Blue or Green is a guest post from Galen Pearl who I’m so happy to welcome again on Everyday Gyaan.
When I was a girl, I noticed that occasionally, I would disagree with someone about whether something was blue or green. It didn’t seem to be an issue with other colors, only those two. And in each instance, I was sure the color was blue and the other person was just as sure it was green.
My initial assessment of these arguments was that these other people had not learned their colors properly in kindergarten. I couldn’t believe that they identified as green what was so clearly blue.
Then one day another explanation appeared, first as a random thought flitting through my mind, but then taking hold of my imagination and expanding like a supernova.
What if the difference in our color labels wasn’t caused by faulty early learning? What if, instead, the difference originated in what our eyes saw? What if color wasn’t an objective quality of the object, but rather a subjective quality of our individual “seeing” mechanisms?
I made a quantum leap to the idea that our reality is shaped by our perception of it, that we actively participate in creating the reality that we think we are objectively perceiving.
Ho hum, everybody knows that now. But at the time, I thought I was the only person who had ever had this idea. It was my first epiphany and I knew I was onto something big!
Sometimes, when I catch myself locked into opposing positions with someone, I think back to my color arguments. It is possible that we are arguing about something based on our individual perceptions of reality? If so, then there really isn’t an objective answer, and thus there are no grounds for argument. Can’t we simply respectfully agree to disagree?
Not long ago I read on various blogs several thought-provoking posts about whether online relationships are “real” friendships, including Corinne’s excellent post about several bloggers who acted in concert to help another blogger in need.
The need was real, and the caring outreach was real. True, these people never met face to face. So is the friendship real? If it is real to the people involved, then who am I to say it isn’t?
When I was a girl, I and several of my friends had pen pals, kids who lived in places far away, often in another country, with whom we corresponded in letters we wrote by hand on real paper, and sent through what is now called snail mail. We waited weeks rather than moments for a response. It was the dark ages of communication. Even so, I know some of us considered our pen pals to be real friends. I don’t recall anyone questioning that. But in today’s cyber world of virtual reality, where things are often not what they seem to be, perhaps we’ve grown more jaded, or more suspicious.
Perhaps the differing views on this question of real friendships that exist primarily or exclusively online have little to do with the existence of an objective answer and much more to do with individual views about our online interactions.
Blue or green? Depends on whose eyes are looking.
We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are. –Anais Nin
~ Galen Pearl
Visit Galen here.