Things aren’t always what they appear to be.

Perceptions seemingly drive reality in this chaos with which we allow ourselves to be conformed. We’re culturally conditioned to believe and behave in ways that program us to embrace and accept certain concepts as normal.

But what’s normal and who in the world was given permission to define what’s normal for me versus what’s normal for them?

The minute you realize you’re a non­con­formist you might as well paint a big bull’s eye on your back. You’ve just become a target for every insecure person convinced their job title entails making sure everyone’s abiding by the perceived reality.

You better believe perception drives reality. Remember the Y2K scare? There were extreme stories of people buying 55 gallon barrels of oil, gas and all kinds of non-perishable goods. All because they believed on Jan. 1, 2000, there suddenly was going to be catastrophic shortages and that played on their fears and insecurities.

Was the Y2K problem, bug, glitch or computer formatting or storage of calendar dates ending in zeros really a problem? Who knows for sure, but marketing and retail gurus know exactly how the human brain works. And when you catastrophize a situation, so the perception is believable or at least possible, then the fear response takes over and insecurity breeds conformity.

It’s the basic bandwagon mantra our culture loves everyone to be on board. So get your ticket and get on board because this is the last train that can take you anywhere.

What does all this mendacious fear mongering and false perceptions do to a society and the human heart? It controls them. And that’s what conformity is all about.

The nightly news is living proof of this phenomenon and reports in such a way to keep you coming back night after night. If you’re a regular news watcher test this concept by abstaining from watching any news on TV for a week. It’s OK, the earth most likely will keep revolving around the sun if you stop watching the nightly news.

But how will you survive without news for a week? At first, you may seem lost, but as the week progresses you may feel a sense of euphoria, finding yourself acting in ways that are outside your norms. As you give yourself permission to color outside the lines, you’ll be less afraid and more willing to take some risk.

Because the perceptions driving the reality of our culture, to conform, will have lost some of their control over your mind. This matters because once you see things for what they really are perceptions can no longer have permission to control your reality.

This idea reminds me of a game my fifth grade class played. One student was blindfolded while another student led them around coaching them to pick up and feel different objects. Some objects were recognizable, but many students were unable to know and understand what they had touched and handled until the blindfold came off and they were able to see what the objects really were instead of what they thought they were.

The argument can be made that until the blindfolds came off the students were being controlled, so their reality was being conformed to what they could hear the other students say about what they were feeling. Either way, blindfold or no blindfold, the exercise was all about what was happening to students and how they felt about what was happening around them.

Delusive perception’s are all about what’s happening to you and all around you. And this is the perception used to drive your reality.

But what if the reality’s more about controlling you and having you conform to the point your being led around like a blindfolded fifth grader?

Jesus said, “And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into a ditch.” Who’s perception is leading your understanding of reality?

Dr. T.J. Kimble of Radcliff is a clincal pastoral counselor. He can be reached at tj@yourbestlifenowcounseling.com.

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