I bumped several times during my lifetime in the issue of difference in perception… This is frequently a source of misunderstanding so I’ll address it in this article, using some elements of Jungian psychology and oversimplifying everything.
There are 2 main psychological functions through which we perceive the world around us: sensing and intuition. We have them both, but one of them is typically more developed than the other. Sensing gets the info from the external world directly, through the 5 senses, and the person becomes aware directly of its surroundings. Intuition gets the info through the 5 senses as well, but the person is not aware; instead, the information is processed in the unconscious mind and then the result is delivered to the awareness of the conscious mind. In other words, information is pre-processed before it is actually consciously perceived.
Usually, people are not aware of this. They believe that everybody is like them and sees the world in the same way. Since statistically only 20% of the population is mainly intuitive (1 in 5), this phenomenon goes largely unseen. Another consequence is that the intuitives are more likely to be maladapted to a mainly sensing society.
It is important to say that we can’t use both functions at the same time, because it is confusing. You can’t perceive directly and indirectly at the same time. You always perceive something using the function you’re most familiar with, and then do some corrections using the second one, if needed be.
Take the look at the image above.
A sensing person will typically say this: “I see a dandelion, a weed. It is photographed using a macro function that wasn’t properly mastered, so it’s rather blurry. The weed is on a field of green grass and apparently is at the end of its life, as the flower is gone and there are only the seeds that haven’t been blown yet by the wind. This is how the plant reproduces itself”.
An intuitive person will however say this: “I see a wish. Someone loves another person and seems too shy to say it. That person likes nature and probably spends a lot in the fantasy or imaginative world. The colors in the background tell me the flower was photographed during the morning or the evening, when the dream and the reality have vague limits and the wish can get and be embodied into the real world. The flower is so fragile, just like the hope of the one who wishes, yet it is strong enough to say its story”.
When asked again what do they see, the sensing person might think about the meaning of the dandelion – a wish – and the intuitive person might finally see that the image of the flower is blurry and the photo is badly taken (the focus is not on the flower).
As you can see in the above examples, the sensing person sees “what is” and the intuitive one sees “what might be”. Both fail to see some aspects, both have strong points and weak points. Now, there is another problem: most of the people in this world are poorly developed and use exclusively one function, not being able to use the other one. There is a saying that “some people see, some people see when shown and some people can’t see at all”. The first are the intuitives, the second are the poor-developed intuitives or the highly-capable sensorials and the last, the vast majority, are the sensorials who can’t see at all, as they aren’t sufficiently developed and they are likely to stay that way. And from the 3rd category comes the misunderstanding with the first category…
Now, going back to the example of the intuitive, this is what happened, explained: My eyes have seen the flower. The info traveled to my subconscious mind. The subconscious removed unnecessary details (green grass, seeds instead of petals) and combined the remaining info with the symbolism of the dandelion (blowing it means a wish) and with the fact that often the ones in love blow dandelions. Everything was packed and sent to the conscious mind that saw it coming like a star blinking on a dark night sky: a wish of a lover. I was instantly aware of the meaning, but asked what I see, I would revert to sensing and say that, yes, I see a dandelion. For me, intuition comes “as a feeling, as a sensation appearing in my mind, it has that quality that comes from the inside rather than from the outside world”. This happens because I have an introverted intuition, but this is another story.
One advantage of the intuition is that it is very fast, saves time. One advantage of sensing is precision, accuracy. There are different jobs where they are needed and there is a tendency for each type of perception to prefer certain careers. Knowing your preference early in life is therefore particularly important.
So, what do you first see? The reality or the meaning?