The Universe of Perception

Andrea Awuah

Andrea Awuah

Staff Writer


On January 13, I was on a bus in my home country of Ghana going to get some supplies. Initially, there was absolute silence in the bus because people were listening to the radio presenter giving general updates on the coronavirus pandemic. It was about the accelerating spread of the virus worldwide and issues about the vaccine.

The silence broke when one man chuckled and said, “I won’t take any vaccine that would infect my immune system with more dangerous diseases. The coronavirus does not even exist; they are just using it to scare us.”

This statement made another man say, “How can you say something like that? They’re speaking of a vaccine to protect you and your family. There is no need to be adamant. The disease does really exist, and I have a medical practitioner friend whose wife has died from the disease. It is very real.”

His next statement was not as calm and even a bit harsh. He said, “The fact that you are an illiterate does not mean you have to be ignorant and negligent about obvious facts.”

These statements infuriated the first speaker into affirming his stance. You can just guess what followed…both defending their stance with unwavering certainty and even insulting each other.

I listened to the heated argument between these two men for a while and asked myself, “Who is right and who is wrong?” Obviously, from my standpoint, the man arguing on the behalf of science is right.  After an internal debate, however, I concluded that it did not really matter to me who was right or wrong after all. Rather, having the ability to respect each other and debate their conflicting viewpoints with open minds was most important.

Perception, perception, perception

Perception lets people think that they are the Superman and Captain Marvel of their own story. Perception, as we all know, is a person’s opinion on matters and how they see the world. It stems from how people absorb, interpret, and make sense of information. It is like Plato’s allegory of the cave; neither the prisoners nor the one who was set free is right or wrong. Rather, it is all about context.

We are the heroes and heroines of our stories and experiences. We share our opinions and experiences with 100% certainty or even more. However, you cannot judge one for that, because we see, feel, touch, and smell every single moment of our experiences.  And these experiences color our way of viewing the world. Considering this, it is logical why we back our ideas with so much confidence since they are shaped by the unique reality we live in each day. At the same time, that is why we have to be open-minded.  Yes! I am writing from a perspective as well. What do you think?

Image of professor and students speaking

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