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  • Writer's pictureMatt Pipes

Perception and Perspective

All I feel I have the power to tell you

Photo by Ted Ely - Photo of Matt Piper
Photo by Ted Ely

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. -Plato

While focusing on an object in front of you, take one hand and cover one eye. Continuing focus, switch hands and cover the other eye. You’ll see that the object has moved slightly, and if you keep switching, it will move from left to right. The facts are this, your eyes are on different sections of the face, and you can switch perspective. So when a person is in front of you, you must understand that their two eyes will be seeing something entirely different from yours. Not only from the 180 deg. difference, but more importantly from the separation of a unique life lived before the particular moment at which you two met. Their perception.

  • Perspective - A literal point of view - I am here, you are there - How you are currently seeing the situation - I am seeing rehearsals happen in the audience, they are seeing me from the stage.

  • Perception - A mental impression - The impression you get from a particular circumstance - My perception is that a particular comment made was rude and harsh - The reality could be that they have an inside joke, and are being ironic. Their perception is different.

While in a room full of people you are actively perceiving circumstances, and you gain several different understandings and ideas about people as you go along. It’s not like you can utilize each of these perceptions, but everyone uses this power for their survival, and for the survival of a group. When someone is speaking to you, you say different things than if you were speaking to someone else because you have a different perception of the person in front of you. There’s information that’s genuinely important too, like past traumas that you need to avoid during a conversation, the perception is that it might be a bit painful for another to delve into. That’s a useful utilization of perception.

But you can’t always rely on this, as most people’s perception is misguided. If you haven’t realized it yet, though abundant as spiritual beings, we’re limited to our perspective, and we have been all our lives. There’s only so much that one person can observe in life, there is so much that we will miss, and there’s so much that we will not know. That’s both exciting and annoying to me.

A: I wish I could live an eternal life and learn everything about everything

B: Unknowns are what keep life interesting. It would be kind of a bummer to just know everything.

(I live in a dichotomy, I get it).


Empathy Is Active, Not Passive

I don’t think we can have a conversation about perception and perspective without touching on empathy.

Empathy is the avenue in which you actively work to understand another’s perspective and perception. To step into someone else’s shoes. The attempt to see the world through their eyes.

Though we cannot actually do this, empathy is to try. Actors, artists, and writers have fantastic vessels for empathy. However, just because you have a great vessel for empathy, it doesn’t mean you are using it. Empathy is active, not passive. It’s a muscle in and of itself, and if it’s underutilized, unburstable bubbles begin to form around the self protecting our egos from someone else’s perspective and perception. Our goal is not to allow these barriers to form around us over protecting ourselves. Our goal is to break these barriers down to become so unafraid of change that maybe we can finally make steps toward a better planet.

8.1 billion people live on this planet. There are 8.1 billion human perspectives, therefore there are 8.1 billion perceptions of the perspective that is currently being held. It’s immeasurable the amount of information that is being passed and perceived in just one-second living amongst these 8.1 billion people.

But we can try. Empathy is our power to try, and therefore it’s our responsibility to practice this power. Actively, and the only tool that I can give that might help is to ask “why?” Because it becomes much easier to be an active participant in another’s life when you are made aware of why. That’s all I believe I have the power to tell you, because our perspectives will be different, and our perceptions will be different, so how you activate your empathy will also be different. But start with why, ask the questions, and make the attempt to understand. Always.

Much love today and every day,

Matt Piper 🐅🌱

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