If I had to name one thing, that interests me most in people, it certainly would be perception. Despite all of us use somewhat the same tools; sensory cells (designed specifically to detect some aspect of the surrounding environment), a series of neurons (that transmit the perceived information to the brain) and a segment of the brain (for receiving and analyzing that information); in order to observe the environment, the outcome (the picture of the world we create in our heads) usually differs dramatically.
Have you ever heard the expression “We don’t see things as they are – we see them as we are.”? It is a well-known quote by Anaïs Nin that allegorically sums up, what to me is the most interesting part of the whole perception process, the fact that subjective perspective is not only created through perception, but also vice versa influences what we pay attention to and the way we evaluate our surroundings.
Whatever appears as real to us might turn out to be just a fabrication of our subconscious mind.
Our perspective is founded on pervious knowledge, experience, values, feelings, and attitudes, and focused on our situational desires. That is the reason for the same hill appearing steeper/flatter to somebody b(i)ased on his level of exhaust. In technical terms, the interface we create in order to gasp the world is modified by what we have learned and our state of mind. Of course we don’t pay equal attention to everything that surrounds us, simply because we possess limited mental resources. We have to focus these on one thing at one time – that makes multitasking, in terms of simultaneous mental actions, a myth by the way.
There are various factors that can affect the way perception influences our thinking. The most common is logic or reason. Human values and culture can also filter or accommodate new perceptions regardless of the logicality of it – these values may come from religion or faith, education, or superstitions.
But what happens when the information we perceive to build our comprehension on is pre biased? In fact that is exactly what happens every day as we consume information through IT. Mass media is probably the most popular and efficient tool in terms of transporting ideas and hence propagate our perception of everything around us. As Marshall McLuhan once stated, “The medium is the message.” And messages have economic, political, social, and aesthetic purposes (e.g., to make money, gain power or authority over others, create or promote causes like the EHEC-bacteria, U.N. military action, election of political parties, or achievement of governmental, societal, and cultural goals).
What we think will direct what we do.
Almost every day our perception is challenged and influenced by various types of media: The news we watch, the words we read – endless flows of information, that make us blunt…The MP3s we listen to: chopped music on cold walls of space, ads that pop-up, Photoshop beauty we worship and profiles we chat to about our statuses; exchanging links, laconic emoticons and digital data.
Plus there’s still the tube!
Never before human kind was that informed and connected, never before procrastinating and avoiding thinking was that easy. Critics believe modern mass media to be „The Bane of Human Cultural Evolution”, by sowing stupidity, misleading reports, trash culture and promoting the race to the bottom.
However, we find ourselves being dreadfully dependent on modern media: Whenever we are interested in finding out about superficial stuff like the weather forecast for tomorrow or sophisticated stories about politics and people, we need to turn to some medium. Be it printed or published, it is certain to be composed by somebody, who wants to persuade our perception in order to control our actions. Not everything that is broadcasted is necessarily true or important.
Propaganda is alive. And so is the freedom to choice:
We can either choose to accommodate the perceptions bombarded on us or we can filter them out. Anyways it is important to be critical towards the validity of inflows and conscious about the consequences, for staying self-determined.
Don’t trust & mimic everything that media hypes!
Because being conscious is clearly the cool way to roll.