Friday, April 23, 2010

Reality – or something like it

The other day I took the kids to the Cineplex in Rawalpindi – and right next to it is a simulated roller coaster ride which my son and I decided to try.

In a small darkened room, they put you in a chair that has force-feedback, give you 3D glasses, and run the show. And boy what a ride ! The illusion of being on a roller coaster is so real that I had to close my eyes on a couple of sharp turns (much to the chagrin of my son when I told him later!).

And it got me thinking how easy it is to fool our senses and our perception of where we really are. Marketers use this insight all the time of course, convincing us that we need stuff by playing on our perception of our needs. We know perfectly well that we should know our needs better than the commercial on television – but we’re drawn to it nevertheless.

In life too, our entire view of the world is really a perception. Two people can look at the same thing, go through the same experience and come away with totally different conclusions. The world is infinitely complex, the “3D-glasses” in our mind are infinitely adjustable. Our prejudices, our fears, our desires, our love – everything shapes the reality around us.

We spend years trying to find the perfect world, but maybe sometimes we need to look at our existing world through new glasses.


  1. And perhaps take off the rose coloured ones?

  2. I was in the "early education world" for 10 years or so. Training teachers and staff I used to tell them, "perception IS reality." When Joe thinks Sue hit him on purpose--even though she really his "world" it was on purpose and you MUST deal with that. Our preconceived notions, our history, culture, and past...paints hues and shadows, colors our futures.

    Objectivity....elusive if not impossible. (smile) But worth striving for, absolutely.

  3. @Chantel: That's well put. I'd agree. Preconceived notions, putting people in pre-marked boxes, one has to face them and deal with them.