On my walk to the Greek Festival today, I passed the old Custom House, where in 1846, Commodore John D. Sloat of the United States Navy, raised the U.S. flag and claimed California for the United States. If that event had never happened, we would not be able to sing as we do now in America the Beautiful, “from sea to shining sea!”
Perspective is “a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.” Perception is “the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses” (touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing). Even though people tend to use these terms interchangeably, the two terms are different from one another. Simply said, perspective is a point of view, but perception is an individual’s interpretation of things (gained through awareness). So the key difference between the two terms is that our different perceptions (awareness) create our perspectives (points of view) or maybe it is just the opposite?
Why do I perceive the world as I do? Why do others perceive it differently than I do? Today I had a conversation with a fellow whose perspective (point of view) in the political realm is totally opposite my own. His perceptions (what he has seen, touched, tasted, smelled, and heard) throughout his whole life, has shaped his point of view, just as what I have seen, touched, tasted, smelled and heard, (experienced) my whole life through, has shaped my point of view. This dilemma makes every human life unique—one of a kind. We all perceive the world differently based on our experiences, beliefs, education, etc. These perceptions provide our point of view (perspective) and often times, objective reality doesn’t matter much.
Here are some quotes I’ve been working with this evening as I ponder my perspective and that of others:
—“What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.” (C.S. Lewis)
—“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” (Wayne Dyer)
—“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern.” (William Blake)
—“The optimist sees the donut, the pessimist sees the hole.” (Oscar Wilde)