Seeing clearly

Life in the Postmodern Shift

March 6, 2024 | Opinion | Volume 28 Issue 5
Troy Watson |
Photo by Luiz M Santos/Pexels.

I saw a commercial during a hockey game recently that ended with an image of an Uber Eats bag sitting beside a bowl of macaroni and cheese and a Kraft Dinner box. This struck me as odd. I wondered, what’s the connection between Uber Eats and Kraft Dinner?

A few minutes later, the same commercial came on, but I noticed there was no Kraft Dinner box at the end. Everything else was exactly the same. I was dumbfounded.

I saw the same commercial probably a dozen times over the next 90 minutes, but there was no Kraft Dinner box anywhere. I eventually concluded my mind had played a trick on me. I must have associated the bowl of macaroni and cheese with Kraft Dinner, and thought I saw something that wasn’t there.

Near the end of the game, the commercial played once more and beside the bowl of macaroni and cheese was a blue Kraft Dinner box. Clear as a bell.

I couldn’t believe it. In a state of astonishment and delight, I celebrated that I hadn’t lost my mind. For some reason, Uber Eats had produced two different versions of this commercial.

As I reflected further, I marvelled that it took less than two hours for me to become convinced I had not seen what I had in fact seen.

That’s how easily we doubt, question and discount our own observations and experiences in life. This is without taking into consideration the colossal impact artificial intelligence and advancements in audio visual technology will have upon us in the very near future.

Our perceptions and memories are malleable, impressionable and fluid. They are heavily influenced by many factors, most notably the people around us and the “authorities” we trust.

Numerous social experiments have demonstrated how prone we are to conforming to the opinions of others, even when they’re obviously wrong. In the Asch conformity experiments, subjects were put in a room with seven actors. The group was shown a series of slides depicting lines of various lengths and asked which two lines they thought were the same length on each slide.

At first the actors gave the right answers. After a few rounds, they unanimously started choosing the same obvious wrong answers. Seventy-five percent of the test subjects conformed and chose the wrong answer at least once to go along with the group.

There is a saying that seeing is believing. The truth is that we often don’t believe or trust what we see if everyone around us sees something else. Whether we see evidence for God’s existence or not, for example, usually has more to do with the culture we are immersed in than our own perceptions, reason and experiences.

No matter how intelligent or old we are, we continue to be influenced, socialized, normalized and conditioned throughout our lives by the people around us and the environments we inhabit. As a result, we often deny or dismiss our own perceptions and experiences.

During his baptism, Jesus saw the Spirit descend upon him like a dove and heard the Creator say, “You are my beloved son.” Immediately after this, Jesus went into the wilderness. The Adversary began testing him, saying, “If you really are the Son of God…”

I think this was the real temptation. The underlying tactic of the Adversary was to get Jesus to doubt himself and the truth he had just heard, seen and experienced.

We are confronted with this same Adversary today in our churches, schools, workplaces, culture—even our own minds. It wants us to doubt who we are and the truth we have experienced.

How can we trust and stay grounded in the truth we perceive and experience?

This is a complex question with no easy answers.

In part, we must choose wisely how and with whom we spend our time. We must guard our inner beings and filter the ideas, thoughts, beliefs and attitudes we allow to take root in our minds and hearts in light of the kind of fruit they produce.

It’s important to listen and learn from others, but it’s even more important to preserve and strengthen our capacity to perceive clearly and trust our “inner teacher,” the Spirit within us.

As Jesus says, when your perception is clear, your whole being is healthy and full of light.

Troy Watson is a pastor at Avon Church in Stratford, Ontario, and can be reached at

Photo by Luiz M Santos/Pexels.

Share this page: Twitter Instagram

Add new comment

Canadian Mennonite invites comments and encourages constructive discussion about our content. Actual full names (first and last) are required. Comments are moderated and may be edited. They will not appear online until approved and will be posted during business hours. Some comments may be reproduced in print.