I was sitting on my balcony recently, causally glancing over the buildings in the near distance and I saw something I had never seen. Now I have lived in this town, in this apartment building, in this apartment, for more than twenty-five years. I have been venturing out on to this balcony literally hundreds of times. And I never saw it before? It wasn’t the fact that it had been there decades longer than I have, it was that I hadn’t noticed it.
Our eyes may look but it is our brain that sees. How many times have you walked into a room, looked around and missed seeing the person you were there to meet? They were standing in plain sight but you missed them. How many times have you bumped into something or someone right in front of you? Your eyes were open but your brain was distracted.
I was walking in a mall one day many years ago when I was startled by an old friend, just inches from my face. He said that he had been waving and while I was looking at him, he realized I hadn’t seen him. I hadn’t. My mind, my brain was preoccupied. So, while the saying ‘seeing is believing’ is catchy, I don’t believe it.
Four people see a traffic accident. They will have four different accounts. Ask any First Responder. We all SEE things differently. Our eyes see and our brain interprets. And THAT is what we witness.
I look out over a pristine forest and I see great beauty in the flora and fauna. Someone who makes their living from cutting down those trees sees his children with food on the table and a roof over their heads. We are looking at the exact same thing and yet we ‘see’ something completely different. And therein lies the conundrum.
What is the truth? What is the truth to you? There are some facts that are irrefutable and yet some people refuse to believe them. Why? Perhaps they are unable to handle the truth. And it is so difficult to sift through the masses of information and misinformation that we are bombarded with every day. Sometimes it is easier to listen to whoever speaks the loudest. Sad but true. What does that say about us as a people? Mistakes have been made in the past that affected the entire world because the masses listened to the wrong voice. How can we ensure that doesn’t happen again?
Oh and what was it that I had not noticed? It was the name of the building I was looking at in four-foot letters!