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Opinions Fri, 24 May 2019

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Perceptions

I found myself in this gathering at a luxurious venue and was keen on not missing a tick on the program lineup as the event kept unfolding. There, distinguished personalities were put in place to ensure the comfort and security of dignitaries present.

I must say, they did their work well. So well, I could tell from the many faces present that they were impressed by the execution of their duties. I, however, took cognizance of something I deem vital. I had two of these special event aids come to me at different times of the event.

The first one who came to me spoke to me in the English Language whiles the other one spoke to me in Twi (a Ghanaian native language of the Akans). Well, I did overlook this happening till it came back to me strongly when I had returned home from the event and was reflecting on the whole night before bed. One thing stood out to me in the varying approaches towards me by these two ladies; PERCEPTION!

It couldn’t have been anything apart from how both of them perceived me. They were both nice to me, but the change in language is an instigation factor and I need to clarify the fact that the second did not lack the ability to speak English as we ended up exchanging a few words in English. What if I couldn’t speak said native language? I asked myself but, yes, she had it right on this count because I do speak Twi and I somewhat am an Akan; and so it worked for her. She did perceive right.

Now this added on to the many reflections I have had on this particular subject, perceptions. And this subject is one of utmost importance to delve into as a human being. Your lack of understanding of this subject will leave you in so many things that will not benefit your existence in this world. Let’s play around with the meaning of this subject and its relations to better understand this piece.

May I put it across as I have always done that I am here not to so much to school you my cherished readers but to draw your attention on something worth while.

Perception literally has to do with the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses – as the oxford living dictionary puts it. It further defines it as an awareness of something through the senses. It also states that it is the way in which something is regarded, understood and interpreted.

Cambridge dictionary primarily defines Perception as a belief or opinion, often held by many people based on how things seem. It relates it to sight to define it as the quality of being aware of things through the physical senses, especially sight. Again, it explains the subject as one’s ability to notice and understand things that are not obvious to other people.

Before I proceed to throw more light on perception, it is of great benefit that we understand some of the words captured in the definitions above. We came across the senses or if you like the human cognitive ability. And so the senses literally has to do with the human ability to understand, recognize, value, or react to something, especially any of the five physical abilities to see, hear, smell, taste and feel. And I must add that this in so many cases does not work without the occurrences of special human features like intuition and instincts.

Intuition is an ability to understand or know something immediately based on your feelings rather than facts and Instincts. Synonymously, it’s a natural ability that helps you decide what to do or how to act without thinking.

Now our cognitive ability has to do with the use of conscious mental processes. That involves putting our human thinking and processing

abilities to work to ascertain desired results, if you want.

“Cognition may be studied from diverse points of view. We can ask what cognition is; what its conditions, validity and limits are; what the

mechanisms by which we acquire it are; or what determines it; One of the weightiest questions in epistemology is the question of the

origin and sources of cognition. What are the sources of our cognition?” (Epistemology is basically the study of how we (humans) know things. It is the philosophical study of the nature, origin, and limits of human knowledge.

Why have I taken time to explain these terms? We will be shooting ourselves in the foot if we dare not have a fair idea of the above, simply because to a very large extent, they form the substrata of what actually goes into perception. Perceptions do not just evolve, they don’t just appear, but they rather come through couple of means as stated above.

Something critical I want you to take interest in is the fact that the origin and sources of ascertaining knowledge (cognition) have not been fully discovered by the greatest psychologists and philosophers and perhaps scientist of the past and our days. There’s a division of thoughts as to how this is achieved.

One party, internalists, are convinced that pieces of knowledge or their sources and principles can be found within the subject, and cognition is nothing else but discovering them or developing already existing (a priori) pieces of knowledge. It does in my point of view make the most of intuitions and instinctive abilities as explained above.

In contrast to internalism, there is an opposite approach; externalists. Authors who adhere to it, are convinced that all our knowledge has an external source — experience. The externalists assert that the mind is more or less a blank sheet of paper (tabula rasa) and all knowledge is being imprinted in us from external reality.

And so if I may ask you, have you ever paid attention to the various revelations above? If not, have you ever formed perceptions about anything? Well, it is your daily activity and I will prove that to you shortly if you haven’t had enough already.

