Perception plays a vital role in a beings life, especially in that of a human. Many people choose to believe what they see, and believing links with knowing as it is a component of knowing. We also choose to see what we believe and therefore both statements are complimentary.
Human beings tend to believe with evidence rather than believing in something blindly. Belief is usually based on evidence and the evidence is usually linked with our senses. If we see something, we believe in it because we are able to back our assumption with evidence because we have witnessed it.
Human reality may also be based on scientific evidence because science which involves historical evidence is able to prove certain theories. Even though we may not witness it with our senses, we believe in the theories accepted by many other scientists. For example, the world trade center was demolished on September 11th, 2001. We suddenly think, how is it possible to destroy one of the greatest and tallest buildings in the world even after the first attempt to destroy it back in 1993. Suddenly as we see it everywhere in the news and read it everywhere, we strongly believe in it rather than half believing in it because we have seen images and video clips of the incident.
Humans, according to E.F. Schumacher have the elements of matter, life, consciousness, and self awareness or intelligence. Our self awareness enables us to see things the way we do and it is accepted psychologically that we “hold fast to what we can see and experience.”
Yet knowledge plays a vital role in believing along with language. Since we can read and understand as well as communicate, we can share ideas expanding our knowledge. This also ties in with the senses of hearing and seeing. Knowledge according to Plato is “justified true belief”. Our senses of hearing and sight enable us to justify what we believe. Since elementary we have learned simple to complex equations and yet we are still learning. Some smart mathematician discovered that 2 + 2 equals 5. We have seen for ourselves by taking two pieces of chocolate for example and adding another two pieces of chocolate we get four pieces. A simple experiment such as that enables us to see as well as learn simple mathematical equations. This really helps create a basic foundation in learning, especially in the mind of a child.
However if it were not for language, 2 + 2 might as well equal a parasite or two thousand if it were not for language. We have learned the basics of English or whatever language we know and therefore it makes sense to us that 2 + 2 equals 4 rather than any answer which we might consider ridiculous.
It is also very easy to be fooled into seeing what we believe. It is both good an bad in a sense but it depends on the person. I am referring to people because we have four elements – matter, life, consciousness, and intelligence or self awareness- according to E.F. Schumacher. Animals lack self awareness according to Schumacher even though they have some intelligence. I think it is true because have if we think about it, have we ever seen a dog making a computer or bombs? In the most extreme case a dog may be able to move a mouse or open a program or maybe short a bomb and make it explode, but then again others might object because these thoughts may vary from person to person according to their point of view.
We are sometimes forced to believe certain things without having 100% evidence showing or stating that it’s true. Take Religion for example. I believe there is a god but how do we choose when there are over millions in the world. I believe that there is a god controlling the universe but how do we know for sure? I believe that is where faith comes in. Sometimes we have to believe blindly.
Even though in the Bible it says “In the beginning god created heaven and earth… and saw that it was good”, it is considered a mythical story. Who saw god create earth, light, water, or animals? According to the Bible, Adam was created on the 6th day, so there is no way a human took an account of the events as they happened. In religion, we are born into a tradition which enables us to see through rituals. It is a framework to many which leads them through the joys and troubles of life.
Religion can be a new way of seeing, however it may create havoc by causing people to jump to conclusions. For example, a person was involved in a car accident. Say they were traveling at a high speed and they lost controlled and crashed into an oncoming truck. The car is totaled but the person is knocked unconscious but returns to consciousness realizing what has happened and they have to broken bones or scratches indicating what has happened. People may immediately say “it was by the grace of god nothing happened to me”, but if we think about it, it is their belief that they are seeing no matter how hard you try to convince them it was something else.
A simpler example would be that of a person who is terrified of ghosts. This person might believe in ghosts robustly and then might think that they have seen one in the middle of the night. What most probably has happened is that this person believes strongly that ghosts exist and what happened was that they saw a fluttering white sheet or a moons shadow which has been cast on a scarecrow which is swaying in the wind. The mind immediately plays a trick on this person, fooling them into believing that they ad seen a ghost.
Another example could be a man who cannot see beauty. He might not believe in it at all and finally when the most beautiful woman in the world crosses him, he may not be able to realize her beauty. These two examples can be examples of when seeing what you believe may fool a person.
I think the statement ¨you see what you believe¨ is true because we do tend to believe entirely if we have some sort of proof or evidence. ¨You see what you believe is also true as we tend to believe in things blindly as well. I feel it may be misleading at times but the statement is true and this partial statement completes the first.
Courtney from Study Moose
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