What we see

Eye witness testimony, although popular, has been show to be notoriously inaccurate. By and large we see what we expect to see. (This is not quite the same thing as what we WANT to see, although we are more likely to see whatever it is for which we are actively looking.)

As I got ready for the Anglo-Saxon classes I was teaching at the Pennsic University I was reminded of how different the perspective of the scholars (although they tended to read Old English and Norse, and Latin) differed from that of modern scholars who do not, and even how much the “knowledge” has changed in the 40 years I’ve been studying it. When studying any subject, whether history, or physics, or metaphysics, reading popular books or textbooks, it’s well to remember that even textbooks require constant revision to keep up with current best information. This should always be borne in mind when studying them.

A good example of this is jerks. We all know people who are unnecessarily nasty. But once we decide that’s what they are, if we don’t keep re-examining that assessment, there is no reason for them to change. We constantly try to improve ourselves, so we should allow that others, even the rat bastards who’ve made our lives hell for a while, may, in fact, currently be reasonable human beings. It’s like the weather, listen to the forecast, take your umbrella, but you don’t need to hold it over you when it’s not raining. Like the weather, people can change and we need to allow them to do so. Don’t keep “seeing” someone through the filter of previous experience when more recent experience argues otherwise.

 

Another thing to bear in mind is that while we are bombarded with new material, revisions are based on interpretations (and reinterpretations) of material based on current social/political trends, which may change in the next generation. One must collect information from as many sources as possible, examine the sources for bias, and then check the information against personal experience.
Also, in metaphysics, we must remember that we are beings of spirit and form. There’s a reason why so many spirit beings work so hard to get physical forms- they provide some real advantages in many sorts of experience. But no matter what the being, there will be a filter. So the same person- or god- or creature- will be seen through culturally and personally created filters, and appear very differently to different beings because of that. Our best information is based on how something behaves, and the trick is to reduce our own filters and see as accurately as we can, question not just the assumptions of those we read, but our own, and test them to see if they work, and under what circumstances.

At the same time we cannot automatically reject every filter as we identify it. We must remember that sometimes filters and like sunglasses; we might worry about a percieved crutch, but remember the purpose of crutches. Sometimes, as with sunglasses, or armor, or a crutch and cast, they allow us to function better in a dangerous situation, or heal (create the reality we prefer). They are only to be rejected when they do not (no longer) serve our best interests. Note the “no longer”- the circumstances in which we function change, and we have to constantly update our responses to the new version of reality in which we are living.

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