The inspiration for this poem comes from the process of awareness of sensory information that enables us to form a picture or viewpoint of the world around us. Yes, you’ve guessed it…today’s theme is Perception.
Perception opens doors to our understanding of the ways of the mind also known as our psychological processes. The way we behave in relation to our circumstances and the situations we encounter is relative to the way we perceive our world. This means that a successful response or navigation of our environment or circumstances is utterly dependent on the way we process information and how we create our perception.
The information that is fed into the brain comes first from sensory receptors that are specifically designed to respond to a multitude of different types of stimuli and once this information has been converted into what is known as an action potential the appropriate area of the brain can decipher and determine what course of action to take in response. You might be aware of the 5 senses of vision, hearing, smell, touch and taste but we also have senses for balance, body position, pain and temperature. Our perception refers to the way this sensory information is organised, interpreted and consciously experienced by the individual’s brain. The key word being individual. How each of us interprets an experience is determined by an (often subconscious) question: How does this affect me? And at various points in our development we might experience distortions in our perception, whether we are aware of that or not. For instance, as children, the world around us is the only world we have ever known and so that becomes our reference point for what is ‘normal’. But when as we get older and socialise with others, we begin to learn about their normal which might differ greatly from ours.
Normal refers to a pattern that we recognise, and all aspects of life and nature are conceived in a pattern. When there is a noticeable change in the pattern that we recognise it becomes a little harder to make sense of it, for instance when we had to change the way we lived in relation to the pandemic. But there is constant change in our lives even if it’s barely perceptible. If you stand in one point and look in one direction you will see one view. Turn a little to the left and you’ll still see part of what you saw before and a little more of what was out of view originally on the left. You also have the information of what is now out of view on the right. If you turn completely so that you are now facing the opposite way from your original direction what you see may be completely unrecognisable, even though you know the original view still exists, but you can’t see it. Perception works in this way and sometimes our view becomes so unrecognisable it’s like our perception is pixelated…hence the title for my poem : Pixelated Perception.
My perception’s pixelated, I can’t see my way ahead
Where once I had clear vision, it’s now jumbled up instead
And I cannot begin to make sense of what’s in my head
So, perhaps I’ll make a cup of tea or go back to my bed.
Perception is important ‘cos it prompts and cues emotions
And how we feel determines our responses and reactions
We focus on fear or reward to drive our motivations
Which often means when things go wrong it rains on our intentions.
Intention is the start of every action that we make
Like our mind’s GPS it marks the route that we should take
But I can’t move from here ‘til I release the handbrake
The rear-view mirror is all fogged up and my head’s begun to ache.
How does perception work then, how can I alleviate
The source of my confusion: the reason why I vacillate
And so I sit in silence while I try to contemplate
The information that my brain must process to create.
Perception is a collage of sensorial particulars
These things we see or taste or touch or hear through the auricular
Carried through neural pathways in many synaptic vehicular
Straight to the brain an organ which does much extra-curricular.
The information that the brain receives is then assessed
By different regions within its space so it can be processed
Within the deepest cortexes the nervous cells digest
Then decide how to interpret this consciousness bequest.
This legacy of sensory stimulation provokes
An unwrapping of past memories, disrobing from their cloaks
Our cognition is questioned if the situation evokes
Whether the threat is real or whether it is just a hoax.
Meanwhile where am I at what does this situation mean
What are my options, which way forward, how should I intervene?
Your mind can answer all this at once as it theorises the scene
From experience past and present and hypothetically foreseen.
All this means is that perception is like a hidden code
Unique to each one of us like a neurological lode
Where one might see a traffic jam, another sees an empty road
Where someone sees a handsome prince, another sees a toad!