Call it whatever, perceptions are formed in all places and they are stronger holds in the mind of people. Bringing in all the definitions and understanding of these words above, whether or not you are familiar with them, is to bring you to the final truth that perceptions are never final truths. Let me be emphatic right here, you hang on bombs everyday of your life and that is if you are even aware of the sources of your formulated perceptions.

Whether you will side with the internalists or the externalists one thing is certain, you are living in half or no truth, and I hold this to my personal opinion. Dear Reader, your leaders, I mean our leaders form a lot of opinions out of very lighter weight perceptions which we at the end of the day have to respect and live by.

Allow me share two thoughts with you and end this for now…

1 – Your perception is your current truth:

You see, nothing persuades you than your perception about a subject. It becomes your current reality. You live by it and protect it with your life. Perceptions are also gathered through the acquisition of knowledge and bring you into the reality you tend to side with. Hence scientists in times past mentioned that there are nine (9) planets that make up the universe. This perception derived from the then meticulous years of experiments and observations today turns out differently. And so that which was universally true yesterday by which a lot of decisions were taken around (including many students who were marked wrong in exams and were failed as a result) today turns out to be untrue, and what next? Nothing!

What I really want to communicate to you today is the fact that your perception today about that friend, that brother, that sister, that business based on which you have done all you can to live by which probably is causing harm to your victims may necessarily not be the truth. I mean to say that the perception you are holding onto to reject that friendship or marriage proposal could turn out to be wrong tomorrow. And when it so happen, the past will always remain the past, the harm will always be unchanged but the otherwise fortunate goodness that was embedded in the said association will be gone and never attainable.

What will be your reaction if you get to know at age 90 that you did hold on to a certain false perception since childhood? Guess what? It is happening. You may have been brought up to a certain perception, it is not wrong to have such an experience for it isn’t all perceptions that are necessarily untrue. But as you progress in life, be deliberate about these things you live to find our more.

2 – Perceptions are created:

You are well fit for doom if you fail to understand this truth about perceptions. They are created. Perceptions are created by people through the various senses and other means I have mentioned earlier. Typical instance, A Government may want to take a major decision in a country and as always seen a survey is conducted.

A long story short, know that information gathered in a survey needs the input of targeted audience and don’t also forget the input of the audience may necessarily depend on their mood, affiliation, socio-economic condition, their level of thinking, in all the formulate their perception. Do you think there is the likelihood of gathering an absolute truthful results? Keep your answer and smile. But this is the doom, a decision is arrived at and the whole citizenry are expected to comply.

Otherwise, no government policy would ever fall, yet we have tagged experts at the helm of affairs; I rest my case on this. Experts at predictions if you ask me, and we all can prove it time and again. Another created perception is that citizens believe leaders they made by voting for them are so powerful and so they have no choice but to bow to their dictates all the time and if they’re lucky to be alive till then, they vote to see if there could be any changes; PERCEPTIONS.

It is perceived as one of the moments they thank God, their friends and parents when students finally graduate from school and rather not during their matriculation; because actually the big deal here is finishing the course. But wait a minute, would you ever had finished if there wasn’t a start? Would you ever have graduated without been matriculated? Well, perhaps, there could be another perception of a chunk of evil that could have happened during the lifespan of the course whatever number of years it took; and the reality is some actually were part of the matriculation and are not available for graduation due to negative happenings and so the perception is “I’ve got to be thankful I am so done with this course right here” – Graduate Student Perception at work!

I will hopefully continue this piece on some sensitive areas of perception pretty later but as I conclude, I would say that perceptions are not supposedly negative but there are negative perceptions. We need to embrace the truth that perceptions are only present truths but not final truth. I mean the courses you will be taking your students to school to go and study by paying huge sums of money are not final truth. In fact, most of them are predictions and means to manipulate the current human system.

I will rather say you should hold on to every sort of perception that has as a goal to show love, security, offer help to improve the lives of others and the environment so dearly heart.

A perception that is based on half-truth but aimed at showing love and helping humanity is worth than a purported “accurate” perception which results in destruction.

Thought about the role of wisdom in this picture?

Columnist: David Bethel

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