The World as We Know It (Part 1)

Nothing is as it seems; nor is it otherwise.

What is perception? How are you making sense of the world around you? Is that reality? Is it all really there? There is an ancient Indian parable that helps to shed light on this matter:

Long ago, six old men lived in a village in India. Each was born blind… They listened carefully to the stories told by travelers to learn what they could about life outside the village.

The men were curious about many of the stories they heard, but they were most curious about elephants. They were told that elephants could trample forests, carry huge burdens, and frighten young and old with their loud trumpet calls. But they also knew that the Rajah’s daughter rode an elephant when she traveled in her father’s kingdom. Would the Rajah let his daughter get near such a dangerous creature?

The old men argued day and night about elephants. “An elephant must be a powerful giant,” claimed the first blind man. He had heard stories about elephants being used to clear forests and build roads.

“No, you must be wrong,” argued the second blind man. “An elephant must be graceful and gentle if a princess is to ride on its back.”

“You’re wrong! I have heard that an elephant can pierce a man’s heart with its terrible horn,” said the third blind man.

“Please,” said the fourth blind man. “You are all mistaken. An elephant is nothing more than a large sort of cow. You know how people exaggerate.”

“I am sure that an elephant is something magical,” said the fifth blind man. “That would explain why the Rajah’s daughter can travel safely throughout the kingdom.”

“I don’t believe elephants exist at all,” declared the sixth blind man. “I think we are the victims of a cruel joke.”

Finally, the villagers grew tired of all the arguments, and they arranged for the curious men to visit the palace of the Rajah to learn the truth about elephants…

When the blind men reached the palace, they were greeted by an old friend from their village who worked as a gardener on the palace grounds. Their friend led them to the courtyard. There stood an elephant. The blind men stepped forward to touch the creature that was the subject of so many arguments.

The first blind man reached out and touched the side of the huge animal. “An elephant is smooth and solid like a wall!” he declared. “It must be very powerful.”

The second blind man put his hand on the elephant’s limber trunk. “An elephant is like a giant snake,” he announced.

The third blind man felt the elephant’s pointed tusk. “I was right,” he decided. “This creature is as sharp and deadly as a spear.”

The fourth blind man touched one of the elephant’s four legs. “What we have here,” he said, “is an extremely large cow.”

The fifth blind man felt the elephant’s giant ear. “I believe an elephant is like a huge fan or maybe a magic carpet that can fly over mountains and treetops,” he said.

The sixth blind man gave a tug on the elephant’s coarse tail. “Why, this is nothing more than a piece of old rope. Dangerous, indeed,” he scoffed.

The gardener led his friends to the shade of a tree. “Sit here and rest for the long journey home,” he said. “I will bring you some water to drink.”

While they waited, the six blind men talked about the elephant.

“An elephant is like a wall,” said the first blind man. “Surely we can finally agree on that.”

“A wall? An elephant is a giant snake!” answered the second blind man.

“It’s a spear, I tell you,” insisted the third blind man.

“I’m certain it’s a giant cow,” said the fourth blind man.

“Magic carpet. There’s no doubt,” said the fifth blind man.

“Don’t you see?” pleaded the sixth blind man. “Someone used a rope to trick us.”

Their argument continued and their shouts grew louder and louder.

“Wall!” “Snake!” “Spear!” “Cow!” “Carpet!” “Rope!”

“Stop shouting!” called [an] angry voice.

It was the Rajah, awakened from his nap by the noisy argument.

“How can each of you be so certain you are right?” asked the ruler.

The six blind men considered the question. And then, knowing the Rajah to be a very wise man, they decided to say nothing at all.

“The elephant is a very large animal,” said the Rajah kindly. “Each man touched only one part. Perhaps if you put the parts together, you will see the truth. Now, let me finish my nap in peace.” (Peace Corps,

Perception, in short, is figuring out what’s there. It is the way in which we make sense of the world around us. It is the interpretation of our senses, and as such, it is fundamental to our understanding of anything. Thus, life is fundamentally defined by our perception of it, and we ultimately control whether our experiences have a positive or negative effect on us.

