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What do you do with closed-minded people? How do you attempt to speak to them? Is there a hope of change in their perceptions? Do they have an actual interest in becoming better “meaning-makers” at all? I’ve been attempting (really trying hard) to dig into some people’s mentalities for a while, and they continuously close the door. Worse yet, is that they have not only attempted, but have succeeded, in dragging others down with them. They’ve influenced others, closing their minds to all else. They are bias, unfair, and completely one-sided so much as to take down that which isn’t what they agree with. Yet, they scold those who do not partake in being fair, and open to other’s opinions, hypocritically. They attempt and encourage those to not attempt to press issues that are meaningless to them, and do not fit their own agenda.

Sound like a person you know? Have you seen this type of stuff anywhere?

How do you handle those who twist things for their cause, whatever that cause may be? How do you handle one’s inability to realize the “pushiness” of information, and the weight in which it has on others? Do you know people who say and publish that which only fits their own way of thinking? Do you know people who degrade people, and laugh at them when they don’t agree? How do you handle unfair thinking? How does a person go about getting a message to these people, letting them know that they aren’t part of a world at large, but only part of their own world. That their mind, and their perceptions… are that, and only that… their own.

This is the reason why you won’t eat certain foods when you have only just looked at it. It’s the reason why you make all decisions the way you do. It’s the precise reason why you can feel passionate about something, and hate all other things, and go out of your way to blatantly attack that which isn’t what you are, or what you like. It’s because of perception, and it’s controlling you like a puppet. It’s controlling everyone like a puppet.

A great example of this is in regards to foods. More specifically, “gross” foods. If you went to a party, and somebody said “here try this soup”, would you try it? Sure, why not, you only live once right? After admitting that it taste pretty good, would you spit it out if somebody told you it was Hasma, a Chinese dish that is essentially the fallopian tubes of frogs in a soup? Changed the story for you right? You’ve seen this a lot in the movies before too. Guy goes to a party, tries a dish and says “hey, this is pretty good, what is it?” and then when he’s told what it is, he spits it out in an overdramatic fit. Why does he feel it’s disgusting now, even after he tried it? Perception not only is changed by our experiences, but it also shapes how we experience everything as well.

The wars of perception are foolish. They mean nothing, yet those who partake in them take it very personal. They believe it to be a way of attacking them. What am I referring to? Well, there are many examples, but for this, I’ll use the example of the “war” with iPhone users and Android phone users. I use this, not because it is the best example by any means. It’s far from it. I use it because it hits closest to me right in this moment, and because it is most relevant to the type of people I fail to get the point to every day.

To further this process, I thought I’d give a bit of background on what perception really is. Many people believe they understand perception, thinking it’s simply how a person thinks about something, but they would be misguided in assuming this term has such a simple interpretation. Perception shapes your existence. Perception guides you along your life, and is responsible for the decisions you make in life. Perception is not just how you see something, but rather, it influences exactly how you experience something.

What we “perceive” is largely a function of our previous experiences, our purposes, and our assumptions. A perceiver decides what something is, where it is, and why it is according to their own purpose and the assumptions that they make at a given time. People will perceive what they want to perceive, and based on previous experience, the perceiver will be led to assume that it will “work” for them. People are very unlikely to alter their perceptions until, or unless, they become frustrated in their attempts to do something based on them. Simply put, if our actions seem to permit us to fulfill our purposes or our goals, we will not change our perceptions no matter how often are told they are wrong. The meaning of “wrong” in itself is a perception that does not work for the perceiver.

So, as far as going into my iPhone versus Android argument, a person will perceive what they want to perceive about that device, and they will experience exactly what they want to experience. If they go to a phone thinking “Oh yeah, I’m sure Apple has gotten some really awesome features in this new one,” then they’ll experience a positive result from it. Likewise is that of an Android device. If you go into it thinking “oh man, Androids are so cool, I can’t wait to try one for myself,” then you will always perceive that device to be the best thing in the world. Those same Android lovers will also look at an iPhone on the shelf, perhaps considering to try it out in a subtle way, but if they are looking at it as a”piece of junk” or as something” inferior to their Android”…. then this is exactly what they will experience. It’s not that it actually is, it’s that your perceptions, based on pervious experience, make you biased one way, or the other. Does this mean you are wrong? Only if it doesn’t fulfill your needs.

Perfect example is that of the famous headline in the New York Times, an article published on the front page on August 8, 1967 by John Leo which stated in big bold letters:

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“STUDY INDICATES PUPILS DO WELL WHEN TEACHER IS TOLD THEY WILL”

The study, by Professor Rosenthal, demonstrates that test rats performed far better when experimenters were told that the rats had been specifically bred for intelligence, and that these were smarter than the other rats. The statement was false of course, but the study wasn’t about the rats. It was about the experimenters. All of the rats turned in poor performance, but the group that had been previously announced to have been more intelligent before the test (having turned in similar results) received far better scores. The experimenters took into account certain mannerisms that these rats had, paid attention to the positive decisions they made, and tended to forgive a bit more on certain mishaps and mistakes. Although the rats did virtually identical things (including following the actions of those before them, like sheep in a flock), the “more intelligent” rats received better scores. All of them, and by a good margin.

The study then took this into a school system, where actual children were used in this subtle social experiment on perception. A small group of first and another group of second graders in a South San Francisco high school were “predicted” to be smarter, and were going to make dramatic gains in schoolwork. Sure enough, by the end of the study term, only the students that were predicted to make these gains actually did, and not a single other student had such a dramatic change. The only people told the prediction, was the teachers. Not the students… not the parents. Just the teachers.

