I See Therefore You Are

I would like to forward a hypothesis.  I believe that our paradigms are formed primarily from sight.  That our vision of an item or another person sets the basis from which all other assumptions and conclusions stem.  Given their ability to transcend extended distances, our eyes normally create the first impression.  I address, of course, sighted people.  Those without the benefit of sight hone the senses of sound and touch much more acutely in identifying their environment.

I use myself as an example.  The moment I see someone or something for the first time, I instantly form an opinion.  In the case of it being another person, I quickly determine  gender, approximate age, race, and other assorted attributes.  Only then, if I engage them in conversation or overhear them talking, or shake their hand, do I add additional impressions from sound and touch.  But my original impression probably remains virtually unchanged, just enhanced.  If you think about it, this kind of says I’ve already decided who you are before I even meet you.  Isn’t that interesting.

I am a big fan of the TV program “The Voice”, where the judges cannot see the contestants.  They must only listen to them, judging their ability solely on their voice.  Often, once they turn around, they comment, “I thought you were a girl” or “you don’t look anything like I expected.”  What remains unspoken however is, had they known it was a guy or what the contestant looked like, would they have had the same impression of their performance.  My guess is no.  Many of the contestants that continue on in the show are older, some overweight, some gay, some goth, etc.  They don’t really conform to the perceived parameters of today’s culture.  As such, I suspect they would not even make it through the first cattle call on “American Idol.”   

My point is, when you think about it,  it appears, at least, that much of what we believe are opinions, preconceived before we even begin to communicate.  That being the case, is it any wonder that there is so much vitriol and distrust in our world today.  Should it surprise us that it is so easy to hate, given that we often don’t have a clue about the other person beyond what we think we saw.  

On a much smaller scale, those of you that take the time to read this will form an opinion of me through what your eyes tell you.  We have not met, or talked, but in a way, you will think you know me, even a little bit.  And were we to sometime meet, you too would probably say “you don’t look anything like I expected.”  You are probably thinking along the lines of Brad Pitt.  Actually, I’m a little closer to Andy Rooney.

About oldmainer

I am a retired manager living in Southern Maine and a would be writer of poetry, narratives, short stories, and random opinions, and that's how Oldmainer was born. Recently, I decided to try an experiment. I added photography to the mix, using only a cheap cell phone with a limited camera and the editing software that came with it, and added the blog site Inklings at poormanspoet.wordpress.com to showcase the results. So, feel free to use whatever you find interesting or worthy, but please honor the terms of my copyright when and if you do. They may not be much, but they are still a piece of me. I appreciate your checking me out and hope that you find something that will encourage a return visit. Thanks for stopping by.
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7 Responses to I See Therefore You Are

  1. splitspeak says:

    You are very right. It is so easy to hate. First impressions are too readily formed. I wish it were different.


  2. you may be right, but it’s not my experience – all my judgments of people are reserved for their words and deeds – perhaps my upbringing – perhaps my eons as a student of philosophy – I can hate with the best of them – when given cause – by way of returning the insight, my appearance is more like a balding but ponytailed Jerry Garcia


  3. LOLOLOL What an ending. Andy Rooney. LOLOL

    Of course, I agree with you…mostly. I form opinions based on how someone looks, but I never hate anyone when I see them. That truly would never occur to me, not in a million years. After I get to know someone, if I don’t like them, I just walk away. I don’t waste time hating anyone. I can, however, hate what the government is doing, or what some crazy fanatics, who bomb Boston are doing. I think we can tell right away (with most) whether or not we will like someone and it doesn’t matter what or who they are. I could care less about race, gender, sexual preference, etc. I don’t know what that has to do with who a person is (some people will say everything, but not for me).

    We can be wrong about people, that’s for sure, but first impressions, as you said, really give us enough info to make assumptions (usually a bad thing…since they are based on our own vision, world views, experiences prejudices, etc., but that’s all we really have to go on for EVERYTHING). We avoid or embrace people based on the way they look. But hate…never. I think that intuition plays a part as well. I think we can have gut feelings that certain people should be avoided, in spite of how they look. I always listen to my gut.

    Ya know, everyone is weird and they are judging each of us, based on their own rules and ideas. It’s just a game. People with a lot of rules and hateful prejudices miss out on a lot of fun and great friends and experiences. That’s their problem and their loss (even if they don’t see it that way:). As long as those guys don’t barf up their icky beliefs on me, I’m okay. I admit, with the world the way it is today, I am much more cautious around people than I used to be.


    • oldmainer says:

      I speak of hate in more of a rhetorical frame. I don’t hate people either. Too much trouble. I tend to write them off also. I’m was really referring to, races, creeds, etc. There is a lot of hate in this world based purely on perceptions without really knowing each other. And you are right, people are weird. They say one out of every five people is insane, so, if you have four sane friends…… Just sayin.


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