Thursday, February 25, 2016

Perception is Reality?

Perception is not reality. Reality is reality. A mad man may perceive that the people around him are lizards but that does not make it true. We may strive to understand the mad man's perception but we do so while knowing the reality.

Sloppy language, like sloppy labels, can shut down thought. It can head off further inquiry and produce skewed reactions, as in "Well, if that's how he (or she or we) perceived it then the question of whether or not it is true is irrelevant."

No. What is true is vitally important. Perceptions may provide an excuse or explanation for someone's conduct but they don't alter reality.

We can find a similar problem with the "appearance of impropriety" standard, another convenient dodge. Just because something appears improper doesn't mean it is improper. Such cases should be approached with that fact in mind and individuals should have the guts to make the distinction.

Not everything that looks bad is bad.


Daniel Richwine said...

As a corporate accountant, I'm responsible for generating and managing the financial statements for my company. I constantly remind those I work with that my job is to make sure the financial statements reflect reality, not just to make sure everything ties out neatly.

When these statements are released into the wild, all that 99% of people will know about the company is what they say. It is the essential part of my job that the story they tell is correct.

Michael Wade said...


Excellent point!

It reminds me of a cynical slogan that I heard from an old sailor: "Shine it must, work it may."