Perception filters.

On my way to get breakfast this morning I was distracted by the lack of leaves on the trees. Only idle thoughts passed through my head about it. It was something the lines of “Oh, it’s fall. It’s overcast, I like this effect.” As I was looking through the trees I could see further than I could than during the summer when they were full of leaves. I know that’s obvious but it leads me to a different point. Through the trees I saw a house that I don’t think I’ve never noticed before. It was just a little more than a mile from my apartment, across from Fort McClary. I’m sure I’ve seen the driveway when driving by it before but never thought anything of it. Even walking by I must have seen it, but chances are that I was walking when there were more leaves on the trees.

In the “Doctor Who” fiction, there’s a piece of technology called a “perception filter.” The idea is that when the filter is on, passerby may see what it’s hiding but not think anything of it. In other words it’s a take on the science fiction and fantasy convention of invisibility. The thing is when a character knows a perception filter is in effect they can figure out where something is by looking out of the corner of their eye. Suddenly the thing becomes apparent.

I’m not sure what the exact metaphor was supposed to be (if any) but the idea of a perception filter applies in real life at times. This house is quite large and looked like it was in an ideal location so I can’t imagine how I didn’t notice it before. This leads me to the idea that we get so used to things in life that we have our own perception filters when we are no longer interested in them. The house may have looked cool but it’s still just a house.

Near the end of David Byrne’s movie “True Stories,” he says that when he leaves a place he likes forgetting things. That way when he goes back he can experience it in a new way again. I wish I could do that. The best I can hope for is some sort of trigger that takes me back to the memory before–in other words, nostalgia. That’s not what I’m looking for. I’m looking for the state of mind in which I can notice everything. I don’t mean that I’m equally sensitive to all stimuli but that I’m at least aware of it.

What scares me the most is not the idea of perception filters on objects but aspects of life. How many friendships have I let go by the wayside because I stopped keeping in touch with the person for a long time. I assume the friendship but because of the perception filter I move on to some other aspect of my life. The same goes for skills, hobbies, abandoned drafts of stories and so on. I’m not making any sort of pledge here. I’m getting annoyed with those. But if I was going to lift these kinds of perception filters, how would I go about doing it?


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