Whoever first said “Perception is reality” was wrong. Perception is just that. The interpretation of reality through our own intellectual and emotional filters. None of us lives entirely in the real world, but instead, in the world as we see it. No one is utterly objective. We all have vested interests–self very much included.
Perception is not reality but it does create reality in the sense of human events, because our perception is what we act on. A false perception still produces real events. An insecure person tends to take every criticism as a personal attack and acts accordingly with destructive effects on their relationships. Or a nation goes to war over a perceived threat. If it turns out the threat was only imagined the maimed will still be maimed, the scarred will still be scarred, and the dead will still be dead. Maybe we should take this perception thing seriously.
We are going to believe certain things about life and existence. It’s part and parcel of being human. We are going to wrestle questions large and small and live out our answers. The more our answers correspond to the real, the more we are going to experience actual living (as opposed to fantasy or even delusion) and the more peace, love, and joy we are going to see. The less we will be afraid. So we should seek truth–it is our friend.
We should, however, note with caution how elusive truth can be. How our perceptions can get in the way. How notions of what is real shift constantly. It is one thing to believe truth is out there–another to claim to know it completely, to own it entire. We have a way of deifying our understanding of things, of building little gods out of what we think we know. Even in the realm of science, truth can be like a summer-day mirage. We arrive to find things are not exactly as we saw them to be. Remember, not that long ago, everyone knew the world was flat, the Earth was the center of the universe, and that if humans were meant to fly we would have wings. What will we know tomorrow?
I don’t know–and that is good reason to walk humbly in this world.