Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Perception: The Two-Headed Monster

Perception: the act or faculty of apprehending by means of the senses or of the mind; cognition; understanding. (As defined by Dictionary.com)

If you and I stood side by side and watched an argument unfold between our friends (a close friend of yours and a close friend of mine), we would walk away with different perceptions of what occurred.

We saw the same thing, heard the same words, and yet upon retelling the story, our personal biases will change our perceptions.

I will see things slanted one way, and upon retelling my story it won't sound like yours.  Sure, the same words or actions may appear in both, but the intent behind them will be observed differently.  My perception of the argument--the way my senses apprehended things--will be vastly different.

It happens all of the time in eye witness statements.  They will describe the burglar in an armed robbery in so many different ways that the police have no way of narrowing it down to one identity.
"He was short with blond hair" one will say.
"He was medium height, brown hair, and a mustache."  Another will be sure.

Who we are and how we see the world changes our perception of our surroundings.  There are two sides to every story; how you tell your side of the story depends on your perception of the proceedings.

Today I delve into the idea of the two-headed monster.  Ironically enough, it comes back to my recent theme of words.  Our perceptions don't really matter to the rest of the world until we voice them.  I can feel one way about something, but if you don't know then you can't be offended, pleased, outraged, or capable of changing it.

I'm currently positioned more or less on one side of a Two-Headed Monster.
I'm not going to go into details about the heads or who belongs to which brain.  That's not my style.  This blog is for others to read and glean a nugget of wisdom, comedy, or human frailty--not a place for me to rat out friends and acquaintances.

But when we find ourselves attached to one of the Monster's two heads, how do we proceed?

Do we openly air out our feelings?  Or do we bottle them up and hope the war dies down?  Is there a blood bath?  A calm before a storm, or sudden explosion?

Regardless of how we take on the Two-Headed Monster, we all face it from time to time.  Ignoring it simply spreads gossip and descent.  Whether you're one of the heads, or watching the two heads duke it out--the Two-Headed Monster is alive amongst us all.

How are you going to keep it from ruining your relationships?  How do you remain impartial?
Do you remain impartial?

I'd like to say I do--I'd like to say that, just as with Spock, logic always wins out.  But that isn't the case.  I'm a human, with human emotions; I have a tendency to show bias and be blind.

But I do know one thing:
If I bottle up my feelings, never tell, never complain--how could I ever expect my situation to change?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Type. Type. Type. Delete...delete...delete...

Only last night I returned from a vacation with a group of friends to Vegas.  Truth be told, Vegas is not exactly my cup of tea.  I enjoyed my time there with my friends, had several laughs, bought a few cute things, and gambled away 5 whole dollars, but if I never went back I wouldn't have lost any quality of life.

One thing Vegas is AMAZING for is people watching.  Talk about the baseness of humanity.  My interactions and observations with several drunkards left me with a new perspective on our inhibitions.  It make me think.

I recently started revising one of my novels.  I don't love revision--it's not my favorite part.  I know several writers who adore the revision process; it's where their juices start flowing.  Not me.  I was not blessed there.  The whole choosing which words to stay, how to phrase and structure, and strengthening.  Blah.
But in Vegas, I started wondering about how we as humans edit ourselves.  A drunk edits nothing--this I learned.

What would happen if we were handed a transcript at the end of the day of our thoughts, words, and actions?  Written out, just as an author writes our for his or her character, in third person objectively.  How would we see ourselves?  Reading my own thoughts on a page, knowing my latest eye roll is permanently inked, or reading the superfluous amount of words I used in conversation (I'm chatty).

How would I feel?  How would you feel?

And what happens if I am required to then give this transcript to another person so THEY can see what I've done with my day?

If I observed this day's worth and went back to edit/revise the way I do my novels--what would I take out?  Obviously I would kill the use of words such as "like", "that", and "um".  I would clean up my bratty actions and unkind thoughts filled with language I wouldn't dare say aloud.

But that's the thing.  All of it is now out loud.  By putting something in writing, we force even our character's private most thoughts to be seen (and heard) by all.

Doesn't it make you feel a bit gross?

You can argue "my thoughts are private".  But they aren't.  Not really.  Everything comes out into the light eventually, and God hears it all.

So what do we do with this knowledge?  Well, I write this blog, and you read it.
Then we go back to our days as though nothing is different.

We still think ugly thoughts about people: hateful, lustful, greedy, jealous, base.
We still say an inordinate amount of words: Like oh my gosh!  So then anyway...(Why do we even need so. then. AND anyway?)
We still make rude gestures and faces at people when we think they can't see.

The only difference between a drunk man and a sober man (or woman) is the drunk is less discrete.  He/she announces the thoughts they might've kept private (hateful, lustful, giddy, stupid, complimentary or otherwise).  They aren't capable of hiding the eye roll or look of disgust.  They slur their words, but still talk incessantly.

So if the only difference is that you don't SEE and HEAR my disgust, but I still think/feel it...how am I any better than a drunk?

And how do I walk away from this blog and keep the lesson I've learned?
Talk less--listen more
Less physical attitude--practice patience and love
Less negativity in my thought life--more prayerful compassion and understanding.

Now what are you going to do about it?