Is seeing really believing?
Yes and no.
The answer is not as straightforward as you might think. Remember those True or False questions from childhood exams? This isn’t one of those. The answer to this question involves numerous factors, having nothing to do with eyesight, which determine the seeming reality of the observer. Beliefs, acceptance, perception, perspective and past experience are all filters that shape our vision.
Facts and Beliefs
Much of what we consider to be scientific fact has actually been inferred from theories mixed with data gathered from instrumentation, not from direct evidence or experience. This is especially true when it comes to cosmology and inner-Earth science. What we “know” about our planet and our universe is somewhat based on conjecture, albeit intelligent logical reasoning derived from indirect evidence. We can’t, at this point, sample the Earth’s core any more than we can visit the far reaches of our universe.
We believe certain “facts” about our planet and the universe. For example, we believe the Earth’s core is solid iron and the universe is expanding. These ideas are accepted by the collective as true. Yes, there is empirical evidence to support these ideas, such as the study of seismic waves to learn about the Earth. But these studies and their findings are created based upon current knowledge and perspective. We accepted that the Earth’s core is solid decades before there was direct evidence. Who is to say we won’t find evidence to support alternative theories in the future, or at least the addition of a greater perspective that adds to current theories? We used to believe the Earth was flat, and some people still do.
We believe theoretical physicists and astronomers and the inferred evidence that supports their theories. Why don’t more of us believe metaphysicians and spiritual masters? What is proof? If inferred theory is enough for science, then personal experience, extrasensory information and correlated evidence should be sufficient for proof of psychic, mystical, spiritual and extraterrestrial events.
In all cases, whether evidence exists or not, belief is involved. What is belief? Merriam-Webster defines it as “mental conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon.” No matter how much proof there is, there must be conviction and its thesaurus synonyms—trust, faith, confidence and acceptance—for individuals and the collective to buy into something, true or not.
Seeing May Not Be Believing
You have heard the saying, seeing is believing, but is that true? When faith and acceptance are involved, seeing may not be believing. Seeing is not foolproof, because perception is involved. We see images, but what does our brain perceive? How is the image interpreted by our brain? The answer to that is not clear-cut. It involves a myriad of beliefs and ideas cultivated by the observer prior to the act of seeing the image. These beliefs and ideas are projected onto the event and color the interpretation to fit their personal mental framework.
Sometimes our mental framework prevents us from seeing alternate perspectives even when it doesn’t involve personal observation. I remember once when my mother was serving on a jury, one person was holding up the proceedings. Everyone saw the case in a similar way except for one juror. In addition to the evidence presented, my mother knew from her intuitive nature that the guy was guilty. So, she used her ability to evoke a different perspective than the interpretation the juror was seeing. She was able to help the juror open his mind to another possibility instead of being stuck in his singular vision. Once his perspective shifted, he could make his decision based on a broader vision, and he changed his vote.
The ability to see other points of view and gain new perspectives is critical for personal growth and evolution. This is the essential component for creating shifts within ourselves and truly generating change in our lives.
He Saw, She Saw
Eyewitness accounts of the same incident can differ greatly, because the interpretation is inextricably linked to the mind of the observer. Well, it looked like she was going to hit her. But she was lifting her hand to scratch her nose. I saw a circle of fireflies above my head. But it was an alien spaceship. We often see what our minds are trained to see and don’t allow other possibilities. If we want to be amazed, we have to be truly open-minded. We have to allow for possibilities beyond the expected.
While it may not be a good idea to disregard your five senses, it is important to heed the signs from your other senses too. In fact, you can believe without seeing. You can accept a truth without direct proof or hear evidence second hand and believe it. This can be done by having faith in the source (faith=belief) or relying on senses beyond the fab five we are used to engaging.
You can feel, know, trust, and intuit that something is true. And these extrasensory perceptions can prove more reliable than hearsay or a mental interpretation of physical sight. Never discount your gut feelings or psychic impressions. They could be your savior or lead you to the best, unexpected outcomes. Always leave room for greater possibilities. That may just be where the magic is. Fireflies are great, but a flying saucer is extraordinary.
The Evolving Intuitive
Sarah Ann Sporn, Ph.D.