Posts Tagged ‘reality’

“No two animals…”

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

I was listening to the radio this morning and heard a scientist, Professor Brian Cox, say “No two animals see the world in the same way.”  He was referring to how catfish sense things through the murky waters via vibrations on the river bed and a swarm of chemicals in the river. Another example would be how, for instance, snakes find their prey via heat sensors near where their nose is.  Bats and dolphins use echo location, bees and other insects use infra red wavelengths to see markings on flowers that we can’t see.  So he was illustrating that different species have a whole spectrum of senses they each deploy in different ways to map and explore their worlds. 

As humans we are used to the idea that blind people can find their way, unsighted, through environments that are highly complex and would bewilder a sighted person; perfumiers can distinguish an amazing complexity of scents, similarly wine growers have a much keener ability to analyse tastes. 

However, his statement is true at a much more basic, though more subtle level.  We each have our own little world, which we label ‘real’; we have a set of rules of what is right and fair, and how things ‘should’ be.  We have a set of values and beliefs about what is true and how the world is.  Some of these come from our upbringing, our societal and familial beliefs, some from our experiences.  We each build a little inner model that helps us understand and navigate our lives.  However, what is seldom discussed or realised. is each of these unchallenged models is totally different, and we only find out about that when we get into arguments with people about what is right or real.  We often hear about how men and women have different views on what is important, or what is ‘going on’.  That is just one slightly more visible element of these different worlds we inhabit.  There is more information about this here.

We need to be aware of these unchallenged assumptions, beliefs and views as they interfere with our communication and can cause friction and arguments, just think about the troubles in the Middle East.  One really good example is how the Americans are indoctrinated into believing they are the biggest and best nation in the world and appointed by God to keep the peace… their peace, which in fact means waging war all over the world, far away from their homes!

If you wish to avoid unnecessary misunderstanding and stress remember Professor Cox’s words “No to animals..” And that includes you an me.. “ see the world in the same way”

No particular place to go…

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

I’ve been been spending much more time at home since I had to stop driving (and that is no surprise) and with that that there has been a certain withdrawal, a bit like the trees withdrawing the sap from their leaves before they drop them in the autumn.  This may just be par for the course in the grieving process… I don’t know.  It feels kind of appropriate.  However, whilst I have been getting out and doing stuff, I have noticed that there are times when ‘out’ feels different and maybe less safe.  I don’t know if this is just part and parcel of the withdrawing process or something deeper.  

It is interesting to observe how what we feel changes our experience or reality; it transforms the world into a safer (or less safe) place.  It can equally transform a situation from challenge to threat or how we feel about a person.  In short, our internal feelings shape the world we live in.  I know some people say that we can therefore control our experiences by controlling our feelings.  I can’t say this has ever been my experience and I’m therefore somewhat cynical about this aspect of things.  What is clear is that so called ‘Reality’ is a lot more fluid that we might expect.

Something happens and our viewpoint changes and suddenly we not only see but experience our worlds differently.   So perhaps the best way to change our worlds is to put ourselves in new and different places.


Friday, December 26th, 2008

Are such dangerous things, and I don’t know which are worse, our own or other people’s.  At times like this, the everyone goes into a period of mild hysteria and we conspire to brainwash each other about the ‘fun’ we are all going to have.  Hollywood and the media bombard us with saccharine, idealised Christmases that we have never experienced; just think… how many white Xmases have you known?  I think I might have had two in over fifty years.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with telling each other these tales, but when we are living a rather smaller, greyer sort reality it can feel like we are cheated.  We may feel we are failing those we love by not succeeding in being able to make their dreams come true.  Our real families maybe, and probably are more flawed than these 2D images we are shown.  Our very desires for perfection often trip us up and make for rows and upsets.

Reality is so much more complicated that any story.  It has so many strands, colours and flavours.  Our job is to accept, enjoy and deal with it in the best way we can.  If Boxing Day finds you feeling a little confused or upset, let it all go.  Forgive yourself and everyone else, get out and enjoy the day.  Where we are the light is simply fabulous, and a true gift! 

“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.”  John Lubbock

Visiting another brain…

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I had become caught up listening to Internet Radio, and the 24-7 standup comedy routines.  Now some of them are weird, some of them are wacky and some just plain not funny, but the thing that really hooks me is when someone like Eddie Izzard or Richard Prior or Robin Williams opens a little door in their head and takes us on a tour of their brains  from the inside

Now I don’t know about you, but even with family members, one seldom gets such a glimpse into their inner world.  They animate the tour with various voices and sound effects till  it feels more like a Disneyland ride than a person just talking.  They are capable of temporarily bending time and space and transporting you to an alternate reality where body parts have voices.

The thing is that we all experience this kinda-shared reality so differently and we all stay sane by ignoring this fact.  What would it be like if we had to take the time to synchronise realities with everyone we interacted with?  However, when it is important to really communicate it is a good idea to back up the conversation and make sure whether they are on Planet Me or Planet You first.

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. ”   Albert Einstein

“Reality leaves a lot to the imagination”  John Lennon

Perception or Reality?

