When we look at something, are we all seeing the same thing?
Perception is the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses. It is the way in which something is regarded and understood. Metaphysicians, Logicians, Political and Social philosophers have thought about perception since the beginning of history. We all perceive; our sensual organs discern information the way they are designed to however, do we see differently because we all interpret what we see differently?
One of the major senses is sight. This sense allows us to see by simply reflecting light onto one of our organs. The complex part however is the decoding of the information that is reflected. Our minds interpret the light that is reflected and turn it into information for us to sense our environment. It can be argued that the processed information is not always true. One example of this idea of flawed information would be the Rubin’s Vase form, which was developed by Edgar Rubin, a Danish psychologist. The visual effect generally presents the viewer with two shape interpretations, each of which is consistent with the image. The viewer is meant to see two images; one being two humans facing each other and the other is a vase. This form is an illusion and is created by the mind. The fact that there are two images seen to us does not mean that one of them has to be wrong. There is no wrong or right, it is just how our brains interpret the information.
It can be considered that these interpretations are affected by our lifestyles and societies. Interpretation of the same image also changes from person to person. If looked on a bigger scale, these changes are affected from differences in cultures and paradigms. Color is also a major variable in testing perception after illusions. Do we see colors differently? One of BBC’s most fascinating shows: “Do You See What I See” explores this question. In the English language, there are distinct words to describe specific colors. “Green” and “Blue” describe specifically the wavelengths received by our eyes, color is after all just waves. 2 circles made up of 5 green squares on the left side, and 4 green squares and 1 blue square on the right.
When the same image was shown to villagers from northern Namibia, they couldn’t pick out the blue square on the right however, picked out the slightly different green colored square on the left. Any kind of conclusion can be made from this research. For example, because of less vegetation in Namibia, the habitants have a more fragile sense of color when it comes to green. They can differentiate very easily. Further research shows that there are many other factors affecting color perception including peoples’ moods, memories and feelings. Everybody sees the same wavelength but every individual sees a different color.
Emotions also play a vital part in creating a perception. When we are filled with our emotions, we tend to be out of control of things. We always think that what we believe is always right no matter what the circumstances are. One great example of such behavior is the emotion of love. When we are deeply in love with a particular person, our understanding of happiness changes into only being oriented around them. The same thing goes for if we dislike somebody. Everything they do annoys us. This is generally referred to as “Emotions taking over”.
The senses are accompanied by other senses to further prove that something is correct. A person sees a yellow pencil inside a glass of water. The pencil is curved and it is therefore perceived by that person that it is that way. However when the person removes the pencil from the water by touching it, it is understood that the pencil was not curved after all. This is a common allegory used by philosophers to explain how senses are used together to perceive. The person touches the pencil in order to feel its texture and therefore disprove his interpretation through sight. Other senses such as hearing, smelling and tasting are also used in accompaniment to seeing. It can be reasoned that people use different sense with sight and end up seeing something else in accordance to someone else.
In conclusion every person’s skill to see is the same. Every person has the ability to receive light and process it into information however; the decoding of this information is different in each and every human being. Illusions show us something that is not there or alters the image we see. Our minds process it in the most useful way for us to perceive. As other sight related perceptions, it can be debated that every person sees illusions differently according to what they have learned over their life. This is closely related to the way our societies are built. Our minds and our perception are affected by our teachings from our societies. What we see and what we perceive is rendered in order of usefulness to our environment and us. Emotion is also majorly related to perception. It can be debated whether our perception affects our emotions or whether our emotions affect our perceptions, however it obvious that our emotions play a vital part in what we see.