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Learning To Perceive The Objective Reality Of Our Surrounding


Dr. Tesfa G. Gebremedhin, Professor Emeritus

Life in this world has become uncertain erratic and unpredictable and subsequently people get confused and puzzled by the way things and situations have been happening around us. The way we perceive the world is entirely up to us. The reality we perceive is the reality we want to perceive and it is posible that what is perceived has nothing to do with the truth. Our perception of objective reality is dependent on how we choose to use our vital senses and mind effectively and how we are taught at home and in school to perceive and analyze the things and situations we are surrounded by. Most of the time, what we perceive as our objective reality is what we want to perceive. However, the perception of our reality is not in our control but the control of our environment. This is because many known and unknown kinds of things and all types of situations happen in our surroundings. Our belief is based on objective reality. Reality is what we perceive. Perception is the reflection of what we see, hear and feel, but we only see what we want to see; we only hear what we want to hear and we only feel what we want to feel around us. This is in relation to what the conventional information network is actually communicating, or how the objective reality is being reflected in our perception. It means that we choose what we want to see, what we want to hear and what we want to feel. As the result, we do not see, hear and feel completely what is really happening around us. What is it called when we only see or hear or feel what we want to see or hear or feel? It seems to be a combination of denial, stubbornness, not caring, not paying attention, or not looking at the big picture and neglecting to deal with the reality around us. Do we really perceive what we think we see or hear or feel? If we restrict ourselves to only perceive what we want to see, hear or feel, we are limiting ourselves to know only what we want to know. In other words, we cannot have a comprehensive knowledge or understanding of what is happening around us. It is highly possible that the situation can lead us to create unnecessary conflict and animosity among ourselves because we become narrow minded and ignorant of things happening in our surroundings. This attitude can lead us to be self-centered, small-minded, anti-community concerns and we may even develop an attitude that lacks moral obligation and responsibility to the welfare of our society. There are many of us who prefer to only perceive what we want to perceive based on what we only want to see or hear or feel without considering the interrelationships of things or situations around us. The following three scenarios illustrate how we perceive things or situations in our surroundings.

Once upon a time the streets of Manhattan were filled with the sounds of people, vehicles and noises from the business activities of the city as two friends made their way together through the crowd of people. One was the native New Yorker, and the other was a visiting farmer from out of town. Suddenly, the farmer stopped in his tracks and said, “Listen! I hear a cricket.” His friend replied, “Are you kidding? Even if there was a cricket around here you would never be able to hear it over all these noises.” The farmer remained quiet for a few moments, then walked to a shrub growing in a large cement plater. He turned several leaves over and found the cricket. The city man was amazed by the listening power of his friend and said, “What great hearing you have.” The farmer replied, “No, it is not that I have a special hearing capability. It is because we only hear what we want to hear.” The reality is that there are always all kinds of noises that are happening around us which we may be interested to hear. At the same time, there are also other noises happening around us that we may not be interested to hear or we may not even want to notice. The moral lesson of the story is that it may be wise to be aware of the different kinds of noises in order to have a better understanding of what is really happening around us.

Yisak and Yacob are two best friends. It was Monday morning that Yacob had a Doctor’s appointment for an annual physical checkup. Yisak went with Yacob to the clinic for moral support. There were many people in the clinic waiting to see their respective doctors. There was a young boy with his older sister sitting in front of Yisak and Yacob in the waiting room. The young boy seemed to be in pain. His left arm was in a cast. After a while, Yacob was summoned by a nurse and went inside for his checkup. An hour later Yacob came out and both of them started to leave. On their way Yisak asked Yacob, “Have you seen the young boy? He did look very sick.” Yacob replied, “What young boy are you talking about? Where was he sitting?” Yisak answered with great surprise, “He was sitting in front of us.” Yacob argued by saying, “It was a girl who was sitting in front of us.” Yisak replied again, “Yes, both the young boy and his older sister were sitting together in front of us. You saw the girl, but you did not see the boy because she was a beautiful girl.” The fact of the matter is that Yacob only saw what he wanted to see and that was to see the pretty girl. The moral lesson of the story is that we see the world around us not as it is, but we see it as we are, or as we want to see it. When we open our mouth to describe what we see, we in effect describe ourselves, our perception, perspective and understanding of what we saw.

