This topic always been a point of high focus for us. We will explore alternative societal organizations which some thinkers like the one Jacque Fresco has put in front of our egocentric noses that remain largely unexplored but retain tremendous potential, The true age of our civilization will be also a focal point of our research, as we believe that science can also be infected with monolithic thinking.
There is a famous maxim that goes like this: 'the observer changes that which is observed'. Further, the observer themselves change by the very act of observation. So exists the question, 'How do we like to imagine you?'—what exactly do we mean by this? The very act of seeing is fraught with overlapping conflict. To see is not only a physical process but a psychological, emotional, and intuitive process. We know that the image is upside down and rectified by our brain though we would find it near impossible to be able to actualize that knowledge as adults. What we constantly and repetitively omit is the fact that the final image we 'see' is far from the actual image presented for us to see. It is in fact a collage of intercepting and often opposing mental images that are themselves the product of a multitude of thoughts, some worked out painstakingly, others intuitive, and yet more either emotion based or implanted and accepted versions of what is taken to be the norm.
So much of what is imprinted into our thought processes is subliminally implanted from birth by the very images that we are subjected to, be they from books, TV, movies, or any other medium including nature itself. We are not left to decide for ourselves but are shepherded and forced into accepting the agreed upon standardized version. Parents, schools, peer pressure, and the prevailing cultural vision (no matter how wacky it may appear with hindsight) add to and build on this so that we end up with an image which is far from the reality of what is seen. I love you so I omit or gloss over your faults and annoying traits. This means I do not see the actual you but the version I have chosen to view thus enabling me to continue not only loving you but enabling me to overlook those aspects which I may otherwise be repulsed by. We all accept this to be the case yet we do not apply this to everything else that we see.
We have been brainwashed into accepting that what we see is the 'real thing' so that we do not question too closely much of what would otherwise appall and repulse us. Since when did grotesquely obese people become an accepted 'normal' version of mankind? Few of them are truly medically obese due to imbalances in the hormonal, glandular, or other systems. The majority are no more than gluttons whose medical condition arises from the constant overeating leading to excessive pressure being put onto all the body's functional systems. Yet we view them with pity, compassion or empathy (identifying with their terrible distress even though in most cases this is self-inflicted). Seldom is disgust or repulsion admitted to though at times we all feel this, along with the occasional humor and laughter from the sheer surrealistic vision of what we are seeing. Yet instinctively we know that these overrepresented (physically) members of the human race are not healthy specimens with regard to breeding, longevity, etc. Yet we have been conditioned to ignore this.
It is culturally unpalatable even though the questions and knowledge we 'see' in front of us are in direct contradiction to the accepted view. So what do I see when I 'see' you? A combination of all I have learned (both by myself as well as formally), the implanting of societal mores, my emotions (with all that implies), my state of physical being, the prevailing cultural norm (as well as residual from former ones), and of course, not least, which face/persona you are presenting to me. And we wonder why human relationships and interaction are such minefields? How can we ever hope to truly communicate when all these subtleties are so little understood or considered?
Words in written language have proven to be the best we have created so far with visuals a close second (certainly most useful for those who refuse to indulge in thinking). Yet we cling to the patently untrue belief that what we see is what we really are looking at. Therefore, we cannot say in truth that we see the other person. In essence, I really should be saying 'I imagine you' because that is closer to the truth of the matter. My imagination is very productive as it is in most of us (though often subconsciously) and will fill in the gaps which otherwise would be uncomfortably apparent. The process is being thoroughly examined by a variety of scientific disciplines whose collected results not only overlap but should eventually produce a comprehensive overview backed up by defined, factual, empirical data. We live in hope.
In the meantime, a constant (as often as is practical) realization of the iniquity of perception must be employed if we are to attain realizable communication. Otherwise we face an even more uncertain future where communication and understanding of others will be surreal at best.