Perception: The Wayfinder

People often say perception is reality and there is some truth to that. It’s a reality only to the perceiver, not to the rest of the world; meaning that every person alive who has not attained some sort of superconscious state has a perception of himself that is more than likely to be false because it is shut in or defined by the four corners of what he calls his mind. This mind could be as expansive as the azure sky or as tiny and narrow as the dwelling place of a small rodent or insect burrowed somewhere in some negligible subterranean space.

Of course, as we have evolved, we have become more intelligent in the animal sense and we have used our skills of observation to determine how others perceive us. Using their words and their actions, their emotions towards us, their physiognomy, we have gauged their view of what we are. We have been using them as a metaphorical mirror to reflect our image of self. But that image is merely a caricature and false on so many levels.

Firstly because what is reflected is our little ego-personality. By ego-personality is meant our personality that is formed around the little, or sometimes, the aggrandised ego. What they perceive of us is filtered firstly through our own ego personality (as in we show them what we want to show) and then filtered again through their ego personality (as in they see what they want to see) in ways that suit their own prejudices, preconceptions; something that fits into their idea and perception of life based on their traditions, culture (or lack thereof), customs, heredity and a hundred other influences that condition us every minute of our life on earth.

And this perception changes when there’s nobody around. Initially you become more comfortable around your immediate family to show your ‘true’ (most natural) self. Then around friends to some extent. You tend to show more to your friends sometimes than your own parents. Then you’re put in an office or school with a bunch of strangers and eventually you become comfortable with them given enough time to show your most natural self; sometimes a good self sometimes the bad self (some less complicated people have only one or the other).

Somebody that’s receptive and truly perceptive in the real sense can mould themselves to a state of an almost-perfect social image. A perfect personality based on what the mass of society perceives to be perfect. How is that common perception of good or right or perfect achieved? Through media! Television, for a long time, played (still plays) a major role in moulding people’s perceptions of what is the ideal person. Even before television, there was always a mass perception formed through stories and songs and news of some sort. This image of the ‘ideal’ has obviously evolved (rather degraded and degenerated) over the years.

But this image might still just be a mask if the person is cunning enough. Otherwise it might be fake, an artifice or a delusion or weakness of someone who lacks the will to stamp his or her own individuality and therefore is led by the will of others and moves like a leaf in the wind (except the wind is not the breath of God so guidance is not Divine, rather the ego of everybody else, a world-ego or a composite of all human egos).

Or it could be someone that changes not purely because there are impacts from the outside but also that they receive those impacts and refer to something inside and it’s that feedback that they get from whatever it is that’s there inside that moulds them.

People without that inner touch or inner contact, without the true individuality beyond ego don’t have the luxury of this feedback that you may call insight, intuition, a deep or a high instinct, a divine guidance. Those people, when put in seclusion or isolation, don’t have the ability to reflect, adapt or change their behaviour in accordance with a deeper and higher law; a higher truth that is beyond the law of this world and yet contains it, transcends it and perfects it.

So they lose their identity, lose the ability to reflect or in extreme cases they become something that is formed without guidance, something feral or amorphous, where they lose the multitude of mirrors that acted as an instrument of self-correction. And because they lose their corrective lens with which they see themselves in the world, they become something guided by their ego and whatever direction that ego takes.

Now ego itself being formed by an amalgam of mental, emotional, impulsive, instinctual nature, without the guidance of reason, rationality, common sense, civil sense or a social tact, loses its sense of direction and takes too many by-paths that lead it astray. Then the possessor of the ego becomes trapped in a cocoon of delusion that over time (and here Time is a key factor) makes them lose touch with the world. The perception of the world overtakes their own perception of themselves. To state it simply, they are left behind in time in the same manner as certain primitive people get left behind, frozen in time, at times in space as well.

So a power of true perception or at least of a ‘current ‘ perception is essential to the survival of both individual and social groups. It is certainly the ability to be receptive to change on all levels that enables an individual or group to evolve. As human beings gifted with powers of reason and a certain spark of something else, we should be able to make ourselves conscious of and receptive to those signs that the universe sends us in order to constantly evolve and keep our mould plastic and supple enough to do in will and action what our intellect conceives in idea and concept. It is almost directly linked to and virtually responsible for evolution or degeneration. At times it is even more than evolution, entering the threshold of immortality.

The only true immortality will be one where a being has the ability to evolve an infinite number of times into infinite variety of forms in response to the multitude of currents of ideas and of force that come from the cosmic being and cosmic consciousness or beyond, from the timeless transcendent. The universality, the adaptability, the transcendence, without the encumbrance of the petty cave-dwelling ego will be the only way to true immortality, something that man has been seeking since the dawn of time in one way or another.

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Ganesh Varadharajan
Ganesh works in the financial services industry. Writing is his passion and he hopes to one day publish books in areas from epic fantasy, to poetry and philosophical and spiritual writings. He maintains blogs related to the writings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother whom he considers his role models.

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