Sunday, March 18, 2007


As we have already discussed, winning is easy if you are me. And who am I to say you aren't me? If you are in the argument game for the long haul, you will want to understand the difference between reality and perception. Once you understand the point at which a discussion crosses the boundaries between perception and reality, you can choose what is best for your particular topic, to remain firmly planted in reality, or to use perceptions as a gateway into the best argument you ever won.

People very often say, “perception is reality”. Far less often people say, “there’s perception and then there’s reality”. Never have I heard anyone say, “There is reality and from that people draw their perception”. Ironically, this is true. It’s fascinating how many people squirm and even twitch with frustration when one expresses a belief that something is correct or incorrect if it conflicts with their own apparently unfounded beliefs. Perhaps they will say, “that’s your opinion” or “that’s how you see things” or “I don’t know about that”. These are all great responses, but the last one’s best because it is a sideways way of saying, “since I don’t know, you must be wrong”. Of course if one agrees with these unfounded beliefs the response will be hearty agreement. They may say, “yes, that’s true” or “I know”.

Not that there’s anything wrong with perception. Perception is what makes everyone who isn’t me unique. Everyone else being unlike me is what makes me appear unique. I don’t mind being called different, even if I’m not. I also don’t mind too much being called the same, even though I’m not. This has been a comic aside.

The reactions to a proposed reality or opinion are generally provided by the respondent in roughly the following format, 1. twitching, awkward defensive/offensive posturing 2. opposing response 3. lecture on perception and reality. This lecture should fully explain how we all have different viewpoints, we are entitled to our opinions, and how they are all correct, and yet incorrect. They may be “polite” and thus omit telling you that you’re wrong. What just happened?

Nothing. Nothing actually happened. Time elapsed but nothing was actually stated. Not even an “Agreement to Disagree” was exchanged. They could have just as well have said, “My opinion doesn’t matter”. The aim is to gloss over the notion that there are facts and speculations and these two things may differ or even conflict in their amount of meaning.

Reality or not, your perception and their perception may be mutually exclusive. Let’s say that the discussion revolves around a glass of beer. Your view is that the beer is bad. His view is that it’s great. Can it really be both? Clearly it can be perceived both ways. Perception being touted as reality is a very unfortunate reality.

Interestingly enough one of these much-debated “beers” makes claims of kingship. Of course, it’s not even popular opinion that makes a king. A king comes in and takes power. And like most kings it has lost touch with reality and relies heavily on perception. This has been another comic aside.

Reality, however, must exist if there is to be perception. If nothing is real, nothing can perceive. Some (idiots?) say, “perhaps there is no reality and we’re all just in someone’s dream.” You may respond, “if that is the case there still must be the reality of a dreamer, besides dreams actually exist, although not tangible.” Or perhaps you might respond, “but how would you explain the fact that I know what you just said isn’t true?” Or perhaps your response would be, “maybe you thinking you are keeping up your side of an intellectual discussion is a dream and you’re really an idiot.”


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