Perceptions of Reality

There is a common expression that perception is reality. Perceptions are formed from data that is gathered by our senses. We trust them to give us the right information. What if the data is wrong? Then are our perceptions incorrect?

A couple of years ago, I had my cataracts removed and my lenses replaced with artificial ones. The typical procedure is to operate one eye and then complete the other eye about one month later. So for one month, I had one eye with a new lens and one eye with my old lens.

When cataracts form, often there is a yellow film that is deposited on the eye. This means that when looking at the world you see it with a yellow tinge. But you don’t realize that it is yellow tinted. To you it is just reality.

That is until you have one eye with a new right lens and one with the old left one. The pictures below illustrate what looking through one eye and the other eye looks like. Seriously folks, that’s really what it looks like. The sky is slightly yellow. The girl’s dress is an orange red instead of a blue red.


Having this kind of color bias made for interesting conversations with my wife on clothing color and discussions with my artistic director about lighting for theatre staging.

Which goes to show you that perception is reality. Perception is comprised of many steps. The first is based on trusting that they data your senses are giving you is accurate. The data is processed to information and then the information is translated into a point-of-view of yourself in the world.

This experience certainly demonstrates the importance of have good data. But you can also imagine how processing difficulties can also change your perception. In addition, if you have challenges in translating the information – your perception will differ.

In any case, the truth is that your perception is your reality. As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” It is a matter of perception.

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