by P.R.Banks

Perception, it is something that we often write about but never really talk about much. This was brought to mind by visiting the fair that was in town this week. Basically an over-glorified excuse to show up amusement arcades and the like. Generally I don't like such things too much as they tend to be over-crowded, such makes me a tad nervous - I like my personal space.

But this one was special because it had a roller coaster. I hadn't been on one of those at all and, apparently, there hasn't been such a thing in the city for some years. (Thus also explaining why I haven't been on one.) It was only a small thing, a portable job designed to be disassembled and moved at a few days notice. Driven by pneumatic air pumps and mechanical ratchets locks it hisses, rattles and shakes you around the highly convoluted track for some thirty seconds or so.

As I said it wasn't large. But it was fun.

What struck me though, after having been on the thing, was that from the ground the carriages move at a leisurely pace around the track. But in the thing the feel like you are whizzing around the track, presumably the very nature of the track with it's girders flashing by enhances the sense of speed. It highlights an important point, that our perception of things is biased by our participation in those same things.

An obvious truth in a lot of ways. Unfortunately I tend to think we overlook the obvious truths, and why they are obvious truths, sufficiently often that we distort them and forget exactly what the truth is.

Take, for instance, the online world. People felt that because anything you said here was what the person chose to put up, that we could create alternate personalities - eventually we would loose our humanity as swap and use 'faces' as required. But that isn't what has happened, thus far, and I don't think it will. The people who predicted that were too close to the problem, too involved with it or too biased by their own conceptions of how people relate.

What they forgot was that in any new medium the means of expression change, but the people doing the expressing remain the same. For instance I talk slightly differently from how I write and I write differently from how I type and... But always I remain the same person, someone looking at my writing, or a copy of something I said can still usually identify that it was me in both cases because I bring something of myself into the message.

Be they idioms, phrase structures or just simply the topic or type of thought being discussed and expressed. [1] No matter the medium, the personality shows through in some way.

Which is why this network will be neither panacea for all ills or the cause of the downfall of morality and human relations. It is merely a new medium, it will change us but just as much we will change it. And through it all our ways of interacting will mark us and the mark by which we scribe our path.

Thus the very idea that one is merely role-playing on the net, and being someone else, is ludicrous. You aren't being someone else you are being yourself. Certainly it may be a repressed or dormant part of yourself but be assured that anything you do here is a reflection of yourself.

You simply are too close to yourself to see that this is the case.

[1] That is one reason why I write these things in the first place. Because an aspect of myself is caught in these writings by coming back to them after a while I can start to see things I don't notice simply by thinking the thoughts alone. I see that certain ways of thinking are important to me.

Also, I hope to get some feedback one day on these comments. Nothing is more useful than some outside comment in assessing things.

Philip R. Banks
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