The mind’s Eye

Since our perception of the environment literally changes the way our eyes see things, shouldn’t we assume the responsibility on what we look for in things?

One of the most fascinating aspects of the human body is its ability to see and perceive things.  The more we learn about it, the more endearing it becomes.

The brain can differentiate colours, it can differentiate patterns, it can even differentiate one person from the next – simply by seeing them.  Adding to that is its ability to control other senses.  We even eat with our eyes!  For instance, the reason coloured candy is a runaway success is the ability of the human mind to perceive each colour differently.  It may sound odd, but the truth remains that people are more likely to eat a bag full of coloured candy.  However, they would stop after a few pieces if the bowl is filled with the same colour.  This is because of our ability to see variety.  As a result the mind believes that the pink coloured piece and the blue one taste differently, even though they are made exactly the same way.

The value we associate with the ability to see is extremely high.  The impact it has on our lives is even higher; but what is it worth to us?  Everything the human mind can do, people are now developing machinery to do the same.  Well, actually to do it with greater efficiency and accuracy!  The ability to store information is now as small as the nail of a finger – a nano-chip.  Do we even need the brain for it?  What makes it different in human beings?  The differentiating factor isn’t the power of sight, but rather the power of perception.  That is, it’s not about being visual; it’s about having a vision.

Researches these days prove that what we see can mould the way we think about certain things and even the way we relate to a lot of things.  Your idea about the beach down the road depends on whether you remember the sight of a beautiful ocean or the garbage next to it.  This perception of the beach determines how fond you are of being there – whether it is the sight of playing with your friends next to the ocean that you cherish or the sight of a tsunami playing havoc that haunts your mind.

But there’s always more to it.  We believe that what we see can control what we think.  What we don’t realise is that the way we see things depends on how we perceive it.  A research was conducted where two groups of people had to answer a quiz.  The first group was told that the answer would momentarily flash in front of them where they could not actually see it but it was long enough for the mind to register it.  The other group was simply told that the questions themselves would be flashed before they were asked.  A random string of alphabets were flashed before both groups.  However results showed that the group of people, who believed they had seen the answer actually had more correct answers.  Though people saw nothing but a string of letters, they believed that they had seen the answer and hence had greater confidence in themselves to produce results.  The mind and thoughts can actually control the way you look at things.

Do you remember the last time you went into a temple?  A person who wants to look at the statue of God sees the beauty in every sculpture around.  The reluctant man, forced to be there, sees the dirty road in which he is walking barefoot, the dirt in the corner and the fallen food.  A kid writing his exams only sees the amount of kungumam he can take and circles he would have to make, believing it will help him pass.  What you want to see makes the difference.  A man looking for directions has his eyes set on seeing only the travel signs; he can never look at anything else.  What your mind is searching for is the factor that determines how you respond to the environment.  Every sensory organ is only there to help us find what we are looking for; the eyes by themselves are exposed to a lot more information than what our mind registers.  Stuck in traffic after work, your mind mainly wants information to prevent an accident or watches ahead for the red light to turn green.  The same situation on a road trip and everything seems fancier even if it is the exact same road that you’re staring at.  The information obtained by the eyes that is stored by our brains completely depend on what it is, that we’re hoping to see or hoping to avoid.

Since our perception of the environment literally changes the way our eyes see things, shouldn’t we assume the responsibility on what we look for in things?  Shouldn’t we focus more on things that will make a difference?  And more importantly it’s not a matter of sense controlling thought or vice versa.  When what you see affects the way you think, seeing a homeless man ought to make you want to help change that.  But you should be open-minded to let your eyes fall on the homeless man in the first place.

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