Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Brain Filters


Five people experience the same event. They all write down what happened and now there are five versions, all different, of the exact same event. Five people watch the same video. They all write down what the video was about and now there are five versions, all different, of the exact same video. Even if I go through the exact same thing as you, we will never have the same experience. If I hear the exact same speech as you, we will both interpret it differently.

That is why we can never say we know exactly how someone else feels, because though our experiences may be very similar, there is always something in someone's brain that alters their experience differently from our own.

That is why we can learn from other's mistakes but ultimately have to make our own mistakes anyways. That is why we all grieve differently. That is why children from the same family end up with drastically different views on life.

That is also why we should share ideas with each other, share our stories, share our viewpoints with each other because we all have different viewpoints that can help enlarge other people's thinking.

Many times in my life, someone has said something that changed how I thought of a concept or experience. Their viewpoint was one my brain couldn't/didn't think of by itself, but when I heard it, my brain applied it to my life and I was enriched.

In my writing class, a man told a story of how he was transporting tigers from one state to the next for a zoo. He had stopped at a gas station and a little boy had seen the tigers in the back of the van. He ran to tell his mom that he saw tigers in the car next to his, but his mother wouldn't believe him. She couldn't conceive the idea of there being tigers in the vehicle next to theirs at a gas station so she refused to believe him though he was telling the truth. The man said he is now careful with himself when listening to his kid's stories to try to understand when they are telling the truth though it may not seem like it.

Our teacher then asked, "Is it possible to see things that aren't really there?" We said that it probably was. So the teacher then asked, "So anytime a child says they saw something, then to them, they probably did see it, right?"

Children have amazing imaginations. They see knights in shining armor, fire breathing dragons, and a beautifully dressed princess in an empty field while they play. If a child tells you he talks with his dog and his dog answers, then to him, the dog probably does answer- it's real to him.

As much as you think you know someone, you can never know them completely. The phrase live and let live comes to mind. As long as a person is not hurting you, then why can't they live their own life? If they are hurting you, get help and put some distance between yourselves.

If we could understand each other's points of view, there would be more sympathy, more kindness, more appreciation, more understanding, and more generosity. Let's live in that world, even if it's only in our own minds.

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