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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

 

Perception

I’m fed up of writing about the less than honest behaviour of the general dyslexic pertaining to parking, so I thought I’d pontificate on education for a change; since eldest stepdaughter has recently passed A levels and secured University place.

Was having a heart to heart with Mrs Sticker about what really pisses us off about our respective jobs and what problems could be fixed simply, but won’t be. After an hours discourse we were driven to the conclusion that everything problematic in our respective jobs boils down to a single word – Perception.

The generally accepted definition of this term is:-
per·cep·tion
1. The process, act, or faculty of perceiving.
2. The effect or product of perceiving.
3. Psychology a) Recognition and interpretation of sensory stimuli based chiefly on memory. b). The neurological processes by which such recognition and interpretation are effected.
4. a) Insight, intuition, or knowledge gained by perceiving. B) The capacity for such insight.

per·ceive
per·ceived, per·ceiv·ing, per·ceives
1. To become aware of directly through any of the senses, especially sight or hearing.
2. To achieve understanding of; apprehend.

Pay attention to the above, this is very important, as I will attempt to demonstrate. I will try to be brief.

Our perception, which is one of the tools we use to build up our respective unique worldview, is imperfect. The axioms “One mans meat is another mans poison.”, “Chaqun a son gout.(Each to their own appetite)” and “They only see what they want to see”; should indicate the type of proofs commonly available for this line of reasoning.

In short, we only ‘know’ what we perceive. To be paranoid; we only ‘know’ what we are ‘told’. To be a properly informed member of the human race one has to choose one’s sources with care, opting for primary data where this is available, being aware that having the time and knowledge to source and interpret said sources is not something everyone is capable of. In addition, anyone interpreting said source data on your behalf has their interpretation skewed by their own perception which; in its turn, is influenced by their existing worldview. By this line of reasoning a ‘Christian’, ‘Islamic’, ‘Zionist’, ‘Socialist’ or ‘Neo-Conservative’ commentator will interpret the same source data in differing ways, emphasising particular facts to suit their own worldview / agenda. None are to be wholly trusted as they all wish to win you, the reader, around to their, the commentators, way of seeing things. If they can get their views published – then they are in the thinking ‘driving seat’, as I have observed that abstract, independent thought in most humans is difficult, uncomfortable and occasionally dangerous because it is based on very shaky premises. Ergo; most people will believe what the papers say, even if what is written ducks actuality by omitting salient details and often inventing spurious ‘facts’ to support their assertions. One only has to read the various newspapers to contrast and compare their stories to watch this process in action.

While I was on holiday, I took what I thought would be a little light reading in the form of ‘Science of Discworld' 1, 2, and 3 by Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen. I would like to take the opportunity to make public the only reason I read the Discworld series of novels is that they royally take the rip out of the Fantasy genre, which often takes itself far too seriously for its own good (My perception). In the ‘Science of Discworld’ series the hard science sections cover a wide variety of subjects, from higher mathematics to evolution via space-time theory in a most informative way. Great holiday reading material which beat Harry Potter into the proverbial cocked hat (Again, my perception).

The above three books actually put a number of media hype stories (Lies-to-readers?) into perspective against the proven facts. Read the hard science bits of the books with rigour, the experience will be a rewarding one (But this is only my perception). They encourage critical, analytical thought (Dont' just take my word for it - read them & see).

Bearing this critical & analytical process in mind, the perception of myself and Mrs Sticker is, when the tabloids and broadsheets carry stories on the very morning the results of said examinations are published about high pass marks attained by A level students, about how these examinations are too easy and how a trained Goat with a bad migraine could get an A grade. I wonder how they know about the result details, as even the schools do not know until the same morning several hours after the newspapers have been ready for sale. Do I perceive untruths? I think I do. Failing that a working time machine or an inside track direct from the various examination boards. Tsk, tsk.

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Location: British Columbia, Canada

Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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