Our perceptions of the world around us are formed by the lenses of life we wear. The fact that we differ so vastly from one person to the next is what makes us individuals. As individuals we are different in accordance to our sex, religion, beliefs, upbringing and nationality amongst others. Every one of those aspects affects what we understand in our environment and affect how we learn to recognize our surroundings understand what we do or why something happens. It is unavoidable for us as individuals not to manoeuvre the information received into what we want it to be. The way we manipulate our perceptions is affected by our background and experiences, which is why we can never see things as they are, we are constantly subconsciously manipulating information based on the way we are. Because of this all information, all thought and reason is subjective, and can ultimately never be objective. We will look at the way language and emotion and even the biological aspects of the human mind and how they play a role in perception and understanding in order to gain a greater knowledge of the limitations of humanity and the mind in and of itself.
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“What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what sort of person you are”- C.S Lewis. Absolute truth is a difficult thing to come by considering everything is directly affected by you and your mind. We are all individuals who have different ways of gathering information and recognizing and perceiving things. Information travels through all of our past experiences, culture, and emotion to finally get to its destination – the brain. By the time it gets there it has already been manipulated and changed by whom we are, that there is no way to ever understand anything by how it is but always who we are.
Language is another way of knowing as there are diverse languages being used throughout the world to understand and gain knowledge. `…a person’s “picture of the universe” or “view of the world” differs as a function of the particular language or languages that person knows. As we perceive our surroundings through our basic senses, we use language in the aid to decipher our perceptions to gain a better understanding. Consequently we convey the elements of language into our mind and perceptions and find that our perceptions fall short of our expectations. What we must realize is that error is with language instead of an error of our perception. Language is in its own way preventing us from understanding because we rely on it to heavily for answers, when there are something’s language cannot put into words. “The limits of my language means the limits of my world.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein For example before a child learns how to speak I believe that all of his actions are without any subjectivity or manipulations of his perceptions, everything is as it is.
“One has not only an ability to perceive the world but an ability to alter one’s perception of it; more simply, one can change things by the manner in which one looks at them.”- Tom Robins. Perception once again is dependent on the situation and mindset you are in. “At times, physical or emotion situations can prevent perception completely …for example, hungry people may perceive food as larger as or more colourful than usual.” A plate with a piece of chicken on it is just that, but the idea that two people can look at the same plate and perceive it differently is fascinating. Since you are hungry, you perceive it to be larger and more vibrant, so the physical hunger you are experiencing sends signals to your brain and in turn changes your perception of the food. You are seeing the plate of food as you are, and not as it really is.
“If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.” – William Blake. Emotion is a huge way of knowing because it is highly variable. When heightened levels of emotion are brought into a situation, you see the world in a different light. Therefore you shouldn’t make decisions when you are at any heightened stage of emotion because your view of the world in clouded. If you found yourself in a situation where you were very angry, you would act differently than if you were calm, collected, and thinking clearly. Emotions cannot be defined because it differs person to person. Once again when two people are in the same room together and experiencing the same thing, they are both going to perceive different information considering many different variables in their being. They are seeing things as they are because it is impossible to do so otherwise, it’s an unattainable goal to step outside of yourself and to see reality because the boundaries of your being will always be there.
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“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.”- Anthony Hopkins. You would have an extremely difficult time looking for a wholly unbiased seeker of truth; there cannot be such a thing. Humans are subjective regardless of their efforts otherwise. For example a judge will look at a case with the eyes of objectivity, but will never succeed in his efforts to be purely objective because of his perception, which is directly affected by everything he has ever done and seen in the world.
In conclusion we are constantly receiving information that we perceive in our own ways. We always see things are we are, it is impossible to do so otherwise. Perception is said to be unique for every individual because of their cultural backgrounds, experiences and upbringing, it could be said that perception is what makes every individual unique. Language can be a barrier in which it keeps us from understanding our perceptions, and emotions can easily distort the world around us. People come to conclusions on their perceptions through the ways of knowing, and although our surroundings and objects are the same for everyone, everyone has a different understanding and different perception of it all. “All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” (Poe)- Edgar Allan Poe
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