Thursday, September 14, 2017

Chameleon Attributes of Our Perceptions

"I consider my contribution to psychology to be my subjective confession. It is my personal psychology, my prejudice that I see psychological facts as I do…. It would be neurotic if I saw things in another way than my instinct tells me to do; my snake, as the primitives say, would be all against me. When Freud said certain things, my snake did not agree. And I take the route that my snake prescribes, because that is good for me." ……………..Carl Jung
Jung refers to this purely subjective interpretations of his observation as his ‘personal snake’. The metaphorical reference to the snake comes from age old cultural tradition where the snake always symbolized knowledge both good and evil.
This snake is intimately connected to the snake in the Garden of Eden. It was Eve’s personal snake and her subjective perception to wean out the meaning of good and evil. The tree and its fruit are pure objective realities and in themselves does not have any attribute of good or evil. But through a personal and participatory act with Adam, driven by a filtered and differentiated perception, that she and Adam recognize their illusionary and perishable self, their body. This is the reason we read:
“But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”” ………Genesis 3: 9-11
In Genesis, this cultural meme is an inherent element of the mythological tale to bring home the deeper meaning of false reality.
At the current evolutionary stage of human consciousness, it is important that we address the way both subjective and objective perception are ought to be treated. The good thing about subjectivity is that we are the master of what is perceived and have the option to provide a dynamism and the necessary filters to give deeper meaning to that experience. If on the other hand we experience an objective reality without a detailed filtering, their attributes are given, a priori, through both collective perceptual concepts as well as pressures imposed on the self to conform to concepts derived under an external social religious belief system. This is why the Bhagavad Gita points out:
“Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that of the nonexistent (objective) there is no endurance, and of the existent (purely and deeply subjective) there is no cessation. This seers have concluded by studying the nature of both.” ………Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2: verse 16 …….. (Italic words in the verse by the author)
We are given a very limited set of information in the existent and perceived reality which extends from the very minimal in the purely objective domain to the higher subjective level of information that can act as gateways to the absolute reality that lies beyond
Every subjective experience comes with the option for an acceptance or rejection. If my perception is subjective then I – and I alone – have all the options of influencing or being influenced in a given situation. I alone decide whether I feel that something is good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant, cold or hot, beautiful or ugly!
We experience all external perceptions as if looking through a pair of sensory filters, which determines our interpretation of an external reality. According to the way I change these filters, I change what is really a neutral picture of an event, and convert it to a subjective perception; for example fear, joy, anger or it makes us sad. These subjective feelings are then transferred to the external picture to be good or bad, negative or positive, meaningful or senseless, dark or light, correct or false. The sane set of information of an event can, depending on a set of ambient conditions can give rise to entirely opposite emotions. For example looking at a night sky with millions of stars can give immense joy but the same experience, when one is alone and lost in a desert, can give rise to fear. In our psychological makeup, we become expert chameleons and identify with the external identity which in themselves do not have a universal identity at the gross level.
The only domain where both the external objective reality and the inner subjective reality could be perceived in its true manifestation is at the most fundamental level, the common ground of being.
It is only by moving to this very fundamental level of realization we can ever reach the unperishable reality. A very good suggestion is given in the Gita:
“One who is able to withdraw his senses from sense objects, as the tortoise draws his limbs within the shell, is to be understood as truly situated in knowledge.” ………..Bhagavad Gita chapter 2: verse 58

Love to you all

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