Perception vs Reality

Beware the ides of March!

The actual quote is from Shakespeare’s tragedy Julius Caesar (1599). The warning is uttered by a soothsayer who is letting Roman leader Julius Caesar know that his life is in danger, and he should probably stay home and be careful when March 15th, the Ides of March, rolls around.

How much of what a soothsayer tells us should we listen to, how much of our own inner voice should we listen to? Perhaps Julius Caesar should have stayed home that day but then there would have been another day with the same risk, just around the corner. We can’t avoid living our lives because there’s a risk of death outside our door.

I live in a statistically dangerous place, Sao Paulo, Brasil and travel by commuter bike, 10 km every day. I’m acutely aware of my risk and once experienced the bizarre thrill of bounce/rolling up the bonnet (Australian word for “hood” of a car) and shattering (but not going through) the windshield of a sedan belonging to a horrified young woman, who had just run a red light, having not seen me coming. She looked pale and shaken, as for me, just a couple of bruises and scrapes from my handle-bars. The front bike tire was totaled and the handle-bars were toast but the frame and bike parts were fine, so I pushed it home, fixed and was riding again within days, albeit with more caution, since I was speeding the day of the car crash but the rewards of my lifestyle far outweigh the risk I deal with every day.

Riding a bicycle any place (almost) will provide a winning risk/reward ratio. In fact, it may be, that with practice and experience, anything that appears to be extremely dangerous, may be a low-risk activity for a person with an expert skill level. Perception and reality, more often than not, are very different. Our world is filled with dichotomy, everything the media tells us about an important global incident, for example, is most likely something actually totally different than the truth. We’ve now come to expect deception and become complacent about it.

Perception is the point of advertising and marketing too, here again we’re bombarded daily with propaganda. It’s no wonder we’ve become complacent towards all the hypocrisy and deceit, spewed through the mainstream. It’s just become a new form of theater, to amuse the masses, while Rome burns. Besides, as most people suggest to me, there’s nothing we can do about a rigged system and tyrannical ruling elite who’ve taken over the planet (well sort-of) but then one day, I decided there was something I could do, I quit.

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