Two or more people can look at the same object at the same time, and although they are seeing the same thing, they are not perceiving it the same way.
The filters of experience, prejudice, understanding, philosophy, religion, age, appreciation, comfort or discomfort, good day or bad — all color the way we see the world.
Below are several versions of a photo of the statue of the grieving Christ outside the Oklahoma City National Memorial, commemorating the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Building. Each image is affected by various filters imposed by photo editing software — each filter is overlaid the others, until the image underneath is far different from the original.
See how unexpected interferences or cooperations change what the viewer perceives?
The order matters, as well. If trauma colors our world at a young age, we will view it through a different filter than we might if that same trouble arrived when we were older.
Below, black-and-white and Cinemascope effects were applied in different orders. When the movie effect was applied first, then the monochrome, the image looks crisp. However, when the order was reversed, the image takes on a sepia cast.
Is there something in life you’re not seeing clearly?
Are there colors you think you’re perceiving, but your friends, colleagues, loved ones — or perfect strangers on social media — do not view?
Before we impugn one another’s intelligence, reputations, abilities, etcetera, it might be wise to step back and consider the filters through which we — and they — view the world.