That leads to the subject of this blog entry. How important are “perceptions”? Think of yourself in a dark room. Over in the corner is a coiled piece of rope, or a belt, or whatever. In the dark, it looks like a snake. So, you look over at this “snake” and immediately your mind takes over. Fear! Extreme fear! So your body starts preparing you for action. The “fight or flight” response kicks in, and your body begins to produce chemicals such as adrenalin, dopamine, etc., the end result being that you now have an increase in strength, concentration, etc., just like the stories you hear about a mother flipping over a car to save her child. You’re an “Avenger”, ready to do battle. As long as your mind can’t tell the difference, it doesn’t matter. A snake is a snake, as long as you think it is. So, you can’t escape, there are no exits. Your options are to fight or get bit. Your survival depends on fighting this threat to your life!
Can this situation relate to our normal everyday lives? What if, instead of a snake, you perceived another person as a threat? What about a group of people? How about an entire country? If you perceive it to be true, your mind can, and will, prepare you for action. Sometimes, this can result in an argument with a friend, a rift in a marriage, or even a major armed conflict with another country. All because of perceptions or misunderstandings. You might remember an old “Saturday Night Live” skit where the late Gilda Radner would come on “weekend update” and present her argument on a subject, and would ramble on for a while, until the “news anchor” would correct her; telling her that she misunderstood the concept or word. She would then pause for a moment and then say “Oh. Never mind!”
All of a sudden, you discover you have a cigarette lighter in your pocket! You flick it, and the “snake” is revealed to be a rope. Your body is still shaking, your adrenalin is still coursing through your body, but you’re slowly reverting back to normal. You feel kinda dumb, though, because you had a gun with you (legally registered, of course), and you just managed to shoot many holes in many nearby objects, including your TV. So you think “never mind,” and carry on with your day, possibly including a trip to the store to purchase a new TV.
How do you prevent a situation like this? One way would be to not act upon insufficient information. Gather all the facts, look at alternate viewpoints, be more objective, shed some “light” on the subject before acting on mis-guided beliefs. Look at the painting again. Still ugly? Well, sometimes you just can’t change a person! So, I’ll just say this: if you perceive the painting a certain way, and you like it, we’ll, that’s exactly what I meant to paint!