Perspective Beats Perception

Yasmeen Waliaga

Yasmeen Waliaga

Skepticism and Idealism

Skeptics are commonly criticized for being negative while idealists are criticized for being oblivious. I’ve always dealt with the latter, engulfed in a whimsical cloud of bliss, or in my eyes, hopeful. This type of energy is commonly mistaken for that of a child, one characterized by ignorance and distance from the concrete. But just as I have been laughed at, I have sighed at those with a cynical mentality.

Clearly neither of us can be labeled as correct, while both of us may be irritating. I am not lost or distracted just as they are not harsh and cold. This simple concept of misunderstanding each other because of our different lenses has been an immense factor in the growing distance between us and between ourselves and the outer world. And this is pretty elementary stuff, but somehow, it seems so damn complicated for people to grasp.

Perspective vs Reality

Whether on the hopeful or cynical side or somewhere in between, perspective can’t be reached until the differences between perception and reality can be defined. Imagine a spectrum of all the possibilities in any given situation. Dead center is reality and on opposite poles are the extremities, the highs and the lows.

In today’s society, the media and public figures are constantly spitting out whatever is tailored to the preferences of their following. Because of how acceptable this is (we have entertainment to blame), we are constantly too distracted to look beneath the bullshit. Hence the fact that given the same story through various frames, we are left disconnected, hostile and lost.

We lean back on the very basic way we have taught ourselves to make sense of unfamiliar things, our lenses, our perception. The complication, worse than we notice, is that seldom is much concern given to the idea of perspective.

Society’s tolerance for expression and vocalness has increased while few outlets are held responsible for sharing the facts. Thus, so many individuals are basing their impressions on false premises. 

Why the Line Matters 

Labeled as an idealist, I have been faced with nonstop commentary and contempt for my outlook. It was not until this past year that I first hesitated to accept the lie I had been told growing up that I was just “lucky” to have this view. And I couldn’t blame anyone; people generally find light and comfort in optimism. 

But if the sense of idealism was not tied to anything concrete, anything in the center of the spectrum that actually defined reality, it was standing on tenuous ground.

Reality struck hard when I discovered it is not inspiring to have your “head in the clouds” if the only reason they are there is because you would rather be blissfully unaware of the facts.

At the same time, it is not admirable to be so skeptical of everything that you leave zero chance for miracles, for surprises or just plain wonder.

There is some vague yet clear middle I have found to be a strong component of perspective. It is far more incredible to comprehend reality no matter how flawed it may be, accept it, and then base your perception on how you view it going forward.

Some may say things are not as they seem, but I beg to differ. I choose to think things are exactly what they are and maybe they’d be more apparent if we would claw through the walls that contain our lazy brains and get a sense of the atmosphere outside. Maybe.

After that, we have the right to become content with how we choose to look at anything, because we aren’t blindly deciding what is true and what isn’t.

Going forward, it would be refreshing to see pursuits that don’t simply scrape the edge of depth. It would be refreshing to see people inquire, ask questions, challenge things, to understand truth for what it is first and then to develop their own notions. That’s what I have decided to do.

And if I can abandon my former fantasist tendencies for a moment while I locate reality, I’m sure anyone is capable of doing the same.