The Perception Transformation (2015)
Chapter 2: Different Perceptions In The Same Experience
There are several factors which affect our perception. In the previous chapter, we looked at some general examples which showed how different people view the same event or scenario differently, based on their past experiences. In this chapter, we will examine the factors which affect our perception in more detail.
We have already seen several examples of this. An early tumultuous encounter with a dog scarred a girl for life, while a childhood spent among the animals kindled a loving attitude towards them, in another. The psychological wounds of war are carried by people all their lives, while privilege and fortune can make a man see the world as a bright and shining place. Past experience is perhaps the most important factor which affects our perception of our reality. Its effects are the most visible, and most people carry opinions shaped by experience their entire lives.
Parents, Teachers and Friends
Our parents are the first people we see in this world. They are our guardians until we learn to take care of ourselves. It comes as no surprise then, that they have an immense effect on our perception. The way they treat us, care for us, and nurture us, all contribute to our understanding of the world, and our perception of reality. The same can be said for our teachers. They give us the knowledge which allows us to become confident, successful individuals. We see them as our role models, and they have a big influence on our perception. Our peers also contribute to our understanding of the world. Their presence gives us hope and courage.
Our religion is a major part of our upbringing. It directly affects who we are as people. It influences our morality, our judgement and our view of the world. It teaches us compassion, justice and equality, and it allows us to focus on goals which are of a different category than our worldly desires. Depending on which part of the world you are from, and your ancestral lineage, your religion could be very conservative or quite liberal. Of course, this affects the way we learn to live our lives, the way we view other people and how much value we attach to material desires.
This is another very important factor which influences our perception. We saw in the second example in the previous chapter, how a difference in financial upbringing creates differences in the way that people see the world and others around themselves. People, who grow up in wealthy families and receive adequate education usually, view the world as being full of opportunities. They want to explore it and become wealthy and successful. Others from less privileged backgrounds generally view the world as a cruel and inconsiderate place. Even though they also sometimes become successful, it is through a different set of desires altogether.
Type of Residence
This is, of course, directly tied to the previous factor, i.e. financial state. Our lives are centered on our home from the moment we take our first breath. It becomes a place of peace, comfort, relaxation and solace. Our home is a very dear place to all of us and the kind of home we live in has an effect on our perception of the world. The vastly wealthy, with their immense estates, have a different view of the world from someone who lives in an apartment, or a trailer. Similarly, some people do not even have a home and live on the streets. This obviously changes their perception of the world.
We have already established how important the effects of your parents are on your perception of the world. Generally, your entire family and upbringing has an equally important effect. The sort of lifestyle you lived as a child, or even as an adolescent, influences your attitude towards life and what you believe the world is like. If you come from a broken home, i.e. if you have divorced parents, or one of your parents is deceased, then that will strongly affect your outlook on life.
Abuse is often linked to the development of psychological abnormalities in children who suffer from it and can lead to a bleak view of the world. Some children grow up in homes where parents might be addicted to drugs or alcohol. In these cases, it is quite likely that the children will learn to take care of themselves. They may begin to see the world as an uncaring and unwelcoming place, where one must struggle to survive. Children who grow up watching their parents do drugs might begin doing the same at some stage in their lives.
The importance of home has already been discussed, but the area of town where you live is also very important. The type of people vary greatly, depending on what part of town you live in, and you may be influenced by their standard of living, as well as your own living arrangements. Early exposure to crime, prostitution, drugs and other illegal activities can have severely detrimental effects on a child in some cases. Children learn to think of these activities as the only way to make a living and when they grow older, they may become involved in them.
The media has an extremely powerful influence on our perception of the world. Not always, but quite often, the truth is stretched and altered slightly by the digital and print media, before it is presented to the people. This obviously affects what people see and what they believe is the truth behind the events occurring around the world or in their own community.
Someone living in a first world country would hear a news broadcast that a roadside bomb in some country in the Middle East has killed twenty people and start believing that the entire Middle East in an unsafe place. Tabloids continue to report celebrity headlines on front page articles and people begin associating themselves with these celebrities and their jet-setting lifestyles.