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How do you perceive your world? October 23, 2009

Posted by jassnight in Uncategorized.
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From which lens do you see from?

From which lens do you see from?

In my last blog entry, I touched a bit on life-perception and influence. Today, I thought I would go into greater depth on this topic.

Without going into a full lecture of meta-theoretical perspectives and the paradigms involving epistemology (the way people learn) and axiology (the way people perceive their world,) let me just state that people will perceive their reality through two possible lenses.  These lenses are either interpretivism or behaviorism and there is a big difference between the two. Behaviorists believe that their world perception and learning is determined by a slow progression of awareness of a pre-determined existence – objective awareness.  It is the well-known Forrest Gump paradox: “Life is a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.” Interpretivists believe that their life perception is shaped by previous experience and influentials (such as parents, peers, teachers, and religious leaders.) They “interpret” their existence through these parameters – subjective awareness.

The argument is this; is there only one, external reality that can only become aware to us by growth in perception (Behaviorist viewpoint)? Or, are there multiple realities that are conceived internally through individual interpretation of external events and connections (Interpretivists).

There are arguments for both of course, but think about this. If we were all destined to believe that there is only one reality, wouldn’t we all be voting for the same candidate in an election? Wouldn’t we like all the same foods? Wouldn’t we all drive the same cars?

While I was a student during my last degree work, I was on a research team. One of our discussions centered around which type of research tool to use to capture information. Being an interpretivist, I argued that a qualitative tool would best serve our needs. My colleague, a behaviorist, saw a quantitative tool as being more effective.  One day I finally said to him, “just the fact that we have two different viewpoints about this subject suggests that reality is subjective and not objective.” He had no choice but to agree with that statement.

How do you perceive your world?



1. Nicki - October 25, 2009

While I am definitely in the interpretivist camp, I readily admit it is not a smooth road to travel. Because each person’s external forces – whether upbringing, environment or past experiences – are so varied and different, this lens tends to cloud one’s judgement at times. One person can look at another’s life through only the original person’s experiences. This may cause the first person to believe the second person has a much better life. Without being able to see the second person’s experiences, upbringing, environment, this thought of “the grass being greener” may not be close to being true.

jassnight - October 25, 2009

Many will compare their reality with others and see a possible “better fit” but let us look more internal. Interpretivists do believe that their life is shaped by external forces, however, who is to say that those external forces created the reality that is appropriate for themselves? Carl Jung talks about “Personas” that are developed out of external expectations on “Self” regardless of how appropriate it is for “Self” (Jung uses the term “Self” as his definition of Soul.) If the match is not a good one, it can cause horrible internal conflict. This discussion can get involved and best for me to save it for a future blog entry. Stay tuned!

2. Deena Kay - November 17, 2009

I realize I’m late to the party here and may be way off…. but I came anyway 🙂

I am not sure what I would be or am. The only way I can describe my “reality” is this. What I perceive, is. What I do not perceive, isn’t. Now, I know that sounds limited but it isn’t because I constantly reach out to perceive more. You know that saying “If a tree falls in the woods and there’s nobody around to hear it, does it make a sound?”… I think I got that quote right. Anyway, for me, if I didn’t see it, hear it fall. It didn’t happen in MY reality but it doens’t mean it didn’t happen in somebody elses. Reality to each person is as unique as the individual themself. 🙂

jassnight - November 17, 2009

Welcome to the interpretivist camp Deena!

3. BigLittleWolf - December 2, 2009

And are you sure that’s all we get? Box of chocolates or influencers? And for those of us who are hybrids? And for what we haven’t discovered as yet – through any lens – measurable or perceived?

There’s rarely a single “truth,” a single reality. Some things are, indeed, fact. But then there’s the spin around the facts – and it’s always colored through some sort of perception. Differently each time, even by the same observor.

Cool stuff, Steve.

4. The Feast of the Epiphany « Nicki's Thoughts, Art & Friends - January 3, 2010

[…] I listened my thoughts went to a blog entry from Steve on how we perceive our lives. The Magi were Interpretivists.  They each perceived the baby that they had come to worship through […]

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