The story of the blind men and the elephant helps illuminate two things that perception is ultimately dependent on. First, it is clear that our sensory organs are imperative to this process. From the total input that goes into these sensory organs, we select only a small fraction of what is noticeably significant to focus on. We end up ignoring virtually everything else (and if we can’t ignore enough, we suffer from sensory overload). Second, it is not only our senses that influence our perception. The preconceived ideas that the blind men had about the elephant greatly impacted how they deduced what the creature really was. The importance of this can hardly be overstated. Your ideas are the lens through which you view the world; and this lens is essential to the whole process. Contrary to what some may think, perception can never be completely stripped of the influence of ideas. This is because things aren’t understood first objectively (as things or objects), and then personified. We don’t perceive objective reality first, and then infer intent and purpose. We see what things mean just as fast, or faster than we see what they are¹. “Perception of things as tools, for example, occurs before or in concert with perception of things as objects¹.” This means that if you were to find an object that is used as a tool, you would immediately see it as a tool, and not just as an object – because we interpret the world as something to utilize and navigate through, and not as something that merely exists. We see meaning, purpose and value in things intrinsically. The objects we perceive are not simply there, in the world, for our direct perceiving¹. They exist in a complex relationship to one another and to us, not as self-evidently separate, independent objects. “This is true even for our perceptions of ourselves, of our individual persons. We assume that we end at the surface of our skin… [but] even when we do something as apparently simple as picking up a screwdriver, our brain automatically adjusts what it considers body to include the tool¹.”

 The brain combines sensory signals with its prior expectations or beliefs about the way the world is, in order to form its best guess of what caused those signals. The brain relies just as much, if not more, on ideas about the world than it does on the information coming in through our sensory organs. We don’t passively perceive the world – we actively generate it. Everything you are experiencing is what the inside of your mind is like. And thus, every being creates the world in its own image.


¹ Peterson, Jordan. 12 Rules for Life.

It’s Been a While

Anything worth doing is worth doing now.

Life happens. Everyone seems to only get busier with it. Time flies by faster and faster. Suddenly you look back and another couple of years just went by. What even happened?

I haven’t been writing as much as I’d like to. I’ve been telling myself that I’ll eventually find the time, but I only discover more and more that I have to make the time. And to be honest, there are a lot of things in my life I have taken this viewpoint on. Procrastination sure is a big problem, isn’t it? Being a perfectionist doesn’t help. I feel the need to wait until I have gathered all information I possibly can and taken everything into consideration. On the surface this seems rational, but if we actually look at it rationally, you just can’t possibly have all of the information, let alone have taken everything into consideration. What usually happens is that you wait, and wait, until you have no other choice but to act (and you generally just make a split-second decision, anyway). Deadlines used to help me do this, but with my own blog I can make my own deadlines (which, in the past, has meant I don’t have any deadlines – oops). So where does that leave us? It seems to me a good solution to act when you have a good grasp of the situation. Identifying that point may be its own problem, but taking this all into consideration should help. There comes a time in life when you have to just act. I’ve come to realize my life is something I have to actively mold into what I want. Every day is a choice. And the only place to begin is now; because here is where we are. So I’d like to start up my blog again. I’d like to share more of what I’ve worked on over the years. Maybe I’ll even end up sharing some poetry.

This year will be the beginning of a whole new adventure – a brand new chapter in my life. I’m moving to Asia. Will I be able to keep up with my blog? I hope so. I suspect part of it will get a lot more personal as I experience new places, people, and cultures; and wish to share those experiences. I still intend to finish the posts I was preparing previously, but the initial purpose of this whole project was for me to write about whatever I wanted to write about; and I will stay true to that.

On that note, I have also been researching a few other topics that interest me and I will be rearranging the list of things I want to cover on this blog. Why are mental health issues rising at an alarming rate in our society? Why do we seem so divided? What, if anything, can we do to fix this mess we find ourselves in? These are a few of the questions I’ve been asking, and I’ve come across some very compelling answers.

