Tuesday, 5 November 2013

A word on perception at a distance with regard to relationships

A word on perception at a distance with regard to relationships. 

If we look at something at a distance we lose perspective, are devoid of detail and can not see the surrounding reality relevant to our object of focus. Binoculars or a telescope may improve some things, while at the same time distorting others and narrowing our vision and closing our peripheral vision from the panorama. Distances can also become illusory. I remember once seeing a mountain and trying to estimate the distance to its peak in terms of football pitches. I estimated its distance at perhaps ten pitch lengths away. I did eventually reach its peak, but I was way out on the distance, it was much further. Perhaps I had not considered enough the diminishing relative estimation of length along with the illusion of a steep incline presenting the whole distance to be covered. We can see the whole moon through 5mm hole, but the moon wont fit through a 5mm hole. The angle or trajectory of distance to be covered can alter the impact of our experience of it, 100m to be covered by walking is very different to covering 100m on a vertical climb, especially while looking down.

I have in fact mistaken people for plants and other inanimate objects at a distance. This is not due to an extreme defect in eyesight but rather the mind projecting its expectation onto my eyes, or 'brain editing' of the vision. I once saw a flag on a building and convinced my associates that it was a flag they are aware of, and they wondered how it had it had been put in such a position. The flag only resembled what they expected, but trust in me, plus the occasion, plus the suggestion in my words and intonation manipulated their perception so that they saw what I wanted them to see. Distance between the object and the viewer of course made this illusion more viable. I did afterwards inform them of my trick, but this interesting psychological experiment demonstrated how easily we can see what is not there or misperceive what is there. 

 Our limited intellects and knowledge prevent us from seeing ways and means, we may complain that there is no way to reach what has been exposed to us. More importantly, our limited minds and knowledge prevent us from seeing why our instincts chase after the wrong associations. All strangers are masked at a distance and our hearts are often masked from our intellects just as our perception is often veiled from reality.
 There is a hadeeth of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) that says  on the authority of Abu Darda' (a companion [sahaabi]) “Your love for a thing makes you blind and deaf.” (ABU DAWOOD) A person under the influence of passion or any emotional animation will not listen to sense nor see what is before their eyes. If they see what is clear, they may be misled into unlikely explanations and far-fetched interpretations in order to accommodate their 'rose tinted' view.
Our instincts and emotions often work against our own interests and this is why it is important to prevent their harm by thinking outside of ourselves, that is putting distance between what we want in the short term and what we want in the long term. 
 People generally seek to present themselves in a favourable light in order to seek benefit, we do the same ourselves but forget that others do this. There are levels of this behaviour, some may seek to conceal what is a humiliation of the past in order to progress in accordance with their beliefs and character (their previous slips being out of character). Another person creates a false personality in order to exploit people while hiding his true beliefs and intentions.
 At a distance in space (similar to distance in time) a person's word's, especially when written are a narrow window into a wider reality. At a distance can we easily verify the meaning and truthfulness of a person's words? At a distance we miss the prolonged witnessing of a person's speech and the consistency or inconsistency between words and actions. We do not witness their wider relationships with other individuals and society. Especially in the age of computer communication, we miss tone in speech and emotive expression, these often unveiling masked words.
 We may want something beyond our immediate reach, but rather than adopting all means to reach it, we should first consider whether the indicators that made us extend our reach were actually correct. In other words, we may want something but not actually want it if we knew it well. 

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