Experience is everything – it might even be questioned if something is actually out there or is only experienced as such. Perception is how we experience the world. It is the narrative that we superimpose on all that is happening around us and the personal reality that we construct. The mind is a bundle of thousands of interacting neural circuitry that collectively give rise to perception. Therefore a mind that is wired differently (and each mind is) experiences or encounters a different world. Even something as basic as vision and hearing is what the individual mind makes of vibrations that the eyes and ears sense. For instance, a number of neural circuits receive input from the retina in both eyes and collectively manufacture or put together a picture on the screen of consciousness. There are circuits responsible for giving depth, for colour, brightness levels, for filling in spaces, to give continuity, another turns the image the right-side up, and so on. There are then other neural programs at work – that look through the memory store, that recognize and distinguish, that place a name and words to describe it, that make comparisons and give perspective, etc. Furthermore there are then related memories, the individual’s situation and training, his likes and fears, and so on that are superimposed on the world picture.

There is always the intervention of mind and we deal only with perceptions. Each person is holding a different world in his head. Therefore it is essential to empathize and understand as to why an individual thinks or acts in a particular manner rather than be straight-off judgmental. Especially where perceptions are vastly different, communication and comprehending the other’s viewpoint can often be difficult and such opposed perceptions on a large-scale, as between people of different cultures, can sometimes become a source for conflict.