How you see not what you see

Before leaving to go use the bathroom he hands me his small used toy to hold on to. I take a closer look at it and I find out it’s a small hand warmer made for kids , it’s used up and can be considered useless from this point on, so I just throw it into my pocket to dispose of later. The young boy aged about 6 comes back and seems to have forgotten that he gave it to me and leaves without asking for it back. Later on in the day I unconsciously put my hand in my pocket and feel a smooth plastic object and recall what it is. Chucking it into a bin without a second thought, I go on with my day. About two weeks later the boy comes to me and asks for his toy back and I am puzzled . But he recalls exactly the day and the time when he handed me the toy, note to self never challenge a kids memory, after walking me through my memories I remember what he is talking about and with no other answer I told him I lost it. He was devastated, shocked and puzzled, but he didn’t cry. He just went and sat quietly while I felt like I had broken a sacred code and the village elders would have me thrown into a volcano because of my unlawful act. At that point I realized it wasn’t important to me but it was important to him. To him it meant something more than I understood or would understand . To me it was just a thing. My perception and his were completely crossed.


This idea of perception became more amplified after reading Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance. In it there is a reference to perception that kind of goes like this,

People’s perception of things is different from our own, Our dimensions are different from each otherWe have formed in our minds what our reality is, and when things don’t align with it we tend to act otherwise. Because of the reality we have formed for ourselves we tend to neglect or oppose other realities that exist around us.

What does it all mean

That exist around us, meaning each of us, group , race, culture and so on have formed in our minds what our reality is. Reality here if I can try and digest it means what makes sense, normal and understandable/ relatable to us or the individual.

Understanding that we all have different perceptions of things gives one the ability to better not only their interactions but also their relationships with other people. It allows one to know that we all value things differently and see the world from not only different points but also literally different eyes.

In simple terms my idea of what is good or the way things are is very different from someone else’s idea of what is. Take good and switch it out for anything from important or appropriate and even acceptable. To go even further one’s idea of true and not true. Each person has formed their own model reality. And it is our responsibility not to oppose but understand each person or tribes uniqueness in their perception of what ,why and how things are.

How to use this new power

As brother and a friend means going out to a party where I know no body and will probably feel super awkward and left out of the conversation but I know it means the world my best friend. Because from what he sees is that me being there is important to him. I may not see its value or significance but it is significant to the other person.

As a designer and a business means knowing how we all have a different perception of reality and what’s important lets me meet a client at their need better and not always thinking one sided and yes I know but Mwila (that’s my name ) aren’t their things we all can agree on? Yes of course some ideas of what is good important, right and beautiful we can almost all agree on but my argument is that we shouldn’t be dogmatic on these ideas.

The world each individual sees is singular to them, this emphasizes each and everyone’s uniqueness. What may appear strange to you is perfectly normal to someone else, we are not obligated to accept it as truth but rather understand its significance to the other individual.

Thank you for reading, please feel free to say something or reach out. These are my ideas and understanding and in no way should be taken as truths




Writing about our beautifully complicated amazingly simple lives and sharing ideas

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Benjamin Mwila Chitakwa

Benjamin Mwila Chitakwa

Writing about our beautifully complicated amazingly simple lives and sharing ideas

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