I will start by defining each key word as specified in The New World Dictionary of the American Language – Second Edition
PERCEPTION – The act of perceiving or the ability to perceive; mental gasp of objects, qualities, etc by means of the senses; awareness; comprehension.
REALITY – The quality or fact of being real. A person or thing that is real; fact.
Based upon the definitions outlined in the above quoted dictionary, PERCEPTION is not always or necessarily REALITY.
Let me tell you why I address this issue. Recently I had the occasion to research some facts about Sir Winston Churchill and in doing so I read a very revealing report totaling 36 pages from Wikipedia (understanding that is not always the most reliable source). The meat of the data was actually only 25 pages, but after reading I came to the conclusion that Churchill was not actually the positive historical figure that we commonly PERCEIVE. He was far more complex.
Over Churchill’s long life (1874-1965) he had several set-backs, and real blemishes that do not match the high status his historical reputation now carries. I am certainly not trying to diminish the many positive accomplishments credited to Churchill, such as his adroit leadership during and after World War ll. His contributions to literature are legendary, as were his skill as an accomplished painter of landscapes. His contributions were far greater than just political leadership, and his many famous quotes are legendary.
Less noted or known is the influence he held in the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, which resulted in the creation of many of the countries in the current Middle East and the resulting long brewing difficulties. Churchill was an avid supporter of the British Empire’s colonial holdings and fought against the independence of India. He was a strong opponent of Mohatma Gandhi, and favored letting Gandhi die in prison when he went on a hunger strike.
In the British General Strike of 1926 Churchill is reported to have suggested that machine guns be used on the striking miners. During the early days of the First World War Churchill served as First Lord of the Admiralty, and was forced from office after the disastrous Battle of Gallipoli where hordes of British and Turkish troops were killed in the ill-fated attack.
The point I am making is that we cannot judge a book by its cover. There are few among us who do not have events or circumstances in our past that we are all proud of or would not change if we had the opportunity.
If you like history and have any interest in Sir Winston Churchill I highly recommend that you simply go to your computer, and search his name and read the highly interesting article posted on Wikipedia. You will learn a lot of enlightening facts about a very complex individual who contributed greatly to the human experience.
Getting back to my original point there are thousands of examples of individuals whose PERCEPTION has not matched up with REALITY, such as John F, Kennedy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Teddy Kennedy, and Richard Nixon, so be careful when you praise some historical figures before you know all the facts. The exploration is half the fun, informative, and extremely illuminating. Look before you leap is appropriate.