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Re: "Perception is reality"
I believe that Ruth and others have set the picture quite accurately. I
believe I understand what Bill means and is
trying to convey by using the "perception is reality"
theme, but it just does not work conceptually as a general
I thought that "realities" are essentially and ultimately
a matter of intersubjective agreement. Perceptions, I
thought, are completely idiosyncratic. Perceptions either
may or may not coincide with reality. Obviously, one's idiosyncratic
perception may or may not be real, but it
seems equally obvious that these constructs are independent
and they may or may not overlap.
It seems to me quite unreal and useless to assert a general proposition
that perception IS reality. This is only
necessarily true or correct for an individual.
Maury Siskel email@example.com
If a cow laughs, does it spit milk out its nose?
> My disagreement with this concept is that it results in misapplication
> of resources, which can have dangerous or even fatal consequences.
> Perceptions that have no consequence for anyone except the person
> doing the perceiving are not of concern, to me at least. Re the "flat
> earth" example: I certainly wouldn't hire a crew member who believed
> the ship would fall off the end of the earth -- not in 2002, anyway --
> and if the individual were a passenger, it would be up to him or her
> to decide whether to try the voyage. I'd tell that person that we
> have approximately 500 years of evidence to the contrary, and I agree
> with Ted and Kai and others that this irrational belief shouldn't be
> A more realistic (and "rad-related" ) example is the person who does
> not wish to work with radioactive materials at all because of fear of
> the consequences of any exposure. That is that person's choice,
> clearly. One can only present the facts of the situation and allow
> the individual to make up his or her own mind.
> However, the "rub" comes when perception results in poor decisions
> that affect more than just the "perceiver." Promoting laetrile as a
> cancer cure led a number of cancer sufferers to avoid effective
> treatments for too long. Currently the United States spends a great
> deal of money and resources mitigating the putative effects of
> radioactive materials spills and too little protecting children's
> health (and adult health) from less exotic but far more damaging
> impacts. Imagined radiophobia can result in avoiding routine dental
> x-rays and other medical applications of ionizing radiation. There
> are many other examples.
> How is such perception best changed? It seems to me one has to tell
> the truth, as several correspondents have noted, and one has to tell
> it unequivocally. The earth is not flat, and the ship won't fall off
> the end. A lifetime of dental x-ray is most likely to result in good
> dental care and healthy teeth and gums and very unlikely to result in
> cancer. The money currently spent on implementing regulation of
> ionizing radiation would save a lot more lives if it were spent on
> health insurance for the uninsured.
> Ruth Weiner, Ph. D.
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