The difference between perception and reality

The world is a beautiful place, and from the moment that we stepped our foot on Earth as a human race, our curiosity kept us wanting to learn more about the world that we live in. The reality behind it, and so much more.

In order to do that, people need to understand that there is a big difference between perception and reality.

Since we rely a lot on our senses to understand the world around us, we should understand the difference between perception and reality, because our senses can sometimes deceive us.

There can be a significant difference between perception and reality. Perception is the way that we sense things, however reality is the way things are. Our senses may sometimes fail to show us the true reality of things around us.

To understand the difference between perception and reality, we need to know more about each of them.

What is perception?

In very simple words, perception is the way we learn about the things around us using our senses.

In other words, perception is the data that our senses collect from the environment around us so that we can understand where we are and what can we possibly do next.

Our eyes help us see the things around us, our ears help us listen to sounds near us, our nose can help us detect gases surrounding us, and so on.

With that said, perception helps us navigate the world.

What is reality?

Reality is how things really are in nature. What are things made of, how do things interact with their environment and with each other, and so on.

For example, the reality behind an apple is that it consists of atoms that are bonded with each other through some sort of electronic balance.

So the way we understand the reality behind things is by studying physics and chemistry. These two subjects are the core behind understanding how the universe operates and what it really is.

How are perception and reality different from each other?

Now comes the important question, how is our perception different from the reality?

Let’s use the apple again as an example.

The reality behind an apple is that it is an object that consists of several chemical substances. For example, an apple is just a group of molecules trapped together. Apples are made up of water, glucose, fructose, lignin, and so much more.

How we perceive an apple is a totally different thing however. Here’s a list of how different things may perceive the exact same apple.

1- A normal human

A normal human can perceive an apple through their eyes. They see a red colored apple with some dots of other color on it. They see the shape of the apple, and so on.

2- A colorblind human

A colorblind person can still recognize the shape of the apple the way a normal human does, but they might see it in different colors than the normal person sees it.

3- A blind human

A blind human can’t see the apple at all, and they have to use their other senses to tell what the object in front of them is. They can touch the apple for example, and they can predict its shape based on what they feel when they touch it.

4- A bat

Some animals perceive things in a way that is very different from humans. Bats, for example, use sound to detect objects and navigate around.

With that said, the way bats detect the apple is by sending sound waves towards it. They do not see the colors or the shape of the apple the way humans do, but they know it’s there.

5- A robot

Artificial intelligence has come a long way, and robots today are capable of sensing things around them. 

Robots have sensors, and what these sensors do is that they detect the environment around the robot and then send the data that they collect to the robot’s processing units in order to process it.

If a robot takes a picture of the apple, it saves it as letters and numbers inside a file, then processes it to detect that it is an apple.

So, what can we understand from all these examples? Here’s a one sentence that sums up the whole article: There is one reality, and multiple perceptions of that reality.

The same apple can be viewed differently by different individuals or things. That sums up the difference between perception and reality.

The same person can perceive the same thing in different ways.

I’ve mentioned before that different organisms perceive the same thing in different ways, but can the same individual perceive the same thing in multiple ways? Yes they can.

Check out this video to illustrate

It appears to you that the pencil is broken when it’s inside water, however it is not. Your perception has tricked you into thinking that the pencil is broken, take that pencil out of the water and you’ll notice that it’s not broken.

The reality is that the pencil isn’t broken, but our perception can sometimes deceive us.

To summarize

To view things the way they really are, you need to rely on scientific research and discoveries. To view things the way your body allows you to, you need to use your senses.