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The main thing you should take from this, is that our perceptions come from us, and they will affect others. They don’t come from outside sources, and the world around us. They are formed from our past experiences, and every single person will perceive what is “out there” in a unique way. There is no common world. You must be willing to see, and accept other people’s point of view. This is the problem I’m having with people. They won’t open their eyes.

I don’t care which way this person swings, they are capable of seeing another’s point of view. The issue is, they refuse to, intentionally blocking that which they don’t immediately agree with. This is bias. This is what I’ve been attempting to instill into them. They aren’t “wrong” because they aren’t “wrong” for them. That’s the criteria in being wrong with perception: being wrong for you. It stands obvious then, that these bias people have no business telling others what they like, or rather, how to like. Furthermore, these people have no ability to tell another person what is better or worse. What is “a tinker-toy,” what is “just as good,” or what is “junk.” It is in their world, and no one else’s that these statements are real. There is no common ground, because our perceptions of the world never come from the outside. They only form, and remain, from the inside. The meaning something has in this world, is directly, and solely influenced, on your own mindset. Your own perceptions shape the world around you, and mean nothing to anybody else.

Here’s a question for you: Two people are walking outside when it begins to rain. One person takes and runs over to a nearby building to get out of the water, while the other continues to walk. Which one of these people are right in their actions? – If you said, “they both are” then you’d be right. These two people can both identify that it’s raining. They understand what the rain is, and where it comes from (or perhaps they don’t, but their knowledge of its origin is irrelevant). They can identify it, with language, as rain. Yet, they react differently to it. Their perception of that rain completely alters how they respond to it. Both people are acting as they are right, because to them, they are. Would one be willing to tell the other one they are wrong for doing it? Be willing to tell the other that what they are doing is stupid, or not the best option? Probably not.

But some people are willing to do that about phones though. Odd right?

The biggest part, and the main reason why I am struggling to get through to people, is because the meaning of perception is how it causes us to act. The mindset of a stubborn, belligerent, egotistical, self-centered version of a human being isn’t something that can be easily penetrated. Getting thoughts into a person like this takes patience, and a persuasive skill that I lack. What’s worse is that their influence (which they likely realize at this time) has a negative impact on the experiences of those which do not share the same viewpoint on topics. Topics like the debate between what is the better platform: Android or iPhone.

It’s a silly debate. Quite pointless. Why debate it at all? Why force that struggle upon the community they are a part of? Perhaps they actually believe that that which they can name, actually exists as they name it. Perhaps they believe (falsely) that they are thinking for themselves, and are independent of the world around them. Do they not realize they aren’t special in any way? Do they truly believe that there is the giant world out there, and THEN there is them? Like they are somehow existing aside from the rest?

What gives this debate such a solid foundation is the impact it actually has on human emotion. People truly feel as though they are a part of something bigger, as if they are on the winning team or something. What’s comical about the situation are those they call terms like “iSheep” and “Fanboy.” Does your passionate, one-sided actions against that person not make you a “fanboy” as well? Does your inability to take that other person’s opinion, far from that of your own, not make you a blind follower (sheep) as well? It’s all about perception people. If you don’t see yourself as a sheep, to you, you aren’t. If you see somebody else as a sheep, to you, they are. In reality… everyone is a sheep.

Nobody is “themselves” and nobody is capable of truly being “just who they are.” All of your decisions throughout your entire life have been questioned, twisted, bent, formed, pushed, yelled, enforced, taught, and planted within your mind since the day you became self-aware. Your cultural background shaped you, not you. Your religious background, instilled upon you from other people who told you it was real, and told you to believe it blindly, shaped you, not you. You aren’t any different from anybody else, and yet you still feel it’s appropriate to talk down to others. You are a fool, and will remain a fool for as long as your perceptions on life remain as they are.

Until you realize that there is no ultimate “better” platform to be on. Until you realize that “your own thoughts” on what is best, is only “your own thoughts” because of your perceptions, you’ll continue to fight. Your perceptions determine your mindset, it determines how you conceive the world, which is a shame, because your perceptions are also there, deep within your mind, long before you ever live the moment you are thinking of living right now. Mentalities that say something is “gross” simply because of how it looks, is unfair thinking, and it keeps you from experiencing it. Then, when you take that mentality, and “preach” how gross it is to others, you influence them, just as others have influenced you, and you may have just prevented them from experiencing something they love more than anything else in the world.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t express opinions. Far from it. it does mean, however, that making absolute statements is inflicting damage when the root of those absolute statements comes from an individual perspective. Saying “something is a joke” is an obvious opinion, but it’s also extremely bias. Rather, saying “that wouldn’t work as well for me” is a far better assessment, and it’ll never get you into trouble. The moment you stop believing that your word is law, and that your views are “correct” in any definition of the word… then you will be.

So… Can perception be changed? Yes it certainly can, and it is changing all of the time in minor increments. Perhaps yours has just undergone that change right now. By having realized how perception affects your judgement, you can have an altered perception. Hopefully to better your life. Hopefully, to better the lives of others. Hopefully to make the world around you, the web community you are part of, or wherever you want to be, a better place. Just know that in some cases, and with some people, you shouldn’t waste your time. I’ve just decided to cut my losses, and I know I’ll be happier. It doesn’t mean give up on people, but there are just going to be those people who won’t change, and when you can identify that… it’s time to move on.

Because in the end… none of that stuff even matters anyways. It was never about the phones. It was always about the people, and you never realized it.

(photo credit: planetpit.com)

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