Reality vs. Perceived Reality

It’s interesting what reality is and how it is perceived by different people. Reality, root word real, meaning tangible, factual events can be interpreted so many different ways. Who is to say one interpretation is correct over the other, many outside factors contribute to how someone perceives reality and therefore technically to that individual what stimuli they absorb, evaluate and regurgitate is in a sense their own reality. The reality i talk about isn’t the obvious and factual, like someone seeing a cat that is black and instead strongly declaring that cat is orange and not excepting truth. That is just insane. The interpretation of reality i speak of is social reality. How we read and react to each other. Human beings are so very complex, our social actions have numerous and widely varying expressions each to be received by another in a slightly different way. The nature vs. nurture argument applies here as well as very primal social expressions like threats of violence and sexual attraction are I believe ingrained in us by nature, however understand and interpretation of the more subtle nuances of social behavior is highly affected by nurture. Case in point, 2 people are sitting on the porch in the summer, the post man in a obvious hurry, walks up the driveway sweating profusely. He comes to the porch smiles a big smile, greets the one man sitting on the porch as he does everyday and hands him his mail. He then wipes is brow with his hand and turns to the other man as his smile fades and offers his wet hand for a handshake. The other reluctant man accepts but its apparent he does not approve. The post man quickly rushes off on to the next house. The one turns to the other who is reading his mail now and says,”Do you believe that guy?” the other says, “What?” “I mean do you believe how rude he was? He wiped his forehead with an open hand then shook my hand! Not to mention he didnt seem to happy about it in the first place. That, Guys a jerk, i dont like him” The other man looks up out of his mail shaking his head in disapproval.”Georgie you don’t like anybody!” and goes back to reading his mail.

Now I want you to read through that again. Anyone of us could come up with a quick back story explaining each man’s reaction in that illustration. It can be a lot of fun to do so too as our theories will draw on our own experiences and hence offer up more understand of ourselves.

Nuances happen like illustrated in the above story everyday, 1000’s of times a day. What do you think is the reason for the difference in reaction from the men in the story? Put it in the comment below and the most creative will be highlighted in another post.

One Reply to “Reality vs. Perceived Reality”

  1. There’s this saying that used to kind of irritate me but I think it actually sums it up: “perception is reality”. By any technical definitions, perception and reality are probably more opposite than anything but I think the pressure we place on the word “real” is false.

    I could go on and on about this, and it could get weird, but I think it’s the human condition to want answers; unquestionable, factual answers. We need to know what to call a “tree”, because without the word we don’t know what it is. By knowing what’s “real,” we feel in control. This includes the “status quo” and how to react in social situations but I think our reactions stem from within. You know how they say “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”? I think everything is in the eye of the beholder. How we perceive others is sort of us projecting our own opinions, issues and expectations on to other people. And if that’s the case, it varies per person, per situation. So what’s “real”?

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