Nothing is Real: Perspective, Perception, and the Human Psyche
In my next series of blog postings entitled Nothing is Real I’d love to explore with you the concepts of reality, perception, and perspective. Specifically, I’ll explore how all of these play a role in the human psyche and ultimately our mental health in various ways. In addition, I will be discussing the strong connection between art and mental health. Today’s blog will be an overview of my general stance on these subjects. We’ll take some deeper dives into these concepts in the future as we discuss how they apply to specific human experiences of mental health “problems”.
“Your Entire Universe is In Your Mind. To Expand the Universe, Expand Your Mind”-Deepak Chopra
So, if a tree falls in the forest, and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Questions like these have the ability to lead you down an existential vortex. Inevitably, you find yourself in a whirlwind of seemingly unanswerable questions. For example, is what I see and perceive to be the color blue the same thing that you see? This question is essentially unanswerable. Because we are only able to experience life as ourselves.
Imagine if we had the ability to experience life through someone else’s perspective at any given point in time. Taking in the world as they would based on who they are. A result of the sum of their own experiences. The answers to those existential questions would perhaps be more readily available. You may be able to answer those questions which you are convinced hold the key to understanding our very existence.
Consequently, I often wonder what would it mean for humanity if instead of one segment of energy embodied in human flesh, we were all one fluid stream of energy flowing in and out of each other. Ultimately, this would eliminate perception and perspective. Instead, we would just be. Or maybe we wouldn’t be? Because in the end, what it means to “be” depends on concrete boundaries, both physical and existential.
Have You Ever Stopped to Think About What It Means to be Alive?
To think about what it means to have a mind and a body? What it means to be a human being in space and time? To think about the vastness of the universe, and it’s never ending abyss?
Anyone who has allowed their mind expand to accommodate the unknowns of these questions has felt that distinct and visceral tug at the center mass of their universe. Essentially, this tug symbolizes the crux between our reality and what could be. Or Rather, what simultaneously is while also is not. It is excitement, fear, and intrigue of the unknown. The ultimate tip-of-your-tongue feeling. You know the answers are there, yet you are never fully able to articulate them. Because we are human and thus only have a limited perspective based on our perception. Which in turn is based on both our genetics and our experiences.
Nothing is Real…
…Because we all come from a limited perspective. The only concrete example I can give about this ironically comes from abstract art. This form of art is likely so popular because of its universality. The viewer of the art can impart on it their own perspectives. So in a way, they become the owners of the art. The exchange of energy that exists between the viewer and the artist in that moment is symbolic of life. The art becomes a part of the viewer’s reality- a reflection of who they are at any given point in time.
Really, the whole world is an abstract art piece. As we go about our lives and incorporate what we see, smell, hear, and taste we are imparting who we are while simultaneously taking in the reflections of other beings. So, despite the concrete boundaries that give the illusion of separation between all of us humans, we are all ultimately one source of energy transformed in never ending ways through the conduit of consciousness.
Nothing is real. Because reality is the perception of eternal reflections of perspective.
Empathy: The Closest Thing We’ve Got
Empathy is the closest thing we’ve got to living a fluid experience. By harvesting the potential energy of empathy we are able to have emotional glimpses into another person’s individual experience. It is the very thing that allows me to go about my daily work helping people to overcome their personal struggles. Through the power of empathy I can almost feel what others feel. Thus, I can conceptualize their experience within the realm of my own perspective. This allows me to help others to change their perspectives and perceptions thereby allowing for the transformative work involved in true therapeutic change to take place.
Perception, Perspective, and Mental Health
How we perceive mental health “problems” plays a role in individual experience. The perspectives held by society dictate in many ways how mental health “problems” are labeled, identified, and treated. They effect how those who live with these “disorders” experience their lives. In my abstract art example, there is a key takeaway. It is that with these art pieces, people are not afraid to explore. They feel safe in allowing their mind to expand to accommodate all of the possibilities that the art piece could represent to them. People try to make sense of the piece of art based on their own perspectives and perceptions. A certain level of flexibility of the mind is necessary for this to occur.
Unfortunately, when it comes to mental health there are many factors that contribute to rigidity in both perception and perspective. This leads to negative consequences for individuals and society.
Something needs to change. I believe that change starts with fostering flexibility by challenging the tenets underlying rigidity. Rigidity in this case stems from the many ongoing efforts to make the exploration of psychology a strictly scientific endeavor.
I declare that it is equally if not more important to explore the intangible and the abstract aspects of human experience. Those aspects that cannot be measured. Experiences that can only be understood through the power of empathy. Therein lies my inspiration for creating this series within The Artistic Science Blog.
Next Up in the Nothing Is Real Series
My next post will focus on Depression and Abstract Art. The focus will be on understanding how these two in relation to one another will help us to become more mentally flexible. Specifically, we’ll explore what the universe is telling someone with Depression. And how we can help them to respond. Understanding perspective and perception as it relates to Depression is vital to the overall discussion. Lastly, we’ll take a deeper dive into understanding the human experience of depression through the use of empathic language.
This article sheds light on a non-traditional perspective on Depression and will give you an idea of the direction of my next post.
I am so excited about the possibilities inherent in generating these types of discussions. I wholeheartedly believe that they will be instrumental in eliminating the stigma against mental illness. This will be possible only through the fostering of mental flexibility within the realms of perspective and perception. Therein lies my motivation for the creation of the Nothing is Real blog series.
Let me know your thoughts. Do you agree that nothing is real? What are the potential dangers of holding this perspective? If you are reading this you are part of this particular transfer of energy. Harvest it to foster change and generate discussion by leaving a comment.
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