The Case for Perception as The Overriding Principle

The Case for Perception as The Overriding Principle

perception-58-728This is going to be more than one BLOG post, and even at that, it will be longer than my normal messages. There is a reason for this. I believe that “perception” is the overriding principle, and I want to give enough case study type evidence to show you why I believe that is the case.

Is this a drawing of a young woman looking away from you, or an old woman looking towards you? I tried to pick an image that was so well known that no explanation for it was needed. I didn’t want to waste time on the photo when I had real stories to tell.

Think of this as another version of “Scenes on the Train,” except stories about people whose perception made them see something in ways nobody else in the group did. It is the difference in their perception that is the topic, not what the actual story is staying.

So stay tuned to this BLOG. A number of stories will show up here during the next week.

Thanks for reading,

David Lee



One thought on “The Case for Perception as The Overriding Principle

  1. Life Gets In The Way

    So I posted this just as my “day job” went into hyperactive mode, and I lost my writing time. That’s like, as they say.

    First Example: Blacks Ain’t Like That !

    This is actually the story that make me think I should write this post in the first place, so I will start with it. The movie, “Black Panther” had just come out, and there was a lot of hubub about it. I have some grown kids who went to see it — they are much more into the comic book super hero movies than I am, and they liked it. I heard folks make comments on both sides. They liked it, loved it, hated it, all over the spectrum. Most of the comments were about the acting and such. So I decided to go see it.

    There is a new movie theater in the area that has big enough seats that I am totally comfortable, and you can take the food into the seat, sit back, and relax while eating dinner. I love this new kind of venue. So I sent to see the movie on a Thursday night. Armed with my own thoughts on the movie, I was ready for these discussions.

    Personally, the movie was “right in line with” the plethora of other comic book super hero movies. The ones I don’t like, I don’t like because I don’t like the “super hero.” But by and large, in my opinion, there’s not a whole lot of difference between them all. They’re fun to watch, as long as there’s not too many at once — I get sort of tired of them.

    I say the same thing about James Bond movies. Some dude doing quasi-impossible things against less-than-competent super villains while seducing a seemingly never-ending string of fairly vacuous “hollywood beautiful” women. They are fun to watch in limited quantities.

    At least with the comic book super heroes, they have personalities, so watching them is more than just action scenes knitted together to form a box-office smash.

    And this is part of what I liked about “Black Panther.” There were new personalities to get to know. I also liked the thought that there was a “power broker” hidden in the middle of Africa, where the majority of the world wasn’t looking for one. I also liked the fact that even in this new utopia there was hidden intrigue that make it feel more realistic. All in all, I liked this latest addition to the expanding universe of comic book super heroes.

    Within a couple of days, I was in a conversation about this movie with a group of folks I routinely debate and chat about a variety of things. It is a relatively eclectic group, only missing one element: females. One is an artist, a few of us are in the computer industry, an accounting type, and a variety of other professions. Some are white; some hispanic; some from Asia and India, one black. A few Christians/Protestants/Catholics (however you want to group them), a Jew, a few Hindus, a Bhuddist, and some agnostics. Like I said, pretty eclectic.

    The black dude burst out with his assessment: he hated it! Every single thing about it! In his mind, there was no redeeming quality to the movie. What was the problem? “Blacks ain’t like that!” It took a little bit for him to explain what he meant by that, but once he did, it was pretty obvious. I’ll summarize:

    If blacks had technology, they would not hide it from the rest of the world or keep it private. That is what white men do.
    If blacks had something that would save lives, they would not keep it for just themselves. That is what white men do.
    If blacks had am ideal place to live, they would share it with all other blacks and not hide it away. That is what white men do.
    No way would a powerful black government let white men carry off millions of blacks into slavery. That is what white men do.

    One of the hispanic dudes said something about how that was a pretty racist attitude, but his reply was that “blacks cannot be racist because blacks ain’t like that.”

    All of us just stood there dumbfounded at this diatribe.

    Since none of us saw it like that, we were all declared to be racist, and the black man left the conversation. He hasn’t returned to the group since. That was too bad because I liked him. He and I are on opposite ends of a number of philosophical points, yet we can discuss them without angst, and come away friends. But liking this movie was too much for us to remain friends.

    Here was a movie which showed the blacks as the benevolent, peaceful people, with all of the advances normally ascribed to “white folks,” who are the heroes — none of which are stupid or silly. Certainly no JarJar Binks characters, which, frankly, was too much of a caricature, even for me. The only “corrupt” black, if you want to use that term, simply screwed up (in a major way, I’ll admit) in a family squabble. History has a million stories of that, spanning time and country and race, so it wasn’t, at least to me, anything denigrating to blacks.

    I asked another black man (who we know each other well enough that he knows I’m being serious and want an honest opinion), and he looked at me like I just fell out of a tree. He was as dumbrfounded as I was by it.

    So why is this my first topic? Because this one black man was actually harboring some serious racist feelings towards white folks, and when this movie seemed to reverse the rolls, his paradigm couldn’t handle it. He just would not accept the potential that black men have the same potential as white men for these kinds of “corrupt actions.”

    But what happened inside of me, is this event caused a wide range of things going on around me at that same time to come into clearer focus. Things like:

    Some otherwise reasonable folks who believe there needs to be a class-action lawsuit against the NRA because of the recent school shootings.
    A politician who botched saying “hello” in a foreign language to someone who is from that ancestry as a way of trying to open the dialog in a friendly way. Some otherwise reasonable people believe this politician needs to be castigated in every way possible, simply because he is from the “other political party.”
    An otherwise reasonable person who believes that an “undocumented worker” (meaning illegal alien) deserves all of the rights and privileges of full citizens, and that when he murders someone in cold blood on the streets of a major city in front of a string of witnesses, it is impossible for him to get a “fair trial,” so he should just be let go.

    The list goes on and on. The point is that no facts will override someone’s preconceived notions and perceptions. There is this growing list of topics that are simply too politically and emotionally charged to be discussed. It used to be a simple list: religion and politics. Now I’m not sure I can come up with the full list — and that even if I spent the next two weeks sequestered in my habitat trying to make a comprehensive list, more would be added during those two weeks that I’d miss.


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