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Faulty Perceptions

How I Almost Got Arrested

written by Barry and Joyce Vissell May 12, 2020
Faulty Perceptions

Perception is a tricky thing. What we think we see is not necessarily what is really there. We have to be very careful about the judgments we make due to faulty perception.

As Aldous Huxley says in his classic book, The Doors of Perception:

There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.

Another way of saying this: We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are. We see the world through our own filters, our own state of mind and emotions. How often have we projected onto others what we ourselves are feeling?

What follows is a true story that happened this past year to me (Barry).

I was returning from a solo river trip on the Owyhee River in southeast Oregon last spring. I was in my pickup truck, with the truck bed filled with river gear, and the back seat filled with our two older golden retrievers, Rosie, and her daughter, Gracie. Driving through Sacramento on busy Highway 80, with six lanes going each way, with a sinking feeling in my stomach, I saw the flashing lights of the Highway Patrol car behind me. I heard the loudspeaker command, “Take the next exit and pull over.” Perhaps you know that sinking feeling: I’m about to get a ticket and I have no idea what I did.

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