Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Perception: Two Circles . . . What Do You See? (Peter A. Black)

It’s interesting how something is seen for what it is when alone, but once placed adjacent to something else in a certain way, the sight can grab your attention and seem funny, absurd or ridiculous. Take, for example, something that happened this morning.

Our son had to be off to work, and his wife had left long before to start her nursing shift, so my wife and I were over at their place at 7 o’clock, in order to see the young’uns up and fed and off to school.

First up was the eight-year old. As she often does, she soon got busy with pen and paper. This time she practiced drawing circles freehand and came over to me, brandishing her efforts. Remarkable! Believe me . . . I couldn’t have done better myself.

She had some really well-formed circles on the page. “That’s a really good one,” I said. “. . . and that one there is very good, too—very round.”

 “Hah! Hah! Grandpa. See those two together – they look just like a kid’s butt!” she snickered. I chuckled.

Yep, what we often perceive in what we see is not so much in the eye of the beholder, as it is in the mind, of course.

Later on this morning I had occasion to call in at our community senior centre. A Zumba fitness class was in progress. There might have been forty-five or more senior ladies swinging to the music, but only one lone man. It wasn’t funny or even ridiculous, but it caused me to ponder what likely accounts for that enormous statistical contrast. I reckoned the situation offered a study in sociology.

Ah, but I could see a lighter side, too. “One lone, brave soul!” I grinned when chatting with the coordinator. I can imagine the fellow’s family and friends teasing him about how lucky he is to be the only guy with all those good-lookin’ grandmas.                  

Perception is a significant faculty, and we humans have a capacity to detect patterns and perceive incongruities or paradoxes in situations. Here’s one: At a time when whole economies struggle to stay afloat and various nations teeter on the precipice of economic collapse, millionaires and billionaires continue to multiply. I read recently that—despite the international economic gloom—global wealth is at an all-time high. Boggles the mind.

Perspective is related to perception. India is known for its caste-system and towering poverty, yet millionaires are multiplying there at a rapid rate. Likewise, in China. Communist China! Was communism not supposed to bring in a classless society, with all citizens sharing equally in the wealth? Now here’s a contrast, our American cousins—were they not supposed to be a classless society, too, but based on an entrepreneurial, capitalist equal opportunity model? Despite the economic downturn there that affected the whole world, millionaires and billionaires continue to multiply, while people lose their jobs and homes . . . and pensions.

Two circles side by side. Add two round dots to each and you see eyes. Add a spot below them and a small curve below that, and you have faces. Perhaps they’re siblings or friends. Draw another two circles, adding a hooked line on the left of one circle and one on the right side of the other circle, add a short curved dash between them and you see eyeglasses. Or, for a bike add a T-shape for handle-bars, a seat and a triangular shape between the circles.

So much for my artistic prowess—that’s about the extent of it!

Two circles—what do you see? Two pennies?

Jesus observed the rich in all their finery casting their sizable offerings into the temple treasury. What a contrast to the humble widow woman who dropped in a couple of lowly coins.
He remarked, “They gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on” (Mark 12:44 NIV).
Perspective: Jesus saw a grateful heart and worshipful sacrifice.  


(A briefer, earlier edition of the above article was published in The Guide-Advocate on May 9, 2013.)

Peter A. Black is a freelance writer in Southwestern Ontario, and is author of “Parables from the Pond” – a children's / family book (mildly educational, inspirational in orientation, character reinforcing). 
(Finalist -- Word Alive Press ISBN 1897373-21-X )
His inspirational column, P-Pep! appears weekly in The Guide-Advocate. His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario.



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