Random ramblings of a mind damaged by years of disuse and abuse. Also a place to go to be bored to tears.
The Random Comic Strip
Words to live by...
"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."
(The right to looseness has been officially given)
"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."
Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Perception is reality? Or maybe not...
We are perceptive people, are we not? Actually, I think our perceptions are programmed by genetics and environment. Consider that our genetic make-up is a mixture of our parents' genes. Their genetic make-up is a mixture of their parents'. Our genetic make-up is set at conception. But we are also influenced by the people around us. From the day we are born, our parents have a huge influence on how we view the world around us. All of the people that come into and leave our lives have some influence on how we view the world. Most of us find our views have changed over the years, more for some than for others.
Think about it. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, teachers, coaches, boyfriends or girlfriends, friends in general, bosses, mentors, even many people you think you are influencing. Life is not a one-way street. More like Newton's Third Law of motion. "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." Except the reactions are not always equal.
What I mean by that is we are influenced almost imperceptibly much of the time. Consider the Big Lie theory: That if you tell a big enough lie and repeat it often enough, people will eventually come to believe it. It is the theory behind saturation advertising. And it doesn't have to be a big lie, or even a lie at all. It can be a distortion, an opinion, even the truth. Eventually, repeated enough, it will be perceived as valid and important information. But we, subconsciously, select what is "true" and what isn't. We accept as true that with which we are most comfortable. We reject what makes us uncomfortable. And then we reinforce it by blocking out that which makes us uncomfortable (by not watching or reading it).
This is why the media is so important. Especially when it comes to politics. What we see and hear influences how we perceive things. Rightly or wrongly, we form opinions based on these things. How we perceive (I believe) is decided by genetics. By that I mean how we decide what is valid and what isn't on a very basic level. Perhaps we could say on the "molecular" level. The various influences of parents, relatives, friends, acquaintances, and others who come into our lives add another layer; the thickest one.
And then we are bombarded with advertisements, opinion pieces, and the very subtle bias that is in most news. In most cases, the bias is not blatant though we often think it is. That bias is reflected in what stories are run or stressed. And it is done at the editor level on newspapers and news blogs and at the producer and director level on TV shows. Some of that bias in television slips into the regular programming.
How do we function independently? How do we form our own opinions? I don't think we do. Well, I don't think the great majority of us do. A few rare individuals might but the rest of us are following the path of least resistance, accepting the peer pressure of those around us, accepting what we see and hear as our own.
It takes courage and determination to break away from the "conventional wisdom" and form a unique opinion. Even that might have been influenced by our early upbringing and our genetic make-up. Why we feel comfortable with a certain ideology might be because our genetic make-up established the "filters" with which we determined the importance (or lack of) of the input we got from all those others as we grew up.
It's something to think about when you consider how you feel about the political parties and the politicians.