Open Your Eyes:

Perspective and Perception

So we’re now in the month of February, the second month of a new year. Hopefully, you took to heart the information provided in last month’s blog concerning the matter of renewing and or starting anew. If you haven’t, it’s not too late to do so. In last month’s blog, I addressed the interesting aspect of our Gregorian calendar date being 2020, and how often times when we hear this stated it often brings to mind the classification of vision relating to that of perfection.

For this blog, I want to expound on the matter of vision. For those of us who are blessed with our visual sense, often we take for granted just how big of a matter that really is. For a blind person, they must rely on their other senses to help them navigate life. As a person with vision, there are a number of other things that you can do simply based on the fact that you have the ability to see. For example, you have freedom of travel in that if you have a driver’s license you can drive wherever your heart desires. A blind person, on the other hand, is dependent upon either public transportation or someone who has vision and the vehicle. Additionally, a person who was born blind will never be able to see with their optical membranes, colors, shapes, the beauty of nature, or so many other things we often take for granted. 

Specifically, regarding this blog, as the title indicates it is more than just vision or the ability to see a thing. Actually, it relates to the deeper aspects of vision; that of perspective and perception.

So as always, let’s start by defining these.

Perspective (noun) 1. a mental view or prospect 2. the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed; Point of view 3. the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance (Merriam-Webster).

Perception (noun) 1. a result of perceiving: observation or a mental image: concept 2. quick, acute, and intuitive cognition: appreciation or a capacity for comprehension (Merriam-Webster).

Now a couple of key points that I want to bring to light are the following: Both relate to MENTAL processing that includes thought and comprehension. Additionally, there is a spiritual element in that it is intuitive. Some refer to this as discernment or the ability to find truth in the absence of clarity. So, in reality, it is quite possible that those we see as having a physical limitation of sight, due to being blind, may in fact be able to see more and have greater wisdom than one who has what is recognized by the world as perfect vision.

Here is something you may or may not have seen. These are the images that are used in a psychological assessment tool called the Rorschach Test, which is a projective psychological test that was developed by Hermann Rorschach (1921) to measure thought disorder (Harrower-Erickson, 1945).

Rorschach Test Images (1921)

Yet, when this test is given to someone who is assessed as being normal it has been found that it reveals what is deeper in the individual. Hoy they perceive and process the abstract. Here’s an excerpt concerning the designer’s view on the impact of these tests.

“Inkblots had been used before, to measure the imagination, particularly in children, but in his early experiments, Rorschach showed people inkblots in order to discover what they saw, and how. As a lifelong amateur artist, the son of a drawing teacher, he knew that while a picture itself constrains how you see it, it does not take away all your freedom: different people see differently, and those differences are revealing. Rorschach originally thought of it as a perceptual experiment, not a diagnostic test. But he gradually realized that different kinds of patient – and people with different types of personality –showed systematic differences in how they saw the inkblots.” (Searls, 2017) 

Here are a few other perception images you may be familiar with. Depending on the individual, and what they focus on, the images revealed will be different.

So, what’s the point that I’m trying to get you to understand? Bottom line, everyone sees and interprets what they see differently. So their perceptions, which is supported by their perspective become their cognitive reality. Which is important to each of us as both the observer and the one being observered.

Now I want to share a real quick story with you. This story relates to God identifying a 17-year-old teenager who watched over sheep who He [God] had determined to be a future king of Israel (I Samuel 16). This teen was named David. You may have heard of him; he’s the one who killed the giant named Goliath (I Samuel 17). David had seven brothers that Samuel, a prophet of God, had to review and consider, believing that God was going to direct him to anoint (identify and bless) as the future king. Yet when the process started, God spoke to Samuel saying, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (I Samuel 16:7, NKJV). Samuel went through all seven of David’s brothers and yet was not moved by God to anoint any of them. Because of that, Samuel was compelled to ask David’s father, Jesse, if he had any other sons, and he said he did and he (David) was watching the sheep. Samuel sent for him and when he arrived, not looking very kingly I might add, God directed Samuel that he (David) was the one who was to be anointed as the future king of Israel. 

