We Do Not See Things The Way They Are

We do not see things the way they are
graphic © eminentlyquotable.com

“We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are.”

Although the words above were employed in Anaïs Nin’s 1961 work “Seduction of the Minotaur”, she referenced it to a Talmudic origin. The Talmud consists of commentaries and interpretations of Jewish history. Talmud is a Hebrew word that means “instruction.” In Victor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning”, he wrote “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.”

It is a psychological fact that perceptions affect one’s reality, as apparent in Frankl’s experience as a prisoner of war in Nazi concentration camps. Instead of perceiving a gloomy future, he chose to imagine a bright life ahead unlike some of his fellow prisoners who ultimately suffered from depression.

Neuroscientist and artist Beau Lotto said in his TEDtalk, “The brain did not evolve to see the world the way it really is — we can’t.” He went on to say that humans are defined by their history of interactions.

In a new study, imagination was found to affect one’s perception of reality. The researchers in Sweden conducted an experiment using sensory illusions to determine its effect on the brain’s perception of reality. Lead author of the study Christoper Berger remarked, “…we found that what we imagine hearing can change what we actually see, and what we imagine seeing can change what we actually hear.”

Perceptions affect how we experience life. American philosopher Vernan Howard said, “We are enslaved by anything we do not consciously see. We are freed by conscious perception.”

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