New technologies have given us access to a plethora of information – so much, in fact, that it would be impossible for a single person to ever take it all in within their lifetime. I don’t claim to have all of the answers. Anyone who does should not be trusted. But I would like to do my part by focusing on and making sense of what interests me.



A lot has happened over the past few months. I’ve been extremely busy. For anyone who knows anything about me, I have a lot of hobbies. At the moment (and maybe in general) this means that I have a lot of projects going on at once. I had planned to be writing at least every weekend, but a major kink in that plan is how busy I am with work. Almost every week has been a six day work week. At a place where I’m surrounded by chairs with nowhere to sit. It’s very hectic there, and my entire work environment has been in a state of flux. Aside from this, I’ve been working here and there on my next blog post about perception. And the more I do on that, the more I have for the next one about consciousness. In addition to all that, I’ve been working on writing my grandfather’s World War II story. If all goes well, this will all be posted on my blog as soon as possible. I do realize I said I was going to try to post more often, but for the kind of content I want to create, and with how busy I currently am, approximately once a month seems most realistic.

With my article about perception coming up next, I’ll leave a few prior thoughts here:

As I said before, perception is a multifaceted tool for understanding. This will make more and more sense the deeper I get into it. What I mean by perception here is an awareness of one’s environment derived through senses and thoughts. For this, a kind of judgment is required to be made by the individual. The individual and its identity thus play a crucial role. But then, what is identity? In other words, we may ask, “who am I?” What makes me myself, as apart from the rest of the world, and the other people, who to themselves are also “I”? You may notice that the more you pursue this, the more you begin to think of things that aren’t you, in order to describe you. You may think you’re so and so feet tall, you look a certain way, you behave in such a way given a certain context, another way given another. All of these things depend on things outside you, in your environment. Then, if we go the other way and try to describe your environment, eventually it all comes back to you. This is because all existence is a relationship. There cannot be an organism without an environment, and there cannot be an environment without an organism to perceive it. It’s inconceivable. You are not an ego locked in a bag of skin, piloted by something in your head – those are all merely parts of you. You are part of your environment. And it is part of you.

With the right understanding of perception, it is plain to see that anything is possible.


It’s been some time since I last posted, and in that post I listed a bunch of topics I would like to get into. Since then, I have collected quite a few additional books to expand my views even more on these topics, and now I have so much content that I feel I am writing a book of my own on the whole thing. It would take quite a while to write the entire thing and then post it, so I will be separating it all into chapters and posting those one by one as I finish them.

Before I started this project, I kept thinking to myself that there was so much to explain before I even got into it. And then when I start to explain what I think is the first thing that someone ought to know, I turn the corner and wait, wait, wait – there is another thing that I should probably explain first. So here I am, going around in circles: perception, consciousness, psychology, religion, culture, history, perception again. At this point, I realized explaining any of it is getting into it. The important thing to note here is that all of these things are inextricably interconnected with one another. The good news is I’ve found my starting point, and the first two chapters are coming along. The not so good news is that I have no idea how long this is going to take. I’ve created a monster – and I’d like it to be thorough. From here on out, I’d like to start posting updates and little anecdotes on recent thoughts and ideas in the meantime.

So for the first of this series, I’d like to share with you something I wrote when a friend of mine was recently going through a tough period in his life. Things didn’t seem to be working out. Relationships were crashing and burning. In my response, I wanted to encourage him and give him a different outlook – a better one; and it is largely based on teachings by Alan Watts:

Don’t take yourself too seriously. I may never be serious, but I am sincere. People seem to have gotten these two words confused. Seriousness belongs in the context of potential tragedy. A soldier is serious; war is serious. Therefore, if you are serious all of the time, you are setting yourself up for potential tragedy. You create an outlook where this is all you see; your perspective on life becomes one that is focused on tragedy, and your life becomes tragic.

