Imagine a conversation with an alien. An extra-terrestrial. A being foreign to your universe and nonexistent before this encounter. How would you communicate? Certainly he/she/it would not speak your language. Perhaps this being would not even understand the concept of verbal communication or be able to form words or perceive sound? Certainly you would struggle with these motor operations. Which gestures would you use? Could certain expressions be misleadingly inaccurate or unintentionally threatening? You would struggle to see eye to eye, assuming he/she/it even had one.
Perception is a pivotal stepping stone in establishing communication or forming a connection. In order to interact with the unknown, one must form an understanding of ignorance. A logical oxymoron, which is an oxymoron in itself, is coming to accept that one will never fully understand the perception of another. This acceptance helps to lay a cornerstone for a relationship to be built, as it is the only neutral ground in a sea of unknowns. There are many things that one cannot sense, and although one cannot perceive them, it does not mean they are nonexistent.
Light, for instance, is a matter only perceptible from certain sensory details. From radio waves to gamma rays, the electromagnetic spectrum of light leaves only a thin streak perceptible to the human eye. Between infrared and ultraviolet waves, the band of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet is all that is visible in the vast spectrum. These various waves operate across several frequencies, and from what science has given us, this is all we have been able to detect and understand.
But how can we be confident in our perceptions? Although, according to science, we, as humans, are of the same species, this does not mean that our perceptions are equal. Certainly we can examine the lens of our eyes, noting the curvature and ability to perceive labeled frequencies, but what if our sense of one color is different on an individual basis? For instance, what if my perception of green is your perception of blue? Plants trade color with the sky and it is perceived as normal. We both see the same in a different light, but can speak of it in the same sense. Of course, we can try to categorize visibility, by breaking it into pigment percentages or hexadecimals values, but that does not alter the initial sense.
In order to communicate and connect, two beings must find a sensory medium. As humans, that medium is primarily language–be it auditory or visual–but in order to connect with beings other than our species, we must be willing to move into new mediums, where we can come to understand that our perceptions will change and be different. We must learn to see, not just with the sensory feelings we possess, but in a manner that can be shared with the unknown. It is the ability to look beyond the physical, to put a finger on an abstract thought and follow a feeling.
It’s in the eye of the beholder.
Well, the perception of the beholder.