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Josette Brose-Eichar
Josette Brose-Eichar

Reality and perception, are they distinct and different concepts?

As I was growing up my father constantly downplayed our dreams saying they were not reality.  I now realize that his “reality” was, indeed, only his perception of reality.  As I grew older, I found out I could make lots more money than he did and do it by simply doing things differently than he did.  I could get an advanced education, buy property and invest. At times in my life I had unrealistic goals and ideas,  and learned through trial and error what could or couldn’t work. So, I guess I designed my own reality. And yet, I never thought that everything I did was what someone else should do. For seven years I worked for Visa, the debit and credit card giant. Near the end of my time there, I was the point of contact for Wells Fargo Bank’s ATM and debit card data processing operations. The bank called, some transactions were failing.  My job was to find the transactions, look at them and determine what fields in the computer-to-computer messages were incorrect and who was at fault. From there, I could give it back to the bank to resolve, or escalate to Visa programming to fix.   It would seem like a pretty straightforward job and one that could have only one reality. This process usually took me from 20 to 30 minutes to complete.  Yet, each time I started working on it, within five minutes the bank would call and start asking what I was doing, what was taking so long. After this happened a few times, my manager told me to forward the phone calls to her and keep working.  Later, I found out the bank did not like her response when she told them, “The reality of the situation is that if you don’t stop calling Josette, she can’t work on and find the problem.” Wells Fargo escalated the issue to Visa’s public relations group. My manager was told, “We don’t care about reality, you people need to learn how to manage perception.” Some things are so clearly defined that they have to be reality, such as finding an error in a computer message or programming. And yet, somehow people can perceive them differently.  Then there are things we feel are open to many different interpretations or perceptions and have no single reality.   I just finished reading “The Kingdom, The Power and The Glory,” a book by Tim Alberta, who is an evangelical Christian, and whose father was a pastor. The book is an investigation of Christian Nationalism, and while it was depressing for me to read, Alberta used facts, interviews and research as he traveled the country, attending church services and rallies. Some will say that what he lays out is a disturbing reality that we are facing in America, and others will say his writing is an attack on misunderstood, good, Christian people.   Which raises a fundamental question for all of us to consider. Just what is the reality and what is the perception of the rise of Christian Nationalism? What does it mean for us in the November elections?   Though I found this book a painful read, I urge you to read it. Seen through the eyes of a true Christian believer, like Alberta, rather than an agnostic skeptic like me, there are facts and reality that we must face.  And now back to perception: Next I will load some novel of total fiction on my Kindle and escape reality for a bit.  
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