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

I wonder how many corporate hearts have flown into corporate mouths on hearing the phrase “Let me give you some feedback“? Now don’t get me wrong, as an advocate of Change I am a big fan of feedback. I believe it is not only valuable but essential. The Universe is giving it to us all the time, but sometimes we can speed-up our learning process with some well focused, clearly expressed, positively intentioned feedback.

Feedback comes in two flavours, both positive and negative. I don’t recollect ever hearing the above phrase mentioned in the context of positive feedback. I don’t know why, no one seems to be busting a gut to tell you all the wonderful things you have done. So that phrase, inevitably seems to mean trouble.

Now there is nothing intrinsically wrong with one person telling another why they have a problem with something you have said or done. The trouble comes from them assuming that because they are not you, they are somehow independent, unbiased, and also perfectly informed! Clearly this is not the case. However, it is still possible to gain some useful information if the ‘feedback’ is delivered as just that, information. However, once again, it is usually handed out as a judgement; and a judgement from ‘on high’ as well!

Let’s take a look at two scenarios:-

Scenario 1: A & B both go the cinema, and it turns out that they saw the same film. They are sitting in different parts of the cinema, and therefore see and hear the performance slightly differently. They compare notes afterwards and discover they have seen different things, read in different messages and now have different feelings about the film. These are in part due to the slightly different perceptions and partly to their differing tastes, upbringings, educations and natures. They discuss it and now both have an enhanced view of what the film was about.

Scenario 2: A calls B into their office and says “Let me give you some feedback…” and proceeds to tell B why they have failed to complete an assignment ‘properly’. Clearly all the differences in scenario 1 still pertain, but now B assumes the Godlike right to hand out judgements. If B does anything other than say “Thank you” they are now labelled as resistant to change. At Best B has their own feelings and some different perceptions, and perhaps some more data.

If in Scenario 2 they communicated in the same spirit as Scenario 1 there would be only winners, as it is the winner and loser are decided by their positional power.

So if today finds you either in A or B’s position, please remember that if you just share information and feelings, then you both win; if you hand out judgements then you are a schmuck!

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” William Shakespeare, Hamlet

As old as you feel

Friday, May 9th, 2008

I know we have all listened to some older relative and heard them say “I don’t feel any older..” At the time, we are often looking at a grey, possibly wrinkled person, and inside they are still a youngster. I suppose it must be a pretty universal feeling but at some point we stop our inner ‘age clock’ and, despite the external evidence, we cease to age emotionally from that day.

I guess I am a little like my car. It is no longer the current model but looks and feels pretty good for its age. I still enjoy driving it; it all works perfectly, and from the driver’s seat, I seldom think about its age. The exterior is in similar condition but it has the odd nick, nudge and signs of its time on the road. However, on the forecourt, you would probably choose a newer model.

Belatedly, I am beginning to realise that perhaps I am no longer the 25 year old I once was! This is not necessarily a bad thing either from the perspective of the passing of the years and what they have brought or how I feel. I appear to have traded a little hair for some wisdom (and I have to tell you the exchange rate is rubbish!) and a family (bless them!)

However, taking a broader perspective, we all have a divergent view when it comes to internal and external perceptions of reality1. We might apparently be dealing with a middle-aged man, having an adult-to-adult conversation, and inside they feel that some nasty grown-up is telling them off! We might see a capable, experienced professional and inside they perhaps feel confused and scared. What you see is only part of what you get!

So, if the responses you are getting from people seem ‘out of whack’ with your expectations, maybe this might explain it. Try shifting how you talk to them both in terms of tone and language; experiment and see if this is more successful at reaching them.

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Mark Twain

“Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional”. Chili Davis


Hijacked in Cyber-space!

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

I’d be very interested to learn how many others experience this phenomenon. Periodically, I will come to my office intent on doing only the smallest of tasks and then moving on or out, and for a series of almost inexplicable reasons the cyber world strikes back and I encounter one little fault (perhaps the printer won’t print that bank reconciliation I am just finishing.) However, this is just a snare and illusion! As I set off to resolve this problem, suddenly something else will happen, also seemingly small (perhaps a window will freeze), this is my next step into the ‘cyber quick sand’. I go to reboot, SNAP! The jaws of the silicon trap spring shut on my day. Now I have a machine that won’t connect to the net, and in fact the network connection has seemingly vanished…

Once upon a time I’d have then lost the rest of my day trying to fix one problem after another only to get sucked in deeper and deeper, before you know it, it appears the only choice is to reinstall Windows! These days I have got a little wiser about the ways of cyber-space and know this isn’t necessarily real. “I reject your reality and substitute my own!” I cry. I now will close down the troublesome machine, and do anything but attend to it, and 9 times out of 10, if I ignore it the problem goes away.

I know this is illogical, and worse still, it is illogical in a world that is meant to be governed by logic. I can only tell you this is my experience. I’d love to hear from you if it has any resonance. So I will walk away from this troublesome box, and tomorrow is a brand new day…

A further thought to leave you with today is that just because something appears real, doesn’t mean that it is. If you are struggling with something that just doesn’t make sense, then you are probably in this position. Walk away from it. Disengage. Seek more and different inputs. Let go of logic, and trust something else to guide you.

“Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining.” Jef Raskin

“In a few minutes a computer can make a mistake so great that it would have taken many men many months to equal it.” Unknown