If the only reason you do anything is because of all of the hardships and pain you’ve endured leading up to it, you’re basing your existence on suffering. At that point, the only reason you do anything is because you suffer. And thus suffering becomes your reason for living. Your world begins to revolve around it.

This mentality focuses on what has happened in the past, and in doing so it makes a grave mistake. Time is a convention – a useful convention, but a convention nonetheless. The only thing we truly know as being real is right here, right now, in this very moment. The past only exists in memories, which vary from person to person. Someone remembers something one way, another person another way. How did it really happen? Who’s to say? Everyone has a past, but no one lives there. We live here and now. Yesterday always was; and tomorrow never comes.

It is common for people in our current society to judge everything, themselves most of all. But in nature there is no judgment. There is no failure. Take water, for instance. It follows the path of least resistance. It branches out, and when it comes to a dead end, it doesn’t worry; it doesn’t become stricken by anxiety; it doesn’t believe it has failed. It simply flows in another direction. Dead ends don’t mean failure; they are simply a sign to flow in a different path. Your body is ~60% water. Act like it.

Now turn yourself around, because nothing’s worse than giving up.


You can find a short clip of Alan Watts expressing these kinds of ideas here. There are also many of his lectures scattered throughout the internet.

In conclusion, I hope to be posting more frequently in the coming year. I am working diligently on the upcoming content. For all of those who have shown an interest, for all of those who have supported me, and for all of those who continue to do so in this endeavor I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my heart.


And the blog begins.

I’d like to show how these different viewpoints have real life-changing consequences in shaping our world.

Life. That thing people tell you you don’t have. Regardless of what anyone says, you’re living it. But what does that mean? That you are experiencing things? That you simply exist?

What I’ve been wondering since time immemorial, what I’ve wanted to know was my place in the world – where I could fit in and be the most efficient and act with the best of my ability. Going into university, I didn’t know what I wanted to take. So there I was with an undecided major in first year. More than anything, I just wanted to learn. I didn’t care about the end result; I didn’t care about job markets or careers. Learning was first and foremost. Personal growth was my motivation. In fact, I don’t really think I’ve ever cared about anything more. I decided to pursue my interests. What was this society I was born out of really like? Was I seeing the whole picture? I definitely didn’t think so. I needed to take a step back and learn about all of the preconceptions I had because of my background. I needed to see things for what they really were. I therefore began taking classes involving the examination and discussion of society, culture, and religion.

I’ve known from the beginning that perception is everything and learned over time that everything is circumstantial. This has helped me the most in opening my eyes. Now I wish to share my perception of this world with this world. I am finally starting a blog for this purpose.

It’s kind of funny – everyone asks the same sort of questions, no matter where they are: “What am I doing here? Should I be here? What is my purpose? Is this what’s right for me?” Questions always seem to lead to more questions. In spirit of this, allow me to ask you: Where do you fit in? Have you found it? Are you still asking these sorts of questions from time to time? All the time? I invite you to explore and examine with me what I decided to delve into years ago now. You don’t have to agree with me (although perhaps I would like that), but keep in mind that perception is the key to everything. What I want is to reveal that there are countless ways to view things, and I’d like to show how these different viewpoints have real, life-changing consequences in shaping our world. Perception is a multifaceted tool for understanding. The possibilities are endless, but we have to start somewhere.

I will thus be providing insight on the world as we know it and will eventually get into my own philosophy. Please feel free to share this with friends and join the discussion by posting your own thoughts in the comments section; and thank you for reading! Below is a condensed list of topics I plan on getting into:

  • Perception and human consciousness
  • The inseparable environment
  • The history of religion
  • Aboriginal belief systems, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism (and possibly more)
  • Northwestern culture disseminated globally
  • Cultural theory, popular culture and the media
  • Capitalism, communism, socialism, labels, labels, labels
  • Philosophy and outlook on life
  • Health and wellness: mental health, physical health – two sides of the same coin

Prepare yourselves; things might get deep.