Kewhilubu is a young shepherd from the highland of Eritrea. One day he lost his donkey and he had been looking for her everywhere. In a certain village he was standing and wondering when he saw a woman crying loudly. He found out that her son died by drowning in a lake nearby the village. There were three men passing through the village and asked the young man, “What is the problem of the woman crying so loud?” The young man replied, “She must be crazy to cry so hard, she only lost a child.” The three men wondered about his reply and asked him again, “What seems to be your problem standing here?” The young man answered, “It is sad that I lost my donkey. I cannot find my donkey anywhere. She disappeared for the last two days” In this case, the disappearance of his donkey is more painful to him than the death of a child to the woman. The young man was insensitive and inconsiderate to the feeling of the woman. He only felt what he wanted to feel without considering the feeling of the woman who lost a son. In fact, his name signifies that his heart is as hard as a rock. If he was properly taught the act of kindness and sympathy at home, he could have a better attitude because a change in thought changes a feeling. The moral lesson of the story is that we really need to practice the sense of feeling by listening to our heart and soul in order to develop rational behavior that shows humane social character and empathy for the feelings of others.

It is human nature to only see, hear or feel what we want to see, hear or feel and ignore anything else that goes against our personal expectations and interest or desire of how things and situations ought to be and prevail in our surroundings. Do we know what is happening in our Eritrean society in Diasporas in relation to our surroundings? We have to be concerned with the current state of our dysfunctional communities, fractured religious institutions and broken homes which may directly or indirectly affect the lives of our younger generation. We need to perceive the dynamics of human relations and social foundations of our people in our respective households, Eritrean communities and religious institutions in order to understand what is really happening with our children. We should be well aware that our younger generation born and grew up in Diasporas are generally displaced or disconnected from our cultural heritage and Eritrean identity. It has also been observed in some European countries and North America that some of our forgotten and neglected new migrant young Eritreans who have been traumatized by psychological and social anxiety and captivated by human trafficking and post-war syndromes are more inclined to committing suicide and being involved in domestic violence and crimes out of despair and hopelessness. It is very sad that we choose not to hear or know of such unfortunate incidences and awful situations happening around us because we only know what we want to know. We need to set aside our differences and light the torch of peace among ourselves in order to pay a special attention, to show a humane concern and to deliver a compassionate care to the welfare of our younger generation. We have to understand that the only best way to bring ourselves together in unity, working together in harmony to save our children with sincerity and participating in the activities of our Eritrean communities and religious institutions in Diasporas. This is a serious challenge that we need to be involved in such great and noble tasks immediately before it gets too late to do anything that may change the situation.

It is quite evident that life is too short to live forever. However, we can live forever as Eritreans from generation to generation only through our children. If we lose our children in the wilderness of this world, we lose our future generation and consequently we lose the future destiny of the Eritrean identity in Diasporas. It is a fact of life that we all die sooner or later. The goal is not to live as a person in flesh and soul forever, the goal is to create connections and extensions for an Eritrean identity that will remain alive forever from one generation to another. If we want to do something great and noble in life, we need to start to make change in our initiative and ensure that our children preserve their Eritrean identity forever. When our last child is put in prison and our last child commits suicide and our last child drops out of school and our last child runs away from home and our last child is killed by street gangs and our last child becomes a drug addict and our last child becomes the victim of teen-age pregnancy and delivers a child who would not like to claim to be an Eritrean, do we realize and understand that we are losing our future generation? It is pitiful that we live in the world of delusion where we forgot our parental responsibility and ignore to perceive what is really happening with our children who are expected and supposed to inherit our cultural heritage and Eritrean identity. Although ignorance is natural to many of us, the old folks, it is not natural to our younger generation because what is adversely happening in the lives of our children is not our children’s fault and consequently our cultural heritage is constantly eroding and our Eritrean identity is at risk of disappearing in Diasporas. Ignorance usually begins with negligence to perceive and carelessness to be concerned. This is what is happening with our older generation. We are often distracted by the internal war between what we want to do and what we have to do that we overlook what we need to do and also forget what the Almighty God wants us to do the right thing. The older generation hibernating in our Eritrean communities and religious institutions together with our dormant Eritrean scholars and professionals, have the moral obligation and utmost responsibility to empower, nurture and encourage the younger generation to respect and cherish the reputation of our basic traditional values, our fascinating history and wonderful cultural heritage and to keep and honor with great pride our Eritrean identity in tact so that it will remain eternal. We, the elders, need to offer the best of who we are as Eritreans and leave behind a beautiful and wonderful legacy for our younger generation who are readily prepared to restore and sustain the good name and memorable history of our Eritrean ancestry.

Remember to follow Michael Crichion (text modified), “If you do not know your identity, then you do not know anything. You are just like a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.”.

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Learning To Perceive The Objective Reality Of Our Surrounding Reviewed by Admin on 12:00 AM Rating: 5

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