The human mind is only as potent as you want it to be, decide to turn it off and like a obedient appliance, it will shut down! Join me here for this weekend article on deciphering why perceptions almost always have a strangle hold over reality- read truth- truths about us, about the people, the society, the universe around us! So here we go!
To begin with, one must understand the challenges of dealing with truth, one part of that is, truth is always contextual and the second part is that truth is always difficult. I am not going to write in further depth and give a class on the “philosophy of truth” but in simple layman’s terms, as I have always been saying, “Each person’s truth is true”. Chaos and ambiguity commences when the others around either refuse to see the truth alongside of the context of the person who owns it or they observe the part which suits them and race ahead to draw inferences around that small limited understand- mis-understanding! Perceptions on the other hand are fun to engage with, like some stimulating, hallucinatory medicine, they engage and play with the human mind to create imagery, narratives and motives (for subsequent disastrous actions). If you are wondering why it is easy to shake hands with perceptions- well it taxes the brain much much less and as I have been saying- the human brain only cares if you are going to be dead- all that does not kill you is fine for your brain and that is the truth about the human mind!
The fact remains though that truth is easy to engage with and deal with only and only if people are able to do so holistically while connecting with the beholder of the truth and the contexts around it in the same moment of time! This is what judiciary is all about! Analyzing and observing comprehensive contexts of facts and data that arrive in front of them- read -evidence. This is what takes time and even at a people to people level engagement- whether they are members of your family, friends, co-workers, the feared politicians, bureaucrats,who ever you can think about- each one of them can be engaged with and dealt with only when you begin to invest enough time and mind to understand the origins of the truth that they hold on to- and as you begin to do that- you will be surprised to know that many of the truth’s that people hang on dearly to are more often than not – reinforced powerful narratives based on perceptions constructed over time- days, weeks, months, years and in case of political arenas and running or ruining of nations and societies- these are developed and curated over generations and through decades!
The eternal battle between “truth” and “perceptions” (often held on to as the truth) has been another hallmark of human societies- only societies and nations that have been able to successfully and selectively engage with few truths and many perceptions have made progress! Societies which have over-indulged into wanting to decipher the “absolute truth” have always suffered on an ongoing basis, simply because the only real absolute truth in the world is “death”! Everything else around is contextual and set to a specific audience and social scenario! But why this whole obsession around with “truth” and what allows perception to emerge and race ahead!
Well, what I think would have been the case is that as human societies began to evolve, there would have been a need to share innovation and knowledge and hence the compelling need to be “truthful” because anything short would almost always mean someone not making it back from the wild! You see back then if you were a soldier on guard or a hunter in the woods or a farmer in the fields, the only way to improve your skills and competence would be “wise words” from the “masters” who are the modern day equivalent of quality research journals- albeit which stand the scrutiny of being peer reviewed. Hence this is one of the many other genesis of applying the “Gold standard” to the virtue of beholding “truth” – to share it for the greater good! But as times and centuries changed, over simplification of truth started to back fire- and societies soon began to have a cohort of people who were second to none and from there emerges the birth of the war of narratives and development of perception- to tell the world why “A’s truth (which may again be a perception) is better than B’s). To this day, if you carefully observe the world is stuck with this same crap! Whether it’s your relatives, friends, offices, societies, governments, groups, whatever you choose to observe- you will find that people are more often than not dealing with the long overgrown shadows of perception rather than dealing with what the truth really is and this mindless, endless loop goes on to consume the human mind which after a point simple maxes out and basically is telling you, “whatever, you deal with this shit, I am fine as long as you don’t get killed”! Importantly our modern societies have ended up incentivising the pursuit of perceptions over truths and that has further helped perceptions race ahead of the truth!
You see, truth is plain vanilla- it is almost always a binary- either something is or isn’t , there is nothing more to add to create drama and intensity- you see like you believe in God or you don’t, you don’t sometimes believe in God based on your convenience! So your truth is that you are either a believer or an atheist and that’s about it- but this becomes boring- so how do I make this exciting and more entertaining- well I say you are too simple to be true, your are too uncomplicated to be real, I say, your approach to your faith is cause driven and with these small sparks of ignition, when I begin to create and weave stories the real essence of who you are gets left far behind and what the building narrative begins to do is, it very much starts to portray your perception from the eyes of the people who essentially want you to be known “as what and how they perceive or rather want you to be perceived as” What makes this so potent- well, it is effortless as easy as that meaningless gossip and as easy as intentionally throwing a few odd pebbles to create the ripples and let the “perception aggregators” do the rest! If you wondered why politicians give a damn to the media, well this is the reason- for they know a tad too well how to deal with perceptions and under the belt blows when their contextual truths (if they have any) are served on a platter as perceptions for the masses ort lap it up! So what’s the way ahead? Can and do societies win the war of perceptions and allow truth to have it’s place?
The answer is YES and a NO; Yes societies can change the narrative but for that it calls for a much orchestrated effort which is directly in proportion to the ability of the collective minds to be able to discern and see “what is” and “what is being told it is”! For this to happen you need social frame work which incentives people who are able to present the “what is” narratives and allow people to make up their own views and inferences- simply because each one sees “what is” from the context of “who they are and where they stand ” in the social scheme of things, needless to say also what we need to factor in the ability of their minds to deal with the whole space of the taxing discerning exercise which is o vital to sieve away “the what is” from “what it is said to be”.
The NO emerges from the very YES of this space! Simply because bulk of human kind is so caught up with the effort to simply survive is that, they hardly ever are in the time and space which allows them to be so methodical and clinical to understand and decipher between the real and the apparent and for the few from the society who have that option more often than not it is the case of “who will throw stones at other glass castles, when have their own”! This is why functional societies tend to lap up perceptions more readily than realities as they serve as a pivot to get even. This is the reason why societies stay replete with struggle and strife for one or the other reason around the world, all the time, because that’s what keeps the perceptions ticking and as long as they keep floating, the truth is boxed-in, in a tight corner unable to come ahead, unless and until there is some large scale systemic dysfunction which collapses the society and a new order begins to emerge. If the new order banks on the selective elements of truth, there is much respite, change and stability, however if the new order too begins to go the old ways, it’s just a matter of time before societies end into the dysfunctional stage one more time and this cycle goes one with truth remaining pushed in a corner with no one wanting to care about it! So what’s the meaningful way ahead?
Functional and operational societies tread a balanced path between truth and perceptions and you can apply this thought to individuals as well! As long as there is a fine balance between devoting the just time and space to appreciate the contextual truths on things that matter and soaking in perceptions (to know the truth- not the served perception), things will be just fine and you can very well mark yourself and your society as “safe”. The moment this changes, for whatever reason it may be- things will begin to change (good or bad) depends on who you get caught up as in that space! Depending on which side the leaning is more- either you will end up with people and societies which are vanilla, plain, with “people for rules” kind of environment (when you choose more of truth) or you end up in a fast paced, narrative driven and loud society (when you give in to perceptions far more than the reality) and you often find that here you have “rules for people”. There is nothing right and wrong between what societies or individuals choose to be- whatever the choice may be- the movement of the society or the individual will always be striving for hat lost balance and as the effort inches towards that balance progress is achieved and as it moves away you witness regression- societal and individual!
I leave you with these thoughts for now, allowing you to pursue your sense of balance, because what your contextual truth is, is yours’ and there is noting that changes that- not even powerful narratives emerging from driven perceptions! Be comfortable in your truth, for that alone will allow you to counter the narratives of perceptions that come at you!
Ciao for now, will be back soon with another piece, until than stay safe, stay wise and observe “what is” not “what seems to be”!