Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Lately I've been thinking about something my Philosophy professor said a very long time ago.  Its something he used to start a discussion on reality and how to define it.  Of course, that particular discussion never ends for a philosopher and continues today in every philosophy class in the well as every dorm room, bar, office break room, etc.  He said simply "Perception is Reality".  I, at first, objected believing that reality exists independent of perception...and maybe it does.  The question is, does that matter?  If someone perceives a thing to be a certain way, for that person, that is their reality.  Let me tell you a story from the family archives.  When I was very young, maybe 3 or so, my dad worked two jobs and one one kept him late at night.  This left my mother in the uncomfortable position of being home alone at night with four small children.  We lived in a not so great part of town and Mother felt vulnerable.  She was not fond off guns but decided she might at least get a realistic model of a 45 automatic pistol in hopes that it would, perhaps,  discourage a would-be intruder.  I might add that besides the 4 small children, she also had at her disposal our family pet, Tinker.  Tinker was an extremely friendly and excitable Dalmatian which was kept indoors at night.  Tinker never met a stranger he didn't like and immediately greet with excited yelps and barks.  One night, the feared of event occurred.  A man with some sort of ill purpose unexpectedly burst into our poor home.  Mind you, we lived in the basement of a house that was not yet built.  Why anyone would think we might have something they would find of value is beyond me but for some reason this guy thought breaking in was a good idea.  Upon entering he was immediately confronted by Tinker who began noisily straining at his leash...he was kept tied up at an attempt to rush to this new potential friend and greet him with many gleeful salutations and doggy kisses.  Next, he found himself face to face with a frightened young mother wielding a large toy pistol pointed directly at him.  For some reason, he turned and ran away.  Our reality was that a vulnerable woman with a toy gun and a friendly dog had greeted him upon his arrival.  His perception was that a vicious animal and a well armed homeowner confronted him to foil his plans.  Fortunately for my mother, the intruder's perception appeared to be reality to to him and he acted on that perceived reality. 

I'm thinking that most situations have at least as many realities as the number of people involved.  I try to keep my mind open to other peoples reality and give them the benefit of the doubt if they don't act in a way that my reality would interpret to be reasonable. I don't always get the job done, but I try.   Well......I perceive that I have to get back to work now....I believe that to be my boss's reality at this moment so I'm going to act accordingly...................................Later

1 comment:

  1. it's true, i had to constantly work on that with my sudents... even if something was an accident, it doesn't mean others perceived it that way! good times!