How Perception Works:
For Us and Against Us
Perception, without which we couldn’t get along in life, has this hidden nature build into it: it is interpretation based in assumptions. Here is one of many available demonstrations that what we see as we go about our lives is given by the interpretations we bring with us, and the assumptions, derived from our past experiences, that govern those interpretations.
Perception, then, is not a physical process. Here’s another take on that:
(For more investigations of the nature of perception, look up “Ames Demonstrations.”)
Until coronavirus, we had been living in an “optical” illusion, a perceptual construct which governed the reality of our lives together. Political polarization signals the increasing virulence of this illusion. The illusion is called Us-Against-Them.
With the advent of the pandemic, another reality has appeared, alongside the seeming solidity of perception. New Yorkers, leaning out their windows to cheer healthcare workers even amid the continued partisan shouting, bring present a different world: We-For-Each-Other. What happens when we find ourselves in a lifeboat together?
What if it didn’t take a disaster to bring us together?
What will it take to keep our mutuality present?
— and there are now hundreds more specialized efforts to bridge divides and transform division: