The process of redefinition depends upon a cognitive experience called perception.
Perception differs from each person; conditioned by our experiences of the world and altered by pretty much every occurrence we have.
In March 2010, I attended a work-shadowing placement at an RSPB (bird protection) nature reserve; shadowing the education officer for the reserve. A school came to visit the reserve and my role was to help the students with their activities – from field sketches and worksheets to identifying creatures found while pond-dipping. The students were around 12-14 in age, and one particular incident gave me a sense of the difference in perception.
A peregrine falcon has been nesting within the reserve. This is a rare bird of prey; a predator rarely seen, let alone close up. I have never seen one in the wild; though birds of prey are my interest and I have tried many times to see them.
The mallard duck is the commonest duck in Britain; as far as I know. Any village pond, town square, river or lake has these ducks in abundance; and I know that every student here had seen a mallard duck, and I doubt any of them had seen a peregrine falcon on a nest.
However; upon climbing to high ground to look over the wetlands; someone spotted a duck and looked on their chart to see its name.
Instantly the entire group of 15 children got excited; hurriedly turning their binoculars towards the sighting.. or one of the sightings, for their were about 100 of the damned ducks.
These children would have walked past probably a thousand of these very birds in their hometowns; but staring out half a mile they found a joy in the discovery.
The little egret I spotted (my first ever wild sighting!) was ignored. The peregrine I’d hoped to see never made an appearance; but we found its empty nest, and the children were bored of the idea.
Partly, they were excited by this new name. ‘A mallard’. I bet if one of the teachers had said “it’s a duck; like you get at home”, they would have got excited over the egret instead (rarer than a duck).
Their perception of the experience was to go to this special reserve and see a brown-ish bird in the distance with a cool name.
However, my upbringing and idea of “normalcy” feeds into my own perception, which caused them to be happy and me to be unhappy, in this instance. I valued two rare birds, wanted to share this love with the next generation and was beaten by a common duck.
I’m aware of things I’d say were “boring and normal” which would excite others. Badgers eat food out of the patio bowl; just a metre from our dining room windows. They actually bore me now; but most of Britain is enraptured by the idea that these creatures live in our countryside, and long to see them in real life rather than on television.
However, I’ve only seen a squirrel in my garden once, in over a decade. I still get excited seeing squirrels – and they’re as common as ducks in the general community. For me though, growing up near no squirrels but with foxes and badgers in our garden and a lake nearby with ducks and swans, squirrels are an amazing creature I consider a rare sight.
Similarly, this April I saw long-tailed tits and a nuthatch in our garden – both common British garden birds, though they’d never been seen in my garden before. My perception causes me to be excited by these occurrences.
Knowing that this is the reason for my sudden annoyance or my joy, means that I can be more patient with those children, and to even see the wonders in animals I’ve come to see as “normal”.
Mallards do have beautiful wing colours, and badgers has a wonderful way of moving.
Is there something that always bothers you about others? Could it be a difference in perception?
I find it helpful to remember a lesson my partner taught me:
“Just because it’s different, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.”
The world is full of differences and the many views are what makes it so colourful.
Is there something that always bothers you about others?
What situation would make you act of they act?
Could it be a difference in perception?
How could you change your perception?
– Rose –
As phoenix rises from ashes into flame, the alchemist turns lead to gold.
Do you need to shine up your dreams and set alight your passions again?
The Alchemy Forge is open and fired up for business; check out the options for shining up your words, redefining your perception and recharging your fire!