The Conundrum of Perception and Perspectives

The Conundrum of Perception and Perspectives


“That bullet is coming towards me, let me dodge,” said the ‘Iron Hand’ illusionist, in one of the comic strips I had read in my childhood.

“Impossible,” my mind countered at that time.

“Possible,” my mind assured after 15 days of fully dedicated Shivananda Yoga classes in my later years. I certainly felt the elasticity or relativity of time. Time slowed and my mind seemed to acquire the ability to peacefully imbibe the manifesting world, and also resolve any issues as it arose.

A simple question arose in my mind, “Why is our science not able to decipher the extents of human nature and put into practice the mastery of the mind, rather than culture us to be beings of indiscriminate ‘free will’ preening ourselves to become the best fitting cog in the current world order. The world is changing though, from an industrial society to a knowledge society. Rather than changing the education system for future proofing, are we not still in an industrial society mindset?

Do you know about ‘Mind the Trickster’ reality? ‘Mind the trickster’, if unchallenged will trick you into situations beyond your control. In the analogy of psyche as a computer, we can consider the brain as a processor, heart and soul as a conscience keeper for ethical reference and compassion, memory as the repository of all our memories including our learnings, mind as the software which selects and places the thoughts in the brain and interprets its result. The software selects thoughts based on conditions or modes. In existential crisis mode, for entity protection, the mind will initiate an exclusive save mode, all the faculties fired up. At times of harmony and peace, it will invoke creativity mode for unleashing creative energies.

We have heard the story of blind people interpreting an elephant. Some think it is a big fan, some a rough wall, some a big hose, and so on.  Thus, our perception of the world is dependent on the faculties we have and the mastery we have over them.  Our chemistry, sensory limits, knowledge limits, mind the trickster with its existential nature and imageries, fixations and echo, and the paradox of time, limit our ability to perceive. Everything in life is in motion, and we are in a flux of thoughts and ideas. To decipher the truths, we need a practical science or philosophy. A theory of knowledge for true cognition of the world like ‘Pramanas’ in the Indian philosophy can help.

A group of blind men went searching for  an elephant

It is strange to note that in the current education system, there seems to be no importance of learning about cognition and development of self, social and environmental awareness, essential to conduct yourself in a rapidly changing world. It is almost like a persisting conspiracy of some order to alter your perception and culture you as an alluvial clay, a mere resource which they can mould at their whims for their purposes. Is it they or us? Have we got trapped in an order built for a different world?

Do you know corals and their beauty? Before you even try to know, it will be lost from the memory of humanity. Because it will be dead and gone. Before long, your bright colourful nature will start becoming grey and dark, and you can enjoy science fiction life. Have you read in the newspapers or seen on the TV, how many forest fires and floods happened in the last 3 months, and are happening on a day to day basis? Have you thought about why are these happening, and what is your responsibility towards it? Have you noticed, how many laws changed which could affect your citizenship, food, life, tax paid, and the future sustainability of nature?

“If you help that old lady to cross the road, then you are a communist.” Some might say this in a purely capitalist country where ‘survival of the fittest’ works. In countries like Japan social order is sacrosanct. Community as a beautiful living formation concept deep-rooted in their minds calls for values of kindness and support one another. This works in their collective psyche to make life beautiful. Wholistic thinking of the world as one ecosystem vs one-dimensional dialectical thinking with humans as superior is in the fray.

Invariably the world is in a clash of perspectives. We are now forced to rethink about the underlying issues of perspectives that drive our individual, social, and collective life on Earth. You are working with what you have perceived which depends on your knowledge, health, mindset, and experience. The conundrum is that we all are in our universe of subjective reality based on what we have perceived. Truths are so elusive unless we develop sincerity to ourselves and perceive objectively without judgement until you get convictions of the right way.  These convictions should give true perspectives. This can only come through multiple experiences, experienced with an open heart, fresh mind without any judgement, with at most sincerity to oneself.

I guess experiential learning is the way forward. Experiential learning is non-linear where the memory of the experience of the intellect and the five senses is imprinted in you which cannot be effaced easily as in the case of mere intellectual learning. If you sincerely observe the experience of the senses and the intellect, inconsistencies will clear to bring convictions, and you will get the clues to know what is true. Then there are boundless avenues of crossing your barriers and transcending to new perceptions.

So, will you be able to see the real elephant, and the elephant in the room?


About the Author

Michael Chandy is the author of the book, ‘Serenity of Thoughts – Virtuous Cycles for Sustainability and Immensity’. With his vast global, Japan, and India professional experience combined with his insights from keenly observing the world following Socrates's view, ‘An unexamined life is not worth living’, he is a staunch believer that re-imaging the world is still possible. Michael rode many waves of transformations, reinventing himself, professionally changing from manufacturing to information technology management to management consulting, and personally wading the cultural ethos of many countries. He lives in Bangalore now. Additional details:


  1. Abdul Jaleel - Reply

    Michael, You pinpointed the reason for the inner conflict each person experience in this one sentence of your blog; “You are working with what you have perceived which depends on your knowledge, health, mindset, and experience”. Importance of your blog is that you have a proposal on how to move forward for a true perspective. It needs to be experienced though.
    Brilliant blog.

    • Sankar M - Reply

      This (being driven by perceptions rather than a ‘reality’) is such a critical and basic, but elusive fact we miss!
      As Michael emphasizes, experiential learning can be truly effective only when engaged and absorbed with “open heart and fresh minds”. Otherwise, the experience would leave you ‘dry’ like “water on a lotus leaf”. The learning environment has to be deliberately tailored for this…

  2. Bhaskar - Reply

    Nice post. As Michael rightly notes, perspective governs action. And it is high time we looked closer into the governing perspectives of our time, and how to find our way out of the hole we have dug ourselves into.


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