The Cambridge Dictionary defines perception as a belief or opinion, often held by some people based on how things seem. Interestingly, things are not always what they seem, and that is why we can’t judge people base on perception. It would be a mistake. A bad mistake.
Suzy Kassem, an American writer, poet and philosopher has this to say on perception:
Never judge someone's character based on the words of another. Instead, study the motives behind the words of the person casting the bad judgment. An honest woman can sell tangerines all day and remain a good person until she dies, but there will always be naysayers who will try to convince you otherwise. Perhaps this woman did not give them something for free, or at a discount. Perhaps too, that she refused to stand with them when they were wrong — or just stood up for something she felt was right.
And also, it could be that some bitter women are envious of her, or that she rejected the advances of some very proud men. Always trust your heart. If the Creator stood before a million men with the light of a million lamps, only a few would truly see him because truth is already alive in their hearts. Truth can only be seen by those with truth in them. He who does not have Truth in his heart, will always be blind to her.
Suzy is not alone on the issue of how perception can be misleading. I have a personal experience to share. Even though I have told the story a couple of times, it will be useful repeating it to help me make my point in this article.
Some years ago. I had gone to a business centre to print out some documents. There was a bit of a queue so I had to wait for my turn. I observed something disgusting; a lady working at the centre disrespectfully collected pen drives from customers with her left hand irrespective of their ages. I boiled with anger, and was impatiently waiting for my turn to express my displeasure. I had planned that if she does same to me she would regret the day she was born.
It eventually got to my turn, and lo and behold, she took my pen drive with her left hand; I reprimanded her for her nauseating attitude, and questioned her for disrespectfully collecting pen drives from customers who could be her parents or grandparents; she smiled, and I fumed the more because I thought she wasn't remorseful.
After working on my document, and with a smile, she returned my pen drive with her left hand, but this time around she supported it with her right hand, and I noticed that three fingers of her right hand were missing, and that was why she couldn't use it. Oh my God, I was shattered! And my eyes welled up with tears. I apologised profusely to her for judging her wrongly.
Ever since then I have learnt not to judge people based on perception or what others say about them, but based on my encounter with them. This should be a lesson of empathy for all, especially politicians; unfortunately, there is growing threat of destroying people based on perception, and this is trebly worrying. This attitude not only undermines nation-building, it also helps in preventing good people from contributing to developing our nation through politics.
Some years past, Mr. Martin Amidu made most systemic scurrilous and calculated noxious attacks on former President John Dramani Mahama only to turn around to say that his accusations were based on perception during his vetting as a Special Prosecutor nominee! If a fine gentleman and a great leader like H.E. John Mahama is perceived otherwise, then the only option is to bring forth the truth, and that is what I’m trying to do. Everybody has a weakness; I will try to find that of Mr Martin Amidu. Though I don’t know the motive behind his attacks, one thing I know for sure is that all actions have consequences. The distance between perception and reality is very wide, and if Mr Amidu is going to work as a Special Prosecutor based on perception brinkmanship, then, I have a sinking feeling that he could end up embarrassed and frustrated in his new portfolio since he has already formed whirlwinds of ruination ripe with ominous undertones.
It’s not hard to find a drunk; they don’t take logical steps. Mr Amidu’s idea of perception has embarrassed him enough, and I had wished not to add to it, but I am at pains to say that he is like a drunk, and will soon be found out because perception is not reality.
Anthony Obeng Afrane