Thursday, June 12, 2008

Our Perception is Flawed

Errol Morris is interviewed by David Samuels in May 2008’s Wired Magazine.

The article is completely in prose except for one Question & Answer segment. I was always told that this was a lazy way to write when I tried to do the same thing in the university paper. When the editor told me to do a rewrite, I took his editors advice and wrote the entire article in prose.

Oh well, here’s the quote. It’s worthy of my collection, if not for the quality of the writing.

“His point is that we live in a solid world, but our perception of its flawed and partial:

Q: But don’t you think that we manage to keep up a coherent narrative of who we are and where we’ve been?

A: No! We remember things selectively. We experience things selectively. We live in a kind of incomplete, patchwork-quilt universe. A bric-a-brac. Assembled in some higgledy-piggledy way.”

I like how this quote backs up my theory that we actually edit our lives through our use of what we choose and choose not to remember. It’s also interesting that he admits that we don’t have the whole picture. We can’t possibly know the entire story. We live in a limited point of view story but our stories can connect to other stories and create a quilt.

I don’t think the universe is incomplete or put together is a haphazardly way. I don’t think Morris believes this either. He is merely talking about our experience of the world.

I think that Story can explain why we don’t know everything and cannot come to the ultimate truth of the universe. Of course, characters in a story never know everything. They seldom every realize that they are a character in a story. I can’t really think of an example where a character realized this but I am sure there are stories that can be interpreted as such out there.

I think Morris is right and our perception of reality is flawed. But that is only because we don’t perceive the nature of reality to be Story. If we did, we would have a new perception in which to see the world. And upon seeing it with these new eyes, perhaps we can come to some important truths. It makes sense to me.

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