I was told an interesting allegory recently about perception & points of view, and how your own stance and position can colour your take on what you perceive.
There’s a beachball sitting on a table, which is vertically divided into two colours; the left half is blue, and the right half is red.
Around the table are four people at the top, bottom, left and right sides of the table, and you ask each of them in turn what colour the beach ball is.
- The left person says the ball is entirely blue.
- The right person says the ball is entirely red.
- The top person says the ball is blue on the left, and red on the right.
- The bottom person says the ball is red on the left, and blue on the right.
And everyone of them is correct, but none of them can see the big picture.
I guess what I’m really getting at (or how it was explained to me) is that if you’re a symbolic interactionist, then you perceive the world in a symbolic interactionist manner, if you’re a positivist, then you perceive the world through your possitivist goggles etc. – but just because you or I might understand the world in a given way, that doesn’t make it the truth or necessarily anything even close to the truth.
I think what we’re really talking about here is subjective reality (how the world is perceived) versus objective reality (how the world truly is), and the fact that the two don’t always match up. So to celebrate this revelation (to me), here’s the same allegory as an infographic performed by the mother fuckin’ A-Team, yo!