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THINK

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Perception

Perception is our perception and interpretation of what we sense with the eye, ear, taste, smell and touch.

Interpretation is central to understanding in relation to perception, since what we see, hear, taste, smell and touch undergoes a mental process that "filters" what we perceive so that it fits our assumptions. When you see, taste and touch an orange, you know, for example. that it is an orange because you have learned that it looks like that and tastes a certain way. There is a language for it and you can argue that it cannot be anything other than an orange.

 

We may end up transferring the same stylized conclusions to other contexts where it is not appropriate. A good example of this is when meeting someone you don't know. You quickly read the person's appearance, hear what they say and how they say it. Maybe they smell of a perfume or something else you like or don't like.

 

You take in all these sensory impressions in a flash and interpret them based on assumptions you carry with you. This is what we often call the "first impression". We form a framework in which we can "understand" the person.

 

Your perception, together with your assumptions, processes a perception that the person must be a certain way, based on what you see, hear, etc. And this can lead you into a distorted interpretation of reality that can create conflict, but also make you " blind” to possibilities.

Your brain is constantly automatically "predicting" the most likely future events, based on what you have learned from the past. You prepare your perception and way of meeting experiences based on what it has predicted will happen.

 

In a way, your perception can become a self-fulfilling prophecy if you do not become aware of when this process begins and become able to step out of it.

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