Seeing What We Want to See

There has been a lot of talk recently about unidentified flying objects (UFOs) in our news media recently. This is specifically because of a report that is being issued from the Defense Department this month that will supposedly detail what the government knows about such strange phenomena. As is usual with secretive government information, we can expect to be told that they don’t know much about anything, regardless of what information they might have at their disposal.

The big question that is on everyone’s mind at the moment is whether these strange objects are man-made, or do they come from somewhere else. People have been speculating for decades about alien spacecraft in our proverbial backyard, and the theories go from plausible to incredibly insane. We can’t rule out the possibility that we have visitors from another place hanging around and observing us, but at the same time our current understanding of physics tells us this is unlikely.

While the subject of aliens is certainly an interesting one, the focus of this article is about a different aspect of this trending issue. Regardless of what the report ends up telling us, we will all take away something different from what is revealed. The information will be the same for every person who comes into contact with it, but that doesn’t matter. We will all have our own idea of what the information means and what we will believe going forward regarding unidentified flying objects.

One of the interesting things about human beings is that we have the capacity to look past cold hard facts and put our own perspective into how we see things. Unlike a cold, logical computer, we have the ability to extrapolate beyond the obvious and imagine more than what exists here in reality. This ability has given us the chance to advance far beyond what we could have without it because we start with a dream and then figure out a way to turn it into a reality, regardless of how absurd it might seem.

The problem with this arises when we apply this way of thinking to issues for which we have limited information. We are given a certain amount of information and we end up filling in the blanks with our own perspective. Sometimes this works out just fine because we have enough information to make very good educated guesses. Other times it leads to wildly incorrect and even dangerous theories as we grasp about to connect the proverbial dots.

One of the unfortunate tendencies we human beings struggle with is a habit of seeing what we want to see regardless of what evidence is available to us. Even if the government comes out and flat out tells us that the UFOs aren’t extraterrestrial, there will be a significant portion of the population who refuses to believe because they want aliens to be real. Of course, the opposite is true because there is another portion of the population who will suffer a crisis of religious faith if visitors from another world turn out to be real.

We all see what we want to see, but it is important to recognize this fact about ourselves and learn to implement strategies that mitigate the potential dangers of it. Healthy skepticism is a good start regarding any topic, but we must have care not to take it too far. Objective analysis of available evidence can be very difficult for we emotional human beings, but if we realize this from the start we have a much better chance of getting closer to the truth than we ever imagined.

What do you think about how we see the world? Do you believe what is in front of you, or do you tend to see something more? How hard is it to accept what other people tell you? Sometimes we can struggle to get an understanding of the world around us when we have limited information, but it is important to keep a level head and use what little information we do have in a responsible way.

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