Perception can be defined as the way we experience the world. Our actions are based on that perception. We like to believe that the world we experience is the real world — reality. Therefore: perception is reality.
A problem, maybe the problem, is that each of us experiences the world a bit differently. Therefore: different experiences equal different realities.
Does perception equal reality, or do we only think it does?
I react to the world I see, and you react to the world you see. Our perceptions and, therefore, our realities are different. Because our realities are different, our actions and reactions are different.
Oftentimes our perceptions, realities and, therefore, our actions closely align. We are driving and see a red light at the next intersection; we slow our automobiles and stop. Of course, if we are not paying attention and do not see the red light, it does not exist in our reality, and we do not stop which may result in an “accident” and injuries or death for ourselves and others.
Our current Presidential election campaign can be seen as a case in point.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump represent different perceived political, economic and social realities. Neither candidate appears, to me at least, to inspire much trust or hope for the future. Indeed, the theme of the election seems, again to me at least, to be dislike and the fear that the other candidate, if elected, will bring about the apocalypse.
Both candidates are white, Caucasian. Both candidates are wealthy. Both candidates are college educated. Both candidates are married and have children. Yet, their world-views and supporters are quite different.
Both seek the votes of, but only one of them draws significant support, from non-Caucasians and Latino minorities. (At least, according to the polls published by our print and electronic media.)
Both seek the support of the poor, as well as the wealthy.
As neither smarts nor knowledge and education are requirements for voting, both candidates seek the votes of those with high school and college educations as well the votes of those who have not completed elementary school. The same is true of employment status, marital status, whether or not one has children (and of what age), religious beliefs, etc.
The total number of Americans eligible to vote in the November 2016 Presidential Election exceeds 225 million. Many will not be registered to vote and many of those registered to vote will not do so. Yet, some 100+ million of us will vote and those votes will reflect 100+ million realities.
The world I live in as a college educated and retired teacher is a different world, or reality, than that lived in by an unemployed, non-high school graduate living in a trailer park in the rural South; or a Black, single mother with three kids under ten and working two jobs in the formerly industrial North; or a billionaire investment banker with his, or her, own jet; or a nearly ad infinitum of other possible realities.
Yet, on November 8th, 2016 we will all vote, or not, to elect one of these two candidates (or a third-party candidate) who, we hope, will try to knit these hundred million different realities into a viable vision of our future and that of our children.
Your vote counts the same as mine. Your vote counts the same as that of every member of the group of people you fear, or admire, the most.
Your vote counts the same as that of Hillary Clinton or that of Donald Trump.
Isn’t reality scary?
Or is that just my perception of it?