There is a tongue-in-cheek expression among lawyers that if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance then baffle them with bullshit.   Another form of this concept is the marketing advice that you are not selling the steak but the sizzle.   In each case, the point being made is that our perception of what is being offered may be more important than the substance of what we are actually receiving.   Sometimes, our perception becomes our reality.

In the practice of law, particularly litigation, this concept is reflected in the saying that a good case will win itself.   In other words, if the facts and the law are on your side, it does not take much to secure a good settlement or, if necessary, win a good verdict.   The perception that is created is that you are a great lawyer because you have won many good cases when, in reality, you became a great lawyer because you were able to get many good cases.   The real trick is not winning the good cases but getting the good cases.

This same concept can be seen in many of life’s endeavors.   Is a restaurant perceived to be great because it is always crowded or is it always crowded because it is, in fact, a great restaurant?  Is an event popular because it is perceived that tickets are hard to get or are the tickets hard to get because the event is, in fact, popular?   You can see where I am going with this.  We are often led to judge something based on what we perceive to be its value and then that perception becomes its value in reality.

Most things do not have an intrinsic value or worth, they are only worth what we perceive them to be worth.   In many cases, our value of things is based on our perception of what other people think it is worth.  A classic but, perhaps, debatable example of this is the high value we place on diamonds.   Due to some very clever marketing and a tight control on the number of diamonds allowed in the marketplace, the perception has been created that diamonds are a rare and very expensive commodity.  The perception that diamonds are expensive has made them expensive.

In a purely biological sense, the argument can be made that all of our reality is based on our perception of the world since we can only base our reality on how our brain interprets what we see, hear, feel, smell, taste, and touch.  Our physical perception of things is our reality.

In a more philosophical sense, our reality is also created by our belief systems.   If we believe something is true, even if there is no empirical proof, we come to accept it as being true.  This is most reflected in religious belief systems in which things that we believe, even though they could never be tested by objective standards, are nevertheless taken as being absolutely true.

The question then becomes how much of our reality is based on our perceptions or beliefs and, ultimately, does it make it any less real if our reality is all in our mind?

 Joe and Annemarie are leaving tomorrow for a two week trip to Israel with friends. Our blog posts will continue on their normal schedule.  We will respond to any comments upon our return.