(For the record, AW regards British
Israelism in any form as irredeemably fallacious, totally discredited, and
Perception is key to our core being
Perception is our personal view of reality. How we see things sets the tone for everything we do: It is the foundation of our priorities; it establishes the interaction for relationships; it sets our ethics and morals; it defines our work ethic; it positions us for a life point of view; it helps determine our level of happiness.
Perception is key to sanity: At the heart of all mental illness is distorted perceptions. It doesn't stop there. Distorted perceptions plunge people into problems. Distorted perceptions plunge people into debt because the perceptions influence the priorities people set for themselves. Distorted perceptions are involved in all sorts of health problems: For example, lung cancer is caused by smoking within people who have the distorted perception that they need cigarettes; alcohol abuse results when people have the distorted perception that must have alcohol; addictions are based on the distorted perception that the person with the addiction must have something that is destructive to them.
Positive realistic perceptions lead to well-being. The closer the perception is to reality, the better chance of success a person has. If you correctly perceive a person is the right choice for you, you have a very good chance of having a permanent, happy, stable marriage. Correct perception will give you a sound mind, able to avoid con games and psychopaths. Reasonable perception will enable you to gain a measure of being healthy, wealthy and wise.
Certainly, if a person perceives defeat, they will most likely be defeated. Perception establishes a belief system. The belief system extends our view of the world. You may not be able to see your car in the garage at the moment, but with your perception creating a belief system around and within you, you "know" that the automobile is there, right where you put it, all things being equal. If a person perceives that they can achieve success through planning, preparation, diligence, insight and innovation, then, with the proper materials, processes and opportunities, failure is nearly impossible if the goal was attainable in the first place.
Those who claim "Perception is reality" are scoundrels. Perception might be your reality, or someone else's reality to them, but it is not reality. No reasonable person who watches the movie, "A Beautiful Mind", the story of Dr. John Nash and his struggle with schizophrenia, can come away unshaken by the experience: The plots and schemes, the intrigue, all seemed so very real because we watch reality from the distorted perception of a mental patient. When we realize that it was all a psychosis driven fantasy, our perception is rocked to the point of disbelief--the distorted perception created a reality within us which is hard to dismiss. The problem begins with "Perception is reality" as a powerful inducement to persuade you that the most outrageous propositions are reasonable by managing your perceptions to distort them for the benefit of some narcissist. Once distorted perceptions gain a foothold, it is nearly impossible to dislodge them.
Narcissists are among the worst people for distorted perceptions. They have convinced themselves that they are the center of the Universe and that everything revolves around them--a distorted perception for sure. By bending and shaping the truth into lies and deceptions, they make themselves and everyone else around them miserable. You know them intuitively: Narcissists are "high maintenance" and demand resources they should never be given. Giving narcissists the attention they demand is neither good for them, nor is it good for you. They have this total lack of empathy, which is a distorted perception in itself: They have the distorted perception that it is not important to recognize the feelings of others. The only thing that matters to the narcissist in its distorted perception is itself. This places a tremendous burden upon those who strive to serve the narcissist which is a distortion itself. The narcissist itself loses because it severs the relationship with those it needs the most through arrogance--and arrogance is the result of another one of those distorted perceptions.
A clear and present danger we all face is the pressure we receive from others around us: From the time we are born, we face the prejudices of our parents, relatives, peers and associates to adopt their own version of reality in the form of distorted perceptions. If parental influence of various perspectives isn't enough, a confused child will certainly fall prey to distorted perceptions as they enter their socialization phase in kindergarten and grade school. Inestimable damage was done to innocent youth subjected to racial prejudice in the deep South in the United States, even as late as the Sixties with the teaching that the "Negro" was less than a human being--a legacy also incorporated into Nazi thinking in World War II, where Jews were thought to be subhuman by the Germans. This thinking has been with us forever. Jews were persecuted by both Catholics and later Protestants in Europe from the time AD had only three digits. Royalty had their own ideas about having a Divine Right of Kings, which has now transmogrified itself and adapted to modern times by inculcating itself into the Corporate World as Executive Privilege--and there's little more crazy than Corporate Management these days, unless you count religion. Religious cults range from radical Islamic Arabs who learn hatred before the children can even speak, to the Cultmeisters of extreme Western "Christian" religions which teach the distorted perception that they are "The One True Church", and, as mentioned in Analog Magazine by Dr. Stanley Schmidt in an editorial, people like Gerald Flurry who established the Philadelphia Church of God to proclaim that everyone but those who were loyal in his little group would be thrown into the lake of fire: Pay up or you are toast. Of course, Dr. Schmidt didn't know the half of it, what with the alcoholic who calls himself "That Prophet", meaning that he thinks he is actually Jesus Christ in the flesh. This is an example of how sick religious leaders are with distorted perception. The peer pressure to conform to this delusional thinking is only matched by the pontification of the ministers as authority figures, adding the threat of damnation to their influence in order to extract tithes from a weak minded membership willing to adopt such psychotic thinking.
