At the end of this piece lies a picture that could be sexually suggestive, slightly obscene or simply interesting. You will decide what it is. It’s a very popular one, and by my statistics I know
92% 98% of readers will scroll down to the bottom to see it ASAP. May God help us. [smiles] Its placement was a deliberate attempt to avoid distractions, but I doubt if the purpose was fulfilled.
Now that you’ve scrolled down — with myriads of thoughts as souvenir — and back here, please let’s continue. Comments that often accompany the picture include: “Iru puff-puff wo leleyi? || What sort of puff-puff is this?”, “Dirty mind what are you thinking?”, “What d’yu think it is?”, “Hmmm… I love this fried dough.”….plus the one on your mind. It can be sometimes expressly lewd but I won’t put that here, you get the idea. If you ask me I’ll say differently.
In my own opinion, I see something else. Permit me to go the nollywood way and attempt a suspense while I slightly elaborate on the central theme — perception.
As we all know it, perception is a way of understanding or regarding something. It is the translation of the raw data from the senses into meaning by the brain. A glass filled half way with water is a perfect illustration for this. Some will see the glass as half full (say optimists) while others will assert that it’s half empty (say pessimists). Same glass. Same water. Different opinion. I’ll tone down the pessimism and optimism twist and focus on something similar yet different: the determinants of perception. I must add that they are intertwined.
Here we go. Please tolerate my approach, the way I think most times is…erm, never mind.
Over the past two decades I’ve seen snakes of various species, lengths, shapes, sizes, and most importantly, what they can do. I’m not ophidiophobic, but I don’t like snakes. Cook and dish it well, then we’ll discuss. Two days ago I stumbled upon a robust rope before my door in the dark; a simulacrum of a serpent, and…gawwD, I cringed (I am a coward, yes. No problem). I hated adrenalin at that moment. My neighbour’s two year old boy will see the same rope, smile, pick it up and play with it. He almost picked a snake once; he was found following the slithery thing in the balcony.
What distinguished us, presenting the boy as the brave and I the wuss, was knowledge or experience. Not bravery. Not strength. He doesn’t know what a snake is let alone fangs and venom. I do. He was bewildered by a “moving rope”. He hasn’t seen victims of snake bite; the pain an acquaintance went through back in school. I have. Our perception was subject to our knowledge and experience.
In between knowledge and exposure, this tweet would fit:
RT if you’ve ever blown and played with a “protective rubber” like a balloon #PUERILITY
Exposure, entwined with knowledge is another. We learn and know from what we are exposed to. It took like forever before a friend’s grandma stopped calling ‘Golden Morn’ garri. It wasn’t deliberate. All her life she was exposed to garri so anything of a similar appearance is garri.
Mimic Usain Bolt’s victory pose (lean back and point both index fingers towards the sky with the right arm cocked and the left arm stretched out). Kids who watch sports on DSTV will understand this and likely do the same. A typical and representative village boy will only but wonder if you are well at all.
Here is where expectation comes in. If as a child you watched series of diabolical, evil-spirit-ish, and horror movies, then you’ll agree with me that any shadow or shape on the wall at night would look just like one of the dreadful creatures you’ve earlier seen. If in one of such movies a mannequin turned to a brain-eating zombie, the next mannequin you encounter in reality might just come to live, with your help. Your exposure shaped your expectation.
I don’t entirely support the optimism-pessimism concept of the half filled glass illustration. Aim, desire or objective could also be of influence in such instance. Kofi, a roadside mechanic, who has been working in the sun for hours took a few minutes break and saw a glass half filled with cold water, sweating profusely than he is. What he wants is a full glass or more to calm his thirst. His description would most likely be “a half full glass”. Silas needs the same glass to take another liquid (say coke) and he must justify pouring out the cold water. “The glass is half empty” is more likely. Again, same glass. Same water. Different views. Objective is the key word here.
Back to what I see in the picture. First, I see a fried dough; the one we almost generally call puff-puff. I bet you see that too. Also, I see a puff-puff that slightly has the shape of a foetus in the very early stage of development. Do you want to scroll down and confirm this? Please do. Tilt your head a bit to the left or your device to the right.
What was your first opinion of the picture?
There’s no crime in seeing what you saw in the first place, whatever it may be. Your perception is yours.
You can make it better though.
What influenced it?
Now you know…or probably reminded of what influences your perception. What you feed your heart is what it conceptualizes. Feed it appropriately.
I normally would chip in “just another rant” at the end of a piece like this, but I will forget today [smiles]. I’m not so interested in a snack that looks like a growing zygote or a phallus (though I couldn’t hold back a smile at a point). However, it gave me the chance to better reflect on perception…and I decided to share.
Regardless of bits of manoeuvres, I’m glad I did.