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"Perception is reality" - or is it?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Kathryn, Feb 26, 2011.

  1. Kathryn

    Kathryn Most Spoiled Woman Ever

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    Wow, something interesting just happened to me and it got me thinking.

    As many of you know, I had an achilles tendon rupture last fall. Consequently, my very active lifestyle came to a sudden and screeching halt. I went from walking, hiking, dancing, etc to invalid and surgery and casts and crutches and walking boots and physical therapy - ugh.

    This meant lots of sitting around and much less mobility. At one point, I got on my scales and realized with horror that I had gained about 12 pounds! My whole perception of myself was altered in a very negative way.

    I went from thinking that I looked pretty dang good to be a grandmother of seven - never slim, but certainly firm and muscular and healthy - full of energy and, frankly, pretty attractive - to seeing myself as overweight, "lame," disabled, middle aged, flaccid, weak, and basically unattractive.

    There was some truth to that -I AM middle aged, and my left leg has turned into silly putty. Also, I truly am not as firm as I once was, because of the lack of aerobic exercize my injury had caused.

    I had not stepped on the scales since probably the first week of January. No need - I knew I was fat, flabby, and disgusting. I also have not tried all that hard to lose weight - I mean, sporadically I would skip meals, or cut down on portions, but nothing really planned or disciplined.

    I started physical therapy a month ago, and that has involved three or so hours of exercize a week.

    Anyway, this morning, I was thinking, "Well, I may as well put my winter clothes up and take stock of my spring and summer wardrobe. I'm sure I'll need to buy some basics since I'm so fat. I guess I better get on the scales to see just how fat I really am."

    I HAD LOST EVERY BIT OF WEIGHT I HAD GAINED. I started pulling clothes out of the closet and trying them on and THEY ALL FIT.

    Now, of course this relieved me somewhat -even though some of my weight has shifted and I have a lot of firming up to do. But it got me to thinking, "Wow, how on EARTH could I not know that I had lost 12 pounds?"

    Do you know how hard it is to lose twelve pounds if you're really trying? Besides that - I've been clothes shopping and I would have sworn to you that nothing "normal size" fit me. I mean, I did pick up a larger size the other day and it was too big, but ... I never connected the dots...

    BECAUSE OF MY NEGATIVE SELF IMAGE.

    In other words, I couldn't see reality because I was so blinded by my own fears and insecurities and my self imposed image of how I appeared to others. Others have told me at work, "Wow, you're really looking good - have you lost weight?" and I have sincerely told them, "Heck no. I've GAINED weight," and then genuinely thought to myself, "Are they freaking kidding me? They must feel sorry for me."

    Wow. I am 49 years old and up till this very minute I really had no idea just how much we can fool ourselves when we don't have an accurate self image.

    Your thoughts?
     
  2. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    You can think and perceive all you want and actually believe what you think. Yet when it comes right down to it objectively.

    Clothes will never ever lie to you. :O)

    Good post Kathryn.
     
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  3. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva

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    This is part of what I am exploring in an offline work called "Perception IS reality". You have certainly touched on one aspect that I am exploring. Well done. The point is, if you figure out how to alter your perception, reality changes.
     
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  4. kylixguru

    kylixguru Well-Known Member

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    I wrote my first poem on this subject. It is a really short one but it gives you plenty to think about.

    Reality influences perception.
    Perception creates reality.
     
  5. opuntia

    opuntia Religion is Law

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    Life is about change. We never achieve a position in which we can stand forever. We grow old, we can grow wise, we may achieve heights we thought we never could, or we could descend into a personal hell of drug abuse and wasting away. Our bodies are certainly not a place where one will find fulfillment of peace since it is always in tension from one sort or another. We may achieve peace in our inward parts that the physical body or the world cannot reach. Peace, after all, is a spiritual attainment and not a physical one since this body will deteriorate in due time and material things lose their luster over time.
     
  6. Erebus

    Erebus Well-Known Member

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    The mind is an incredibly potent tool that a lot of people tend to overlook, you've witnessed first hand just how powerful it is. There's a reason confident people tend to be more successful in pretty much any endeavour ;)

    I couldn't agree more. Frubals.
     
  7. bobhikes

    bobhikes infinitologist
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    Take it and run with the postive.

    Look in the mirror everyday or at least tell yourself everyday all the good things you have.

    Every day, I tell my self out loud I love my wife, I love my kids, I'm good at my job, I am happy.

    You know what I am Happy and love my wife and kids.

    Every time I get a negative thought I disect it and will refute it or turn it into a positive thought.

    You know what I am at peace.

    Kathryn you have found a truth make it work for you and share it with others.
     
  8. Kathryn

    Kathryn Most Spoiled Woman Ever

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    Thanks for all the input so far - please keep it coming.

    I have been thinking about this all day. I am still not at all convinced that perception IS reality, though I know it's one of today's cool phrases.

