Friday, 7 March 2014

Weights and counter-weights

Samurai had this idea that one should live as though one is dreaming and that death is where we all "wake up" so to speak. Well, that's not entirely true, but then, it's not entirely false either and for the purposes of this piece it's truth enough which is actually pretty lucky as this one is all about perception.

It is one of my favourite things in the world. The idea that someone can experience the exact same thing but recount or otherwise interpret it differently than myself or anyone else who witnessed said hypothetical event. To a lot of people it can be quite scary, not knowing what is going on in other people's heads. I would be lying if I said it doesn't scare me at times, but then at others, I marvel at it, because what else can you do? People often think I'm attacking them when I ask them to explain their point of view on something, because I can be too brusque, too accusatory in tone or whatever...which is a failing on my part, because almost always I am just trying to understand a different perspective. I'm not attacking, I'm not chiding or demeaning, I am simply trying to understand.

Sometimes I do take it too far though and I forget about myself, my own actual point of view, and put on the mask of questioner, the me who isn't me but is... I think everyone does this to some extent, the football fan that, for example, is swept along in the moment and attacks someone for insulting their team, the anti-hate protester who becomes a reflection of the people they are protesting against, the people who care so much it hurts them to care at all. In trying to satisfy the inner desires, to belong, to be good, to be righteous, we do sometimes create a monster.

But of course, you can't see that. It is like living at the bottom of a lake, even if you could potentially see the sky above the water, but you would not know it is dry until you get out. Would you even know what "dry" is, having spent your life at the bottom of a lake? We only know what we can know and, even then, not all of that.

Perception is a funny thing. I know what I am talking about and I think I have even explained it pretty well, but you could interpret it another way entirely. You could be angry that I've implied you've been living at the bottom of the lake (hey, I didn't say perceptions had to make sense) or take umbrage at my use of the word "umbrage" could think it banal, funny, insightful, insipid, boring or anything in between or outside of that range but I can guarantee that not one of you would read it in the exact way I had meant it to be read....which is really poor phrasing for which I do apologise, I am very tired right now. You might get close, very close, but you would never, ever be able to read these words as I would, nor could I ever be exact in the way you interpret maybe you would interpret them correctly because I can't perceive that doesn't mean it can't be done right?! Heh, tangents, love them, anyway.

This has just been a long-way of saying I am leaving the journalism course. For a few reasons; firstly, I don't really believe in objectivity and it seems dishonest to try to claim it as a career. Secondly, you have read my writing, right? It is good, very good, even if I do say so myself, but it isn't really suitable for news (see objectivity complaint). Thirdly, I can't report. I get too interested in what people are saying, why they say those things, the reasons etc....which means I don't get the quotes down....Fourthly; I get bored when people speak (I know, both ends of the spectrum right, almost like a person can have more than one trait!) and I zone out to think about video games, or books, or food, even *whispers* girls! Don't tell the priests! brain isn't quite right, I blame Deadpool. 

Fifth and finally, the cynicism. Now, I am a fairly cynical chap, or at least, I was until a few years ago. I still kind of am, but it's more of a jovial cynicism now...that was until I started doing stories for this course....people hoping for tragedies because they make the best stories....dismissing people's hardships as irrelevant because they won't sell papers...treating people as leads or contacts instead of just...people...there's a dehumanisation there, you know? As much as I dislike being around people I do value them as people, as humans, to be treated rightly not because I'm trying to wheedle a story out of them either now or in the future, but because treating them rightly is the correct thing to do. There is just something ever so slightly abhorrent about it.

Which you may realise is hypocritical because at the start of this I said about my asking people questions to try to understand them, basically getting a "story" for myself. There isn't much of a difference, but, also remember this is about perception, it makes sense in my eyes.

So what now for this old wolf...I have started on the road to sorting out an English course next year, just have to finish and pass the current year, and I might combine it with something, maybe. It looks like I will have to repeat the first year (if I can even get onto it) but that's fine, I expected that. Why did I write about perceptions today, partly it's because I know that people will think I'm insane for doing this, I get that a lot because I do things that seem like crazy snap judgements, but it's not. This particular thing has been bubbling away in my head since the start of the year. If anything, the insane snap judgement was deciding to stick at it to see if it would improve. Generally speaking, these apparently hastily made decisions are the result of months of mostly silent contemplation on the subject. Perceptions are a funny thing.

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