“Where did you get those eyes?” has been one of the classic opening lines sitting at a bar. When I saw Joan’s bold brown ones, I intuitively knew the answer would add nothing to the skip in my heart. And yet the question applies in situations as diverse as the Chicago Teachers Strike to the latest Romney flap.
By eyes we mean perceptions. In Chicago if you see this strike through the eyes of Mayor Emanuel, it has become a long-deferred reform for the city schools. For strike leader Lewis, it’s a win for the disrespected teachers. Shuffle the deck and pick any card your perception wants to find in there…!
Research studies at the Northwestern University recently reported what we have suspect all along. People see [perceive] not only what they WANT to, but what they NEED to. A seriously ill patient needs to hear her doctor report tests show signs of improving…kids without a stable home-life need to believe the extended family is rallying to their cause…GIs in the Middle East need to know there will be a deadline to their bloody deployment… writers need to think their readers are resonating with them.
Oh, there’s one more thing to this perception-is-reality.
Modern empirical minds — having discarded Medieval beliefs in gods, angels, and heaven — need to find some new props to help them work their way through the dark mysteries and dangers of life. By and large they have found them. Science! For all its wonders and achievements our eyes can see, perhaps its greatest wonder is what the inner-eye can see in it. A rational, logical set of principles by which to define, explain, and make sense out of the cosmic chaos of our existential presence here on this planet.
Exit Medieval clergy….! Enter Modern neurobiologist…! One god for another.
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