    The reality in my situation is that I had lost ten pounds. Period. Did I know that? No. Does my perception alter that reality? No.

    Also, I am not at all certain that I have a clear picture of myself even including this knowledge. Can we ever? I tend to think not.

    So in that sense, my perception of myself can either bolster my self confidence or beat it down, but it doesn't change the fact that I've lost ten pounds, or that I hadn't realized it till now.

    I agree that having more accurate knowledge about REALITY does, however, change my self image substantially - and that in itself can definitely create different scenarios, which then do become reality.
     
  9. Erebus

    Erebus Well-Known Member

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    You'll have to forgive me if this post comes across as nonsensical, I'm exhausted but unable to sleep at the moment ;)

    The way I see it is that subjective reality tends to have more of an effect on you than objective reality. In this situation the objective reality is that you lost 10 pounds, the subjective reality is that you gained weight.
    Now to begin with, that will only affect your perception of yourself, but over time it will also cover other people's perception. Had you continued to claim you had in fact gained weight, people would eventually accept it despite objective reality. The end result is that in your own perception and the perception of the people around you, you will have gained weight and thus the objective reality becomes meaningless.
    To give you an example, I know somebody who is thought of as "the fat one" despite actually being underweight. He brought up his weight so frequently that when he eventually lost it, people didn't really see it. People know in their rational mind that he's not fat, yet their perception of him is still as "the fat one".
    What I'm getting at here is that while perception may not itself be the sum total of reality, it's often far more potent than objective reality :)
     
  10. Kathryn

    Kathryn Most Spoiled Woman Ever

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    That makes sense. I guess though that I consider reality to be factual and concrete, rather than subjective. For instance, I could say all day long that I hadn't lost weight - but I had. Period. No amount of denial would change that fact.
     
  11. Erebus

    Erebus Well-Known Member

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    Yep, that's fair enough :)

    You've probably gathered that I personally consider it to be both subjective and objective, but I partly melted my brain with that last post, so I figure now's a good time to have another go at getting some sleep :D
     
  12. Kathryn

    Kathryn Most Spoiled Woman Ever

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    Good luck! Yeah, I think we're in agreement - so you should sleep easy. Heh!
     
  13. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva

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    I'm sorry, Kathryn. My piece is still in its infancy, so I am not ready to get into a big discussion about it just yet. If you can be patient, I may revisit this in a month or so. All I can say is that the implications of the idea are huge and that is what is taking me so long to finish it (and get it into a coherent theory). I settle on one area and that area opens up other areas. It's a bit mind-numbing, to say the least. (I'm even looking at the possibility of auto-hypnosis through linguistics. IE. Simply repeating thoughts to yourself...)
     
    #13 YmirGF, Feb 26, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2011
  14. Kathryn

    Kathryn Most Spoiled Woman Ever

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    Fabulous - I seriously cannot wait to hear what you have to say about this. Please don't forget to nudge me when you're ready to discuss it in detail.
     
  15. Imperative

    Imperative New Member

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    Simply put, there is an objective reality and consciousness--reason--is our means of perceiving it. When you say that you could not "see reality" I think that you were at the time evading...blanking out or refusing to acknowledge that what is, is. Most people are guilty of unfocusing their minds in such a fashion, but such suspension of thought does not change what actually exists. Weightlifting is a good example of how this works...you can believe anything you want but the iron will always tell you the truth. A is A: a 200 lbs is 200 lbs...and either you can lift it with your bare hands or you cannot. No wishful thinking or evasion will change that.
     
  16. Koldo

    Koldo Incredible Member

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    Correct, but you can interefer with your ability to lift the weight with mere thoughts. In other words, we are usually set to use a certain ammount of strenght, but it is not set in stone, it is a variable that can increase or decrease according to multiple factors including our thoughts.
     
    #16 Koldo, Mar 3, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2011
  17. not yet now

    not yet now Member

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    oh that
    PERCEPTION IS REALITY?
    what u believe about yourself becomes real
    NAH IT ISNT REAL
    JUST ANOTHER OF ONE'S DELUSIONS
    THAT CAN APPEAR TO MANIFEST AS REAL
    sometimes courtesy of the grace and mercy of the divine
    allowed to manifest as if your own perceptions made it
    SOMETIMES NEGATIVE ENTITIES
    THAT THE DIVINE ALLOWS TO MANIFEST IN ORDER TO TEST WHAT YOU ACCEPT AS REAL
    that later down the road your soul might have to pay for accepting the flattery of delusions
    or pay for by allowing negative forces intimidate one from finding true divine reality
    or pay fo thru apathy that one lets go of that available thru divine grace and mercy..
    but the source of all of this false reality for the soul as
    when back many incarnations ago and even before incarnating with a flesh body
    one or they as said in romans..
    (BBE) Because, having the knowledge of God, they did not give glory to God as God, and did not give praise, but their minds were full of foolish things, and their hearts, being without sense, were made dark.
     
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