Sunday, 2 March 2014

Perception and the Pursuit for True Democracy

Perception:  the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses.

This is a broad definition of the word. Perhaps purposely so, leaving certain interpretation open. It attempts to encompass all of that which is experienced through the senses, but it never actually identifies or lists said senses. How many are there anyways? Five? Six? How many of us know someone with that sixth sense? 

Another thing this definition leads the reader to think, is that those senses are concrete and identical to each of us. We all see the same way. We all hear the same way. We all smell, feel, taste the same way. Or do we? Nope definitely not. As infants, when our brain is making connections and forming these memory structures, our environment and those in it have a huge affect on the outcome. It goes far beyond simply 'training' a child's taste buds to crave or demand sweetness because mum drenched everything in ketchup. It gets down to the core of our being. Down to the cell and it's very structure. We can only remember that which we experience. And how we experience those things affects that memory, and how we see certain things forevermore.

How I have dealt with-- or rather not dealt with confrontation up til now is a direct result of my environment when I was growing up. Some parents fight in front of the kids. And others don't. There exists every shade of grey between these two. My parents never fought. At least not that I remember. So verbalizing my feelings in times of anger doesn't feel right to me. I didn't see it, so I didn't know how to do it. What felt normal for so very long was walking away, shoving down, biting my tongue. But I've seen or babysat kids who thrive on confrontation, clearly getting a thrill from bullying playmates.  Where does that come from?

Because of my childhood in a rural town and my own desire to enter the overly-romanticized field of equine-training, I see people differently too. I know a bit about farming. I associate the smell of silage and manure with productivity and job security ... thus stable income. Scenario: I'm working at a swanky car dealership. In the door comes a smelly, dirty-from-the-fields farmer to look at the Caddy's. My co-worker is a city-slicker and he turns his nose up at our new customer, saying he's going on his break. To him, this customer is a piece dirt and if he had enough money to buy that Cadillac STS then he'd surely dress the part. To me, this customer isn't wearing his wealth on his body. His wealth is grazing in the fields as we speak. It's sitting in the barn dripping oil on the dusty floor. It's ripening in the silo, fermenting into valuable probiotic feed for his flock. Sadly, we see people so very differently at times. That man wrote a check for the car, and bought every product I offered him: rust, dust, and extended warranty too.

The parent who is naturally aloof will raise an adult who is also aloof, or compensates by being overly affectionate.
The parent who doesn't make eye contact will raise a similar adult or an adult who associates eye contact with trust, respect, and understanding ... demanding it from everyone.
The kid who was potty-trained too early may become the adult who is hyper organized, sterilized, methodized ... or become a complete slob.
The kid whose childhood teddy is made with rough canvas cloth will make that adult associate comfort with not cushy super-soft blankies, but with a fabric with more texture and strength.
The kid whose parents were super strict will become a super rigid adult, or will become someone who shuns order and law, always pushing the envelope, always bending rules.
And the kid who was raised by wolves will sniff assholes instead of shaking hands during new introductions.

With so many differences, it's understandable why so many countries are democratic ones. Or are they? People are always saying that elections are rigged. If not actually rigging the count, then surely rigging it by way of buying enough hypnosis marketing to win the votes over. That may be true. But I take issue with a more micro view than that. I take issue with the fact that all of the people in the world who make the big decisions are wealthy and faithful to one of only two or three of the major religions in existence. I'm repeating myself when I say that I've been poor and I've been relatively rich and I definitely saw EVERYTHING differently. But the people making the decisions are not just relatively rich, most of them are well established and wealthy business owners and as admirable and commendable as that is, it doesn't represent the majority!! Not by a long shot! This is one of the reasons I support Matt Mernagh for Mayor of Toronto. Perhaps Toronto NEEDS a mayor who takes the bus on the daily. It needs a Mayor with a tumor and an auto-immune disease so that he can see that maybe Toronto needs to beef up it's "Handicap Accessibility" measures city-wide. Perhaps Toronto not only needs but deserves "fresh eyes" in the house.

Would it be too much to ask to have real and true and uni-level brand of Politics? It's no longer enough to think that you can have one person of each sex and each race be on the panel to attain broad spectrum opinions and input. I want one person of every tax bracket on there, one of every religion including the anti-religion known as Atheism. Making up our Governments and municipal representatives with lawyers and only lawyers makes for a potentially clean-on-paper way of governing, but it doesn't represent reality or what society and each and every part of it needs to survive and be successful.  Financial disparity should not take away your voice!

We all deserve success. Success could be as broadly ranging as being able to finally afford something grandiose, to merely being published on a digital website. The bar as they say, when raised is not at the same level for us all. And that's just fine ... but we need government and authority that doesn't just hypothesize about certain situations, public safety, or municipal planning and spending. We need authority who experiences these things first-hand ... and within the last century!

With so many different perceptions ... so many varying ways to see, hear, feel, taste, be .... we're selling ourselves and our whole society short by not including every shade in that great and varied pallette we know as .... HUMANITY.