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Idle Ramblings of the uncaffeinated kind

A matter of perception: Early morning, pre-caffeine sort of rambling.

If necessity is the mother of invention (Thorstein Veblen), and assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups (Movie Quote: Under Siege 2:Dark Territory), then what do I consider perception?

Is perception solely the sum of our life experiences and knowledge through which we filter our daily input? Or is it something more? Ignoring the obvious answer, can we choose to deliberately alter our perceptions? Perhaps more finely tune our filters?

Consider a segment I’ve worked on recently. An assortment of input received on it included the following descriptive terms: dark, aggressive, graphic, violent, and angry. Please note that yes, I am without a doubt taking these comments out of context for this ramble, and that I also consider all of the above comments compliments of a high order in regard to the piece.

In each instance the segment was filtered through the reader’s perceptions. What I find interesting is how the varying perceptions of what was written differed from my own. Of course, the beauty here is that there is no right or wrong answer. It’s simply a matter of personal filtration and perception. Obviously my perceptual filters are set to a much different level when it comes to anger, aggression and sexual violence. (We’ll ponder that another day).

Different people. Dissimilar filters. Differing perceptions.

If I may momentarily channel a film character in honor of the upcoming North American Release of the new Star Trek movie - Fascinating.

So now I contemplate with bleary-eyed and uncaffeinated wonder, is this something I should consider when I am writing? Or could it be more of an editing tool? At what point do I attempt to view my writing through a more en masse filtration rather than an individual one? Or even should I? Is it possible for me to re-sensitize myself and alter my perceptions at will? Do I want to?

My life experiences and perceptual filter insist that undoubtedly I will not. But then, I know better than to contemplate such things before coffee.

Sometimes, I even succeed.


As a side note here are some interesting words I came across while undertaking caffeination:

Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them. -Epictetus.

Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world. -George Bernard Shaw.

Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world. -Hans Margolius.

We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are. - Anais Nin.

The mice think they are right, but my cat eats them anyways. This is the point, reality is nothing, perception is everything. – Terry Goodkind



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 24th, 2009 12:13 pm (UTC)
Very thought-provoking post. To me, that Anais Nin quote is EXACTLY right - we don't see things as they are at all, but as an extension of our own sight, intention, actions and and reactions. (is this connected to that tree falling in the forest thing...?!)

I know I can react very differently to fiction depending on my own mood. It also depends on what else I may be reading or watching. There have been other blog posts recently on related subjects - such as reviewers experiencing diametrically opposite views of the same book, and also why we sometimes return to a book we previously disliked and find our impressions have changed - and vice versa.

It's all very volatile, IMHO. But I don't think you can possibly hope to 2nd-guess your readers' perceptions - that way lies madness. I don't think one *should*, unless that's a conscious decision to seek the lowest common denominator for whatever reason.

Though I do believe we sometimes hold back - I know I have in the past - and may also try to 'tailor' things according to the majority. That's not always selling out, more like a compromise, and is affected by the *other* aims of writing i.e. not just creative satisfaction. the important thing is not to be hypocritical, I htink, and to realise the fragility, transience and uncontrollability (yes I know it's not a word) of perception.

Oooh, you 've made me muse deeply on this subject which is great. And I've had my allotted 2 coffees already.
Apr. 24th, 2009 12:37 pm (UTC)
Heh - I feel like I should giggle and say "made you muse". LOL.

Seriously, this is why we should keep Chrissy caffeinated. It also keeps her from speaking in the third person.

...that way lies madness... - a good summing up of the entire writing process some days.

*hugs back* Good morning!

Apr. 24th, 2009 11:14 pm (UTC)
On the one hand I think you can only write what you are imagining, and not worry about everyone's perception of it, because you are the one creating here, and you can't guess what everyone else's filter is going to do to your creation.

On the other hand, getting paid for your work means occasionally bowing to the editor/publisher and adjusting your vision in order to get paid.

That's it. Just two hands. I often wish I had more, but there you are.

Happy weekend!
Apr. 27th, 2009 11:29 am (UTC)
Happy Weekend to you too! (a little after the fact but such is). I have to agree - I can't imagine trying to write anything while wondering what someone will think.

And boy, Howdy don't we need more than two hands!!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )