You’re sitting on a bench when a man runs around the corner, swiftly pursued by another man. The second man pulls a gun and shoots the first man. You’ve just witnessed a murder.

You’re standing at a bus stop when two men run past, one obviously chasing the other. The last man shouts out “Stop, police!” just before they race around a corner. Moments later a gunshot is heard. Justice has been done.

You’re about to enter a restaurant when a man races out almost knocking you over. He screams over his shoulder that he needs more time to get the money together just as some neanderthal thug comes flying out of the restaurant. Obviously a debt collector for some criminal, he has the cheek to scream “Stop, police!” to help clear the crowd and catch up. They race past a bus stop and around a corner as you shake your head at the state of the world and enter the restaurant.

You’re on a bus and see a man getting shot in the street. Confused and shocked, you fumble for your phone to call the police just as the bus rounds the corner and a restaurant in the distance explodes. Bloody terrorists.

Truth is limited. Every single witness to these events will be telling a different story to the people they know. Every single person will be telling the truth, yet they wont be telling the whole truth. They’re incapable because they haven’t seen the whole truth. None of us have.

Truth is limited by perception which itself is limited in nature. A couple of metres away may provide you with a completely different view of events. A single step to the right may change “I almost got hit by a car” to “I was hit by a car” or vice versa. If we step back far enough to see everything we lose the details. If we get close enough to see the details then we’re too close to see everything happening around us.

The only truth we have, and therefore the only truth we can tell, is our own. Only our own experiences of events, later modifed by other people’s views, can be the truth to us. But we should always remain open to the possibility that our truth is not the only truth.

You’re sitting on a bus when a noise causes you to glance over and see the man on the opposite seat desperately grabbing his phone. He starts dialling and suddenly a restaurant in the distance explodes. Knowing that your life and the lives of everyone else on the bus probably depend on it you pull out chefs knife you’ve just bought and stab him through the heart. You’re a hero.


20 thoughts on “Perception

  1. Interesting post.I don't think the guy on the bus is a hero, I think he made a mistake. The guy didn't set off the bomb with his phone. I saw a experiment once about eye witnesses. They were even wrong with what they thought they saw.

  2. One of the best human behaviour stories I have ever read. It remind me of some BBC shows I have seen few years ago, about people behaving in a groups as well as individuals. It is strange the way our brain works.

  3. We use a word here that roughly can be translated into "memory displacement" – Like, I know what I experienced, but as time passes, the memory may adjust slightly. ^^ Just to say that our truth can also be modified by ourselves, without even being aware of it. Cool post, I like it. :up:

  4. That's how I live my life.. Taking a step back and trying to take more things in consideration before acting on a impulse. Not always as easy as it sounds though :p.Clean.. :p

  5. I've been working on it for a while but it never seemed quite right so I kept deleting it. Darko's post today reminded me to try again.The guy on the bus isn't a hero when you see all the events but for his story, the one he'll tell people until he learns better, he is. He only has a portion of the events, less than we do, yet even we don't know the full story. We can only guess about what really happened there.We live our lives like this, bound by our own limited perception of events within our own continually fracturing memories.GEEK STORY – my first girlfriend and I were into roleplaying. Not dressing up or anything kinky, but games like Dungeons & Dragons. Our characters shared their first kiss before we had ours. I remember that kiss well but can't remember our real life first kiss at all. I think I've combined the memories, possibly with memories of other kisses. Stupid isn't it, but that's the way memory works.I've always advocated the Step To The Left philosophy. When considering something take a psychological step to the left just to give yourself a new perspective. It can never hurt to have more information.

  6. I had an idea about what I was going to put as a comment, but then I stepped back and now I'm not sure what to say … 😉 😆

  7. Sometimes we don`t have that luxury Clint, and we can try to see overall picture after the action is finished. If we are lucky we did everything right. If not….

  8. Sometimes it is best to just act on instinct. However those moments are usually the ones where we have the luxury of time. When we only have a moment is when we'd be best analysing a situation.

  9. Swaer has a nice set of photos about perception and online dating. :insane:.Ok, so it's more like something from a horror movie but it makes a valid point about online dating!! :insane:.

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