So, what is the point? To truly see we must be enlightened. We must be able to see completely, which includes being perceptive and we must be able to put things in the right perspective. To do this we must be willing to use the right tools and methods. If we rely on the wrong ones, they will not only mislead, but they will ultimately cause us harm.

Now when I used the word enlightened, I’m sure some reading this may have given thought to some of the ways the world promotes how to become “enlightened” that involves the use of certain substances. I can assure you that though that will likely give you a mind-altering experience, it is not a way to truly find truth. To find truth, we must seek the One who is truth, God and Jesus. Here are few Scriptures that clarify this: Numbers 23:19; Matthew 24; John 14:6; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18. Yet, there is one who is identified as the father of lies (John 8:44). He is the one who wanted to exalt himself above God (Isaiah 14:13) and has the sole desire to ruin the lives of man (John 10:10 and I Peter 5:8).

As I have done in all of our previous blogs, I want to share with you the GROUNDED acronym (Kidd, 2017), which is a significant tool of truth, from the One who is and will forever be.

God – We must recognize that He IS. He is what? He is the one who not only created you, but did so with a very specific purpose in mind. He’s also the one who provided His Son, Jesus as not only our gift of salvation, but as a human example of Him; for us to see and understand that we as His creation is only limited to and by what we choose to believe.

Respect – First, we must respect God as He is the One gave us life. We must also respect Jesus, for He gave us life more abundantly. We must have self-respect, for we are the Creator’s greatest of all creations; because we were created in His image, with a purpose and that purpose is to be a blessing to others who don’t know Him. We must have respect for others.

Observant – To be cognizant (fully aware) of your surroundings for your safety as well as that of others. Be alert to the things that are going on around you in the physical, which in reality is much more than many often give thought to.

Understanding – That your life and choices not only effect and or affect you, but others, both close to us and those we’ve possibly haven’t and may never meet. The ripples caused by our choices today can and often will have father reaching impacts than we will likely ever know.

New Experiences – Don’t practice insanity; doing the same thing over and over again, and yet expect a different result. If you don’t like where you’re at then YOU MUST CHANGE IT. Don’t lower your standards to live down to someone else’s expectations. Rather use that as motivation to propel you to a new higher and more successful destiny.

Diligence – The action of giving strict attention to and pursuing after the important. Look at what will make a radical positive change in your life, not just for today or tomorrow, but rather one that is long-lasting.

Education – Don’t be fooled to believe that education only happens in a classroom setting or comes from a book. Education is all around you and it is continually making itself available to us. We live in the information age. Wisdom is the application of knowledge. Through wisdom you will be positioned to apply the previously mentioned O, U, and N so that you’re not taken advantage of.

Daily Effort – Though similar to diligence it is different in that diligence is more precise and focused. Whereas, daily effort is more general and all encompassing.    

In closing this blog, to live in truth and not be deceived, one must set their mind on what is important. As the Scriptures advise us, we are to renew our minds and see our abilities in Christ, and the world from God’s perspective (Romans 12:1-2). The weak, feeble, and apathetically minded will say that nothing is important, or that everything things is important and give up due to being overwhelmed. God says, I have not given you a weak spirit (II Timothy 1:7) and you can do all things in and through My Son, Jesus (Philippians 4:13). You must only have and apply the faith to see it. We must all evaluate our perspective and perceptions to live a truly empowered life.

References and Resources:

Harrower-Erickson, Molly (1945). “Large scale Rorschach techniques: a manual for the group Rorschach and multiple choice test”. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C Thomas Publisher, Ltd

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Perception. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved January 29, 2020, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ perception

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Perspective. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved January 29, 2020, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ perspective

Kidd, R. (2017). The Young Person’s Survival Manual: How to Survive in Today’s Ever-Changing World. ISBN: 9781629528953. Xulon Press. Maitland, FL.

Searls, Damion (2017). The Long Read: Can we trust the Rorschach test? On-line Article. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/ feb/21/rorschach-test-inkblots-history. Retrieved on 30 January 2020.

The Holy Bible, New King James Version (1985). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc.