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    What if you woke up one day and got a text telling you that your whole life you’d been seeing people through a fixed gauze?

    This is not a great text to wake up to but maybe you manage to text back something like ‘WTF?’

    But by then your messenger might have spread his charmless message onto someone else.

    So what if he’s right?

    Human beings are animals first. We are built to survive. In order to survive our system operates with a certain economy. For most of its (150,000-200,000 year) life homo sapiens has had to scan the environment for threats. Once these threats are understood they can be dealt with and we can move on.

    Which brings us to the gauze. In our modern environment the drive to be efficient has not left us. Although the language and technology we use gives us the sheen of modernity we remain in thrall to our animal past. Our perceptions may be dazzled by the new but when we see others we see a reality that we fixed time ago. We don’t see friends and family in their singularity. What we see is the reality we have made of them. They remain within the borders of our old perceptions. This is not a choice we make but the unconscious operation of our still vibrant species inheritance.

    This can often be the source of humour : a man comes back to the house with a new haircut which the partner fails to recognise. Why? Its not the haircut but the persistence of the old perception of his hair that has to be broken through because the gauze is in full effect. Such dramas are called misunderstanding but a more accurate phrase would be mis-perceiving.

    Try this out on others – the perception checking, not the haircut. Just being aware of how the species operates is a useful first step to engineering awareness in other parts of the brain and having choices in how we perceive rather than being led by them.