For the purposes of clarity of thought and just plain sanity, it is always well to bank the question to keep it ready: "Who died and left you God?".
While we are slaves to our own thoughts when we have distorted perceptions, be certain that if you give your mind over to be managed by someone else, it will be even that much more badly managed.
Correct perception enables people to avoid those who are bad for them and enables people to find the right path for them. Correct perception leads people to well being through active practical wisdom and good judgment. Correct perception enables people to avoid scoundrels. Correct perception leads to health and sanity.
Distorted perceptions are all around us. Television is the most powerful hallucinogen of our time: It causes us to see and hear things which are not truly real. It's just dots on a screen, which, through the persistence of vision, enables us to create a picture in our brain of the model of a reality. Even reports live from the scene are mere representation--we don't really have the murder victim in our living room, neither do we have the cold medicine in our bedroom. We are watching it on TV.
Those who would use distorted perceptions to influence us to their advantage are everywhere. They coerce us to believe that we cannot live without their "product". Whether it is the advertisement on the aforementioned tellie, or it is a cult leader attempting to create distorted perceptions within us to gain a following to themselves, it pays to advertise and it pays very well to subvert people's perception.
Distorted perceptions are very powerful. Those who ignore distorted perceptions because of their feelings and emotions are very unwise. Perceptions have built empires and perceptions have destroyed empires. Perceptions have edified people and perceptions have ruined people. As for the latter, reputations are built upon perception and can have a powerful affect upon those who are in the public eye. Popularity can make you rich. A ruined reputation can make you poor. The distorted perception that induces a person to commit crime will probably lead them to prison. Buying something you don't need based on a distorted perception will lead you to debt and possibly into bankruptcy. Consuming things which are bad for you based on distorted perceptions will lead to sickness and disease, possibly even death. No amount of perceiving that the negative effects of distorted perception were really good for you will ever change the reality. The distorted perception that you are a loser makes you a loser.
Distorted perception often influences people to believe that others--particularly salesmen and leaders actually care about them. This fantasy is carefully cultivated for the advantage of those who promote it. They make money off us. They make retirement off of us. They get rich and prosperous off us--all because we have allowed ourselves the luxury of self-deception of distorted perception. It makes us feel good. It ruins us.
The worst part of believing that "Perception is reality" is the subsequent inescapable corollary that "The end justifies the means", which leads to widespread behavior that is immoral, unethical and illegal. Those whose perceptions were sufficiently warped by scoundrels believe that it is necessary to do absolutely anything to achieve "good" results. In the modern corporation, what is right and moral is what everyone surrounding wants from you, and it is your duty to do absolutely anything and everything, no matter what the consequences, to achieve whatever goals you have been given to pursue. The deception influences those slaves to it, to neglect responsibility for the consequences of their actions. Those who resist such distortions are rejected as "whistleblowers", "troublemakers" and "dissidents", leaving those who hold distorted perceptions comfortable with their inappropriate views of reality. It isn't just mentally ill people who are persuasive with the craziest of ideas--it is corporate, academic, governmental and religious leaders who are guilty of the evils which proceed from such a foundation. The result of living and practicing distorted perceptions is abandonment of any hope of having stability, order and peace.
Herbert Armstrong was the first of those within the church of gods to work to create distorted perceptions. He created misery for tens of thousands of people through advertising his distorted perceptions of British Israelism, his views on makeup, his ideas about faith and doctors. Many died; many went broke and bankrupt; many lost their spouse and families; many lost their jobs; many lost their education; many lost their future. These were the result of pursuing the distorted perceptions of high concept from Herbert Armstrong. He left a legacy of those who continued to promote his distorted perceptions and many new ones besides, creating an environment of chaos and confusion within an ecology of corrupted priorities and even more corrupted morals and ethics. The distorted perceptions have made a comfortable living for those who we perceive as our ministers, but who only care about their own comfortable lives and do not care about us. Only those who resist and abandon distorted perceptions will have an opportunity to escape to a life of stability, order and peace.
Perception is the building block of faith. By faith we can all do powerful and wonderful things, both for ourselves and others. Each of us can establish reasonable goals, plan for them and achieve them for the benefit of the community. By faith, pathetic fat alcoholics led people to win their freedom from an oppressive tyrant during World War II. By faith, the United States was established. By faith, a man stepped on the moon in 1969. Faith is a powerful thing. With the right perception it is a force for good.
So there you have it. Perception is a tool. As a tool, perception can be used in a variety of ways. It can get you organized. It can get you out of debt. It can build your community. It can enable you to find God. It can heal the nations. It can transform our lives. It can give us hope. It can give us faith. It can give us a viable future. It can give us peace. It can give us stability. It can give us sanity. It can give us the gift of freedom.
Beware of distorted perception.
If you want sanity, stability, freedom and peace, abandon distorted perception.
Use perception wisely for the benefit of all.
Just be sure that when you adopt a perception new to you, it is not someone else's distorted perception, because it will be costly and cause you pain.
Last Updated: Sunday, April 24, 2005