Room For Error
Perceptions are portraits not photographs. Daniel Gilbert
Personal perception, the way a person sees things, may not be the way things are or the way others see things. Kathryn Schulz, in one of my favorite books, Being Wrong, makes this point about perception. She says the major reason we can get things wrong is that our perception of reality is always our interpretation of reality; this implies wiggle room.
I realize that this wiggle room is what I have been writing about for years. What one observes (perception) is always subjective (a mental interpretation). Believing is seeing. Whenever there is belief there is interpretation and room for error. The reason the wiggle room of perception is important is that the way we see things determines the way we do things. Beliefs become behavior.
Although I write about this wiggle room, I am not sure I have personally conquered it, although I think I know how. To downsize this wiggle room and reduce my chance of error, first requires me to acknowledge it. This I believe I have done. Then I need to expand the way I see things (my subjective perception). To do so, I need to ask myself and a trusted friend:
What am I not seeing?
What am I not paying attention to?
Is my interpretation biased, accurate?
How is my memory, or lack of it, interfering?
What does my behavior (the way I do things) tell me about my perception
(the way I see things)?
I am not sure how often I ask myself these questions. And I don’t often ask a trusted companion for feedback, although sometimes I get it without asking. Do you acknowledge the possible existence of wiggle room in your perception? Have you ever asked yourself these questions or asked for feed back?
Much of what we take to be perceptions are actually conceptions, mental and not empirical. Ken Wilber