commonly the state of the environment children are raised in can also be a factor, such as those raised around extreme violence like in war zones or gang controlled areas. Depression is one of the fastest growing mental health issues in the western world. While it is certain that in some cases this condition may have a physiological root, the majority of people suffering from depression are doing so because of their world view and how it is shaping their perception. This is why even after long term treatment and the use of medications many continue to suffer from depression. Medical science can only treat the symptoms; the cure needs to come by correcting the cause.

Without a doubt it is truly a great adaptation for humans that they learn how to perceive rather than have the need for a hardwired perception like most animals, however ironically it also opens up a vulnerability that others can exploit. This once again is one of the points where this knowledge is both liberating and dangerous. When someone holds this knowledge, they could potentially reshape a person’s perception. The liberating aspect is this opens the door for individuals to intellectually guide the reshaping of their own perception. Such action can allow a person to free themselves from limiting points of view they may have picked up in their life. The dangerous aspect is a person or group of people can manipulate the information that you are exposed to, both through education and experience, to teach you a perception that servers their purposes.

We have all seen and heard of examples of this; The Communist Reeducation camps, kidnapped victims defending and in some cases joining their kidnappers, or the Hare Krishna communes. While these are extreme examples that most of will never encounter, most of us do not realize that we have very common everyday examples of folks looking to modify the perception of mass numbers of humans. Everyone has heard of them, they go under a number of familiar public names with some examples being, marketing, political slogans, public service messages, and public education.

Did I really just say public education? Oh yes… The Communist didn’t call them Reeducation Camps for nothing. Just think, if reeducation can be a method of brain washing, why can’t the initial education be one? Again westerners have looked on in horror at news reports on how some nations have based their entire education system on the teachings with in religious doctrines like the Bible or the Koran. When Saddam Hussein fell in Iraq, the world was shocked to see that public school books declared Saddam as a national hero that brought many aspects of good fortune to the Iraq people. What about America? Well one example I can give is case where students in Ohio received educational material stating that Rights are Special Privileges given to citizens by the Government and that Laws are created to keep us safe. The hand out was incredible creepy in the tone of Government as rulers over Citizens granting them liberties. What every happen to Government By the People, Of the People, For the People?

Read the whole story at Dragontamers

Your World view is created from your Perception. Human Perception is one of the most important aspects that determine our place in life. It is influences our financial state, our mental health, our happiness, even the number of years we live. Yet the power of human perception is its greatest vulnerability. Learn how perception can be hijacked and programed by others and how you can take control of yours back to provide you with a life of your choice. Read the whole story at Human Behavior Studies at Dragontamers under posts and discussions

Your World view is created from your Perception. Human Perception is one of the most important aspects that determine our place in life. It is influences our financial state, our mental health, our happiness, even the number of years we live. Yet the power of human perception is its greatest vulnerability. Learn how perception can be hijacked and programed by others and how you can take control of yours back to provide you with a life of your choice. Read the whole store at http://www.dragontamers.com/?p=441 under posts and discussions

Author Bio: Your World view is created from your Perception. Human Perception is one of the most important aspects that determine our place in life. It is influences our financial state, our mental health, our happiness, even the number of years we live. Yet the power of human perception is its greatest vulnerability. Learn how perception can be hijacked and programed by others and how you can take control of yours back to provide you with a life of your choice. Read the whole story at Human Behavior Studies at Dragontamers under posts and discussions

Category: Self Help
Keywords: Human Behavior Studies, View Life Differently, New Age, occult, Meditation, trans meditation,

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