Friday, November 7, 2008

The Strength of Perception

*Warning: This post is oddly deep and philosophical for me. Look for a more light-hearted post tomorrow, and if you're not up for philosophical, please simply take the pole to the right.*

Perception is the most undervalued strength of humanity. I've been thinking a lot about it lately. I read a wonderful book, Apocalypse 2012 by Lawrence E. Joseph, in which he details all the horrible things that could happen to Earth to bring about the prophesied apocalypse of world-altering change of 2012. The list includes a slew of natural phenomenon that could have horrific results on the human species: earthquakes and flooding, super volcanoes like the one in Yellowstone erupting, solar flares, weakening magnetic poles that normally protect the planet from radiation, asteroids...and the holy war in the Middle East. After all those horrific and uncontrollable possibilities, to the last, Joseph devotes a very lengthy part of his book, because the holy war is the most predictable and the most imminent.

Which is where we come to my boiled-down assessment of an extremely touchy subject: this impending holy war over Temple Mount is a war like all holy wars before it, built upon the perceptions of each individual--the perception of right and wrong, the perception of what is holy and what is impure, the perception of what happened and what didn't depending on each person's interpretation of words written thousands of years ago, the perception of who is right and who is going to burn in places potentially only perceived in the human mind. All this strife and conflict and hatred and importance has all been build upon a thought, a perception. It boggles my mind.

More recently, with the election and all the talk of change and hope, I've found myself thinking about the power of perception all over again. President Elect Barack Obama's speech on Tuesday night talked of the hope of America, that guiding beacon that has led our nation from a group of people who knew and believed that our country could be more than a colony of Britain to where we are today, where the young can feel entitled to job satisfaction, where all people can feel entitled to the very best opportunities, where all people believe that tomorrow will always be better than yesterday and that progress will always be made in a positive direction. We're a nation built upon a perceived ideas--of freedom, of hope, of rights and equality, of possibility and opportunity--and we've remained strong because of those perception.

I think a lot of people credit fear as the greatest motivator. Romantics say love is. I say that the greatest motivation is hope. But underneath and behind all those emotions is the powerful, guiding force of our own perception. Perhaps fear, love, and hope are all equal; it is only the strength of our perception that makes one stronger than the other.

No comments: