Perception Is A Bitch

Perception is a fickle bitch.

phot by abe novey via flickr creative commons

photo by abe novey via flickr creative commons

We “see” the world through our own unique filters and experiences.  That little Stay-Puff Marshmallow between your ears contains some amazing circuitry, capable of firing off millions of messages to our central nervous system.  We are hard wired to identify a potential threat and react – fight, or flight.

photo by jack two via flicker creative commons

What I Imagine My Brain Looks Like                                photo by jack two via flicker creative commons

Who is to say that we actually visualize things in the same way?  It would  explain why people fawn over certain movie celebrities, when I look at the same person and think, “I don’t get it,” or, “What do you see in him?”

from id iom via flickr creative commons

from id iom via flickr creative commons

Maybe its something in our individual wiring that makes us see and perceive things differently.  I’ve run into this before.  Check this out:

A dark costal river on the Northern Jamaican coast

A dark coastal river on the Northern Jamaican coast

This scene in Jamaica, for example.  Wifey gushed over the tropical foliage and the sunset on soft flowing river.  I saw a place to dump a body.

More recently, we ventured into a secluded redwood grove.  Tall, stately ancient trees with an enveloping sense of peace, she said. Imagine what could hide in the shadows, I said. You decide. And if I lift the hem of my nerd-skirt you can envision an Ewok village tucked into the tree branches.


That got me thinking about perception. Do we really all see the same thing? See it the same way? If we view a thing, or a place and perceive it as beautiful, or ugly, or harsh, are we actually “seeing and processing” the visual information the same way.


Beautiful, or harsh?

Might explain why some people “see” with hatred and bigotry. Racism could be a short-circuit in our perceptional hardwiring, causing different reactions from similar people. Then there is the whole learned behavior side of the issue.

But, the idea of perception and the wiring in our brains, got me noodling on a book idea. If a traumatic brain injury caused a man to change his “perception” of the people around him, how would that change his life? If this re-wiring of his brain allowed him to see people for who they really are; greedy, jealous, deceitful, everything he knew before the injury would change.

I might add that to my To Be Written pile, it might be fun to throw in some paranormal influences in the mix, something I’ve been looking to try for a while.

What about you? Whatcha’ working on?

Don’t forget to check out my bookstore page to take advantage of the e-book price drop and other social offers as they are announced.


  1. Love that book idea! I couldn’t help but notice, though, that your perceptions tend to be a bit on the spooky side – places for creeps to hide in wait or dump a body. I admit I’m quite curious as to where those perceptions come from. 😉

    1. Yeah, you caught me Lori. I do tend to go for the darker elements. I worked in prisons for the better part of 20 years, maybe that had something to do with it. Or raising two kids. Either way, lots and lots of drama. Thanks Lori!

  2. I read an article a couple of months ago that people who always see the negative in situations are actually wired that way. Would this mean that people who are always upbeat are wired the opposite? How would would cope after a TBI if they went from happy optimist to negative pessimist? Sounds like a nightmare to me.

    1. You do hear many accounts of a change in personality after a TBI. That is pretty scary stuff. The person you’ve come to know is replaced by this, new different and negative (sometimes violent) person. There would be a huge challenge in adapting to the new relationships and outlook on life. Thanks for the comments, my Dear.

  3. Interesting thoughts… I’ll piggyback on Old Things R New’s point by asking a question: If happiness is inherited at least in part, does it makes sense that lack of happiness or viewing situations in a negative light might also be part of our genetic code?

    1. Good point Elle. There is evidence that depression and Alzheimer’s has a genetic component, so is it too much of a leap to think that our perception filters are adjusted by our DNA? We’ve seen people in similar situations and one will wallow in self pity and another will be perfectly content. Lots to ponder…

      Thanks Elle.

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