PERCEPTION IS NOT REALITY!

Perception is Reality is one of the most misleading, and potentially damaging, pop psychology myths.

The problem centers around the word “reality’. 

The definition of the word reality: something that is real or a fact.

So, there can’t be an individual reality, only a shared consensus about what is real. There can be individual versions of reality but that’s not reality, merely a version of it. And if everyone had their own versions of reality, then there can be no reality.

The problem with the notion of Perception is Reality is that it encourages people to think that their perceptions reflect reality, or should. This leads people into believing that whatever they think is real, and from there, to right. It encourages an egotism that is most damaging to the person, who eventually will  become angry, frustrated and depressed when others don’t share their “reality”.  Of course we all have our own perceptions, opinions, beliefs, etc.,  but we can’t have our own reality.

The fact is perception is perception, there’s no such thing as your “reality”. If something is just real to you, then it’s not real, just a perception.

This cognitive relativism is a damaging philosophy that seems more and more common.

From my book I Think Therefore I Am Wrong

“Similarly, there is cognitive relativism which also argues that there isn’t an overarching “truth” but that it, too, is constructed and relative to a variety of factors, like culture and even human understanding.

Protagoras, a famous philosopher who lived about 2500 years ago,  asserted that “man is the measure of all things — of things that are, that they are, and of things that are not, that they are not.” In other words, truth and knowledge are a function of human beings and human variables and don’t reflect any independent and objective reality.

Plato objected that this relativism eliminates the distinction between truth and falsehood; if each individual is really the “measure of what is”  then each person would be infallible.

An excellent article by Emrys Westacott, summarizes these debates about knowledge and reality. Professor Westacott is the author of many works including  The Wisdom of Frugality: Why Less Is More – More or Less.

(This was from an article on Cognitive Relativism that appeared in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
https://www.iep.utm.edu/cog-rel/)

Westacott writes:

“Plato argued that if Protagoras is right, then whatever a person thinks is true, is true. But in that case, Protagoras must concede that those who think relativism is false are correct. So, if Protagorean relativism is true, it must also be false.”

That Plato was one smart guy.”

The notion that perception is reality is a damaging myth and we need to stop perpetuating it.

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