Your reality is not the same as people’s perception of your reality. And your perception of other people’s reality is not the same as their reality.
What people see of you is partially blinded by incomplete information. They are not familiar with your world view, all your experiences, your thinking process, your attitude. All they can see is what you choose to show. For instance: if you limp and you take on a grim face or wince when you walk, they know you hurt. If you limp and you smile, there’s a disconnect. If it doesn’t hurt, why do you limp? Is one leg shorter than the other? Do you have some sort of physical deformity that keeps you from walking normally? Frankly, they don’t CARE why you limp, but if you’re smiling and don’t show pain or frustration, they assume you’re fine, you just walk funny. What if you smile and act as if things are normal because you’re tired of going through the whole explanation every single time, and you hate the pitying looks, and the solicitous advice. What if you make jokes about how messed up your leg is–I have so much metal in my leg that TSA asks me if I’m smuggling a shot gun. Ha Ha Ha. What a goof! It can’t hurt too bad if she’s making jokes about it. You can’t tell a book by its cover. Well… We do that all the time.
The problem comes in where people make assumptions about you based on their own experiences. “Ashton Kutcher is a very funny guy. He plays an idiot on TV. He must not be very smart. I know lots of dumb guys like that. They are funny because they are dumb. So Ashton Kutcher is dumb.” Then they go on and extrapolate. “Since Ashton Kutcher is funny and dumb, and Chevy Chase is funny because he’s dumb, and John Belushi is funny because he’s dumb, and Robin Williams is funny because he’s dumb…” You see a trend here? Therefore this person believes all comedians are dumb. Watch this. You cannot be that bad of a swordsman unless you are that GOOD of a swordsman. You cannot be that uncoordinated unless you are NOT that uncoordinated. You cannot play that dumb unless you are NOT that dumb. And if you do your research, you will find that comedians actually have a higher intelligence average than regular people. Higher? Say it isn’t SO! Why do you think the court jesters were called Fools? Would you want someone smarter than the king and in a position of servitude actually influencing the state’s policies? So though he actually WAS influencing the king, he was labeled a fool so as not to be endangered by the pretenders to the throne. What better spy could you have than someone who was ignored because he was labeled a stupid juggler/entertainer/fool? In modern times, it would be the substitute teacher.
When I look at a good comedian, a really good one, I am impressed by his/her insights. Others might classify them as very funny but not to take anything they say seriously. Albert Einstein was into slapstick comedy before he went into physics. Hmmm. Can’t imagine him with a pie in the face. Serial Killers, the ones that aren’t spree killers but taunt the FBI or the Police, tend to have a very keen sense of humor and also tend to be very intelligent. I’d be careful of not taking a comedian seriously when they say something profound. There could be consequences.
Some people consider me funny. I do find a lot of things funny and can move from profound to absurd in 3.4 seconds. I think I’m rather intelligent as well. I have degrees and certifications in all sorts of areas from Music to Accounting to Securities and Finance. I speak multiple languages, including Spanish, Italian, Fortran and Basic. It’s been too long since I used Assembly language, but I studied it in college. What do people see when they look at me or converse with me? It’s all tinged with how THEY see the world, not what they actually glean from our encounters, isn’t it.
I watch a lot of crime procedurals, and of course, I study human behavior as a necessary element of my music teaching and my financial business. I think I know how people think. I’m WRONG, but that doesn’t change how I think about people. I assume some things about people by how they react to my humor, how they speak, what they think is important, and how they solve problems. I put them in categories: “Like me” and “Not like me.” In the “Like Me” category go people who do not need explanations for my humor. They see deeper into maths and sciences and are curious about things outside of their expertise. They may be mentally intelligent or emotionally or spiritually intelligent. Degrees and certifications do not define them, but the fact that they pursue such knowledge shows me that curiosity is an itch that needs to be scratched.
The “Not like me” category contains everyone else. Those that think they are smarter and on a higher plain intelligence-wise because they have a piece of paper that says so would be in that category. Unless they can demonstrate this intelligence, I withhold my judgement until I am satisfied that they didn’t just check boxes and get someone’s signature saying they’re intelligent. My doctor is one of those. Each time I see him and ask him questions, the thought I’m left with is, “What do you call a guy that graduates in the bottom of his medical class?” (Doctor) Those that overtly categorize me are immediately put at the bottom of the pile of the “Not Like Me” category, (along with coffee grounds, hamster droppings, and the Cosmo Magazines that I never open.)
In one group I belong to, EVERYONE is in the “Like Me” category, and we couldn’t be more different. We approach problems differently; some have degrees and some don’t; we come from vastly different backgrounds and work experiences; and we vary widely in age. HOWEVER, everyone in the group can appreciate humor, creativity, progressing on goals, seeing the bigger picture, and stretching ourselves to become better people. I find I go through withdrawal if I don’t see them every week.
The question becomes this: Are there more people like me or not like me? If you have to get empirical evidence, it would take a long time to classify people. I have the feeling though that there are more “Not Like me” than “Like me” people. I do not know for sure though. I would think that this would be true for most people. Let me know what you think.