2014-02-14 / Columnists

The Inner Voice

By Marilyn Gelfand

I have been thinking about perception. We see things and draw conclusions from them. Recently I was looking on the computer at a picture of Albert Einstein that turns into Marilyn Monroe if you stand further back or in my case put on my glasses. There is also a picture of a tree that if you continue to look at it turns into two profile faces. If we weren’t told that there was more than one way to look at these pictures, we would assume that what we saw was what was there alone. We wouldn’t think of looking at it any differently.

Now we are having a cold and snowy winter for us. I spoke to a friend in Tennessee who told me how much snow they have had which was an inch or two. Then my friend in Buffalo told me that they are laughing because they had three times as much snow as we have had and it is perfectly normal. So is anything more than a feeling we have that describes something that we feel that is predictable or something out of our ordinary life? Are our perceptions about anything even factual at all?

Then we can look at how our facts are reported in the media. We were brought up to think that the media’s job was to report the facts and we draw our own conclusions. We all know that there is a slant on how the news is reported based on what the media wants us to perceive. Is George Bush or Bill Clinton a good president? Is Obamacare good or bad for us? What does the rise in unemployment mean? There is a spin on everything. How can a person possibly hope to get to the actual facts? Do we just look at what agrees with our general opinion and then say it is a reality?

It is important to realize that our thoughts and beliefs so often follow what we observe. What we observe may or may not be a real fact. The more we can be open or interested in finding out information to draw our own conclusions, the closer our perceptions can be to what is real. It doesn’t really matter what others think as much as it is to remember that what other people call facts may be just their twists on what is real. Be open, check it out, and decide for yourself what is important to keep in mind. Life is short so we must make it our own.

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