Spiritual Reflections

To See What You Believe

At first, I didn’t want to bother— it seemed like another internet fad or trend. But curiosity got the better of me.

Being a graphic designer, I’m supposed to be used to judging images and colors. It’s part of my work, of my life. And so I said to myself, “Pfft, why are they even arguing over this?!”

Turns out I was embarrassingly incorrect in my own assumption.

Checking out a related article, I was surprised how wrong I was after all. And to think I took pride in my eyesight and visual/perceptual skills! According to the writer, we tend to interpret what we see based on certain contexts, or even biases. Due to past experiences and knowledge, it’s easy to simply take a cursory look and make a quick judgment.

As the statement simply goes, “So when context varies, so will people’s visual perception. ‘Most people will see the blue on the white background as blue,’ Conway says. ‘But on the black background some might see it as white.’

As a Christian, I was often reminded by our pastors about the importance of Biblical context; that is, not to rush in interpreting what the Scriptures say without checking the background on why it was written in the first place. This provides a bigger picture as well as a clearer depth on understanding what was the intended message. And making a mistake is not a simple problem— when we get lazy or in a hurry, we tend to create a biased interpretation which will also lead to a misguided application of the principle. Church history is witness to a lot of these flawed interpretations being put into practice, some of which we are still trying to correct.

Thinking about this story, it made me wonder how badly misaligned our perspectives might be— from social, emotional, psychological and even spiritual.

Are we doing our best to be selfless? Or are we forgetting to take care and respect our own selves? Are we still seeing the bigger, broader principle?

Are we still judging people based on our prejudices? Or are we too concerned with their backstory? Are we still seeing the bigger, broader principle?

Are we trying too hard to be relevant to the world? Or should we be protective about our spiritual culture? Are we still seeing the bigger, broader principle?

The thing with illusions is that once you understand the visual trick, it’s hard to un-see it even when your brain stubbornly tries to tell you otherwise. Yet that hasn’t stopped us. We think that person is being nice because they need a favor, or doing it to look good. We see positive changes, but scoff it off as merely temporary. We stick to a bad relationship, thinking that love is stronger and it’s just a phase. We keep eating unhealthy stuff, because it can’t be as bad as they say.

Just because you see it does not mean you believe it— we see things because that’s what we want to believe in.

Now tell me: what’s the color you see in the mirror today?


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