Learning to See

We only perceive the things that we are programmed to perceive.

We recognize only the things for which we have mental maps and categories.

As such, mental maps and categories govern our perception.

Therefore, understanding the mental maps and categories that govern our behavior, the behavior of our communities, and those that lead us is paramount to seeing the world as it is

A simple example to explain what I mean:

Pro wrestling is fake.

Somewhere around the age of 8 or 10 years old, someone told us that pro wrestling was fake.
Each of our reactions likely differed – disbelief, confusion, anger or sadness.
However, because we trusted the person that delivered the news, we decided to put in the effort to see for ourselves.
Suddenly, we see that every move and every interaction is scripted.
We see that the elbow drops don’t make contact.
We see the fake blood.

The thing is, once you see that it’s fake, that it’s scripted, that it’s all invented – you understand how it works and you think about it differently.
From that moment on you can no longer unsee what you had previously failed to see.
Your perception is forever altered.

A few questions to consider:

What is school really for (here’s a hint)?
What really drives the economy?
What does television distract us from? How to broadcasters make money? (here’s a thought)

What does that tell us about their incentives?To educate? To entertain?
Why do we go to war?
Why is the national defense budget larger than and grows at a faster and more consistent rate than the budget for education (by a rate of 6 to 1, if you’re curious)?

The biggest barrier to learning how to see is fear.
It’s scary to see the world as it is.
It makes us confront the assumptions that we may have inaccurately grown accustomed to.
It forces us to ask why, the answer to which is usually not readily available or emotionally comforting.
Most importantly, it forces us to change our behavior and to act as if.
To act as if we have the power to change how other people see the world.
To act as if we don’t have to do things merely because “that’s how they have always been done.”
To act as if we care.

As we learn to see, our posture is forever changed.

As I see it, there are only two options:

1. Embrace the tension
2. Keep believing that pro wrestling is real

The choice is yours.