This editorial article is directed at people who own a modern computer, tablet or smartphone and know a bit about how to use it. The information below must be accessed off an internet site called YouTube. Go to YouTube and search for something to do with Yanny or Laurel. You will find a short audio tape of someone actually saying the word Laurel. But half the population believes that the word being said is Yanny. How is that possible without half the population being determined to be liars?

Well, what’s going on is not about lying. The people who hear Yanny really believe that. Laurel has been determined to be what is really being said by scientific analysis of the tape, but it does not matter. Perception is everything in this world. We hear vibrations. Those vibrations are interpreted by our minds. There can be a disconnect in those interpretations…most obviously, as demonstrated by this simple exercise. That disconnect can be directly taken to a situation like that of Donald Trump. Some people are incapable of seeing what so many in the population actually see, or are those people seeing what they think they see at all? This goes beyond hearing. People stare at the television and actually see different things. Neither audience, pro-Trump or anti-Trump, can hear or see what the other is hearing and seeing. I hear “Laurel” when the tape is played and I sit transfixed when I play the segment and others I know and respect say vehemently that they hear “Yanny.”

I accept, with great difficulty, that they really do interpret the word as being Yanny. It helps explain the fantastic odyssey of this president’s serving as president of my country and how he came to be in that position. This “Laurel” illustration of differential perception goes well beyond mere politics. It also involves situations where life and death decisions are being made in the field. The Israeli forces in Jerusalem are reported and recorded on videotape to be killing unarmed citizens, shooting through their protective wire. The Israeli forces really do see and hear terrorists through that wire, even though none of the protestors is seen to be wearing terrorist attire or anything much different than what other protestors are wearing. How is that possible? Perception. Be so very careful of perception. It can and will kill you, or in unusual circumstances, allow you to kill others. The Laurel and Yanny experiment is fun but it is also deadly serious, depending on who and where and why you are.

Following an auto accident years ago I was found guilty of running a red light and causing the accident. The testimony of several witnesses convicted me of running the light. I went back, months later, after my insurance company paid for the accident and I paid for the violation. The witnesses admitted in person to not being in positions where they could view the accident until after they heard the impact. Even though they came to understand, by demonstration, that they could not have actually seen the accident happen, only view it after it had happened, they stuck to their story that I ran the light. I now understand that they did not hold to their story because they were Hispanic and I was Caucasian, an opinion I held all through these years. It wasn’t that. It was all about Laurel. They came to believe they saw the accident, just like listeners come to believe they hear Yanny. They don’t change their story because the facts are trotted out (the scientific breakdown of the sounds clearly shows that the transmission can only be Laurel), which sounds nothing like Yanny.

America, Israel and the rest of the countries of the world, are running on belief systems that depend upon accurate perception and disregard genetic imprinting. It is the only way that these societies can maintain order. Personal integrity, responsibility, and accountability can be measured and acted upon. If our genetic imprinting is the reason humans make most decisions, and then they are deemed to be incapable of making most decisions based upon accurate interpretation of what they see and hear, then how can any order be expected or maintained?

Understanding what’s being written here, much of which can be immediately field tested by any reader, and then accommodating the fact that human beings are much more perceptively flawed and biologically driven than has ever been found to be acceptable (E.O. Wilson, the brilliant doctor who founded sociobiology was thrown out of the social sciences along with his breakthrough conclusion, while the Laurel/Yanny test and results will never be allowed to enter the arena of perceptive scientific results) is our only hope for the very survival of the human race. Civilization, as it moves to ever more pervasive penetrations and revelations of “truth” and “facts” (from the results of ever more invasive technology), without being able to stop must come to a decision in rather short order. That decision has to include backing down from the intensity of expectation that it has (and all societies have) that humans are as perfect as they want to be, and that when they aren’t then draconian punishments will make them more so.

The American culture is becoming more rigid by the day, and it is still headed dead ahead toward an expectation of human perfection that isn’t even close to being possible. Before anything can be done to stop or reverse this course of either locking each other up en mass, or killing one another for perceived wrongs and imperfections, an understanding of what is becoming known about the human condition must be sought, explored and then accepted.

The New Testament is way ahead of this conclusion. Love thy neighbor as thyself. Visit the prisoners. Help the poor. Turn the other cheek. The New Testament is all about accommodation, which happens to be the direct opposite of the course modern cultures are taking.

~James Strauss


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