70 Fascinating Quotes About Perception

One of the most interesting things about life is that what we perceive with our senses is not accurate. Our ability to interpret visual information is strong proof of this statement. Optical illusions can make us believe we are seeing something we are not. In addition, everything we see is colored by our internal interpretation. We interpret what we see through the internal lenses of our fears, desires, and goals.

Our pets provide further proof of our inability to trust our senses. Dogs can hear a storm coming long before we see it, which is why timid dogs hide from a storm in their safe place before it arrives. Dogs can actually smell roughly 100,000 times better than humans can. The point is that many things exist that humans cannot perceive. If you don’t believe this argument, look at a magnified photo of a snowflake.

These 70 quotes about perception will really make you think about how you perceive things and make you see the world you live in quite differently.

Perception Quotes

“What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what sort of person you are.” C.S. Lewis

“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.” Camille Pissarro

“The outer world is a reflection of the inner world. Other people’s perception of you is a reflection of them; your response to them is an awareness of you.” Roy T. Bennett

“When we become fixed in our perceptions, we lose our ability to fly.” Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

“Most misunderstandings in the world could be avoided if people would simply take the time to ask, “What else could this mean?” Shannon L. Alder

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“Beauty is no quality in things themselves: It exists merely in the mind which contemplates them; and each mind perceives a different beauty.” David Hume

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” Anais Nin

“Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.” Arthur Schopenhauer

“If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.” William Blake

“Life is 10 percent what you make it, and 90 percent how you take it.” Irving Berlin

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” Oscar Wilde

Your opinion is your opinion, your perception is your perception–do not confuse them with “facts” or “truth”. Wars have been fought and millions have been killed because of the inability of men to understand the idea that EVERYBODY has a different viewpoint. John Moor

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” W.B. Yeats

“It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it.” Anais Nin

“The outer world is a reflection of the inner world. Other people’s perception of you is a reflection of them; your response to them is an awareness of you.” Roy T. Bennett

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“Songs are as sad as the listener.” Jonathan Safran Foer

“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” Aldous Huxley

“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.” Robertson Davies

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” Marcus Aurelius

“Dream delivers us to dream, and there is no end to illusion. Life is like a train of moods like a string of beads, and, as we pass through them, they prove to be many-colored lenses which paint the world their own hue. . . . ” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The older you get, the more you understand how your conscience works. The biggest and only critic lives in your perception of people’s perception of you rather than people’s perception of you.” Criss Jami

“In this treacherous world, Nothing is the truth nor a lie. Everything depends on the color Of the crystal through which one sees it,” Pedro Calderón de la Barca

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” Henry David Thoreau

“The optimist sees the doughnut, the pessimist sees the hole.” McLandburgh Wilson

“Perception is strong and sight weak. In strategy it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things.” Miyamoto Musashi

“The master said You must write what you see. But what I see does not move me. The master answered Change what you see.” Louise Glück

“What do you mean, blindly? That baby is a very sentient creature… That baby sees the world with a completeness that you and I will never know again. His doors of perception have not yet been closed. He still experiences the moment he lives in.” Tom Wolfe

“Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.” George Bernard Shaw

“The problem is not our situation but our perception of our situation.” Graham Cooke

“One has not only an ability to perceive the world but an ability to alter one’s perception of it; more simply, one can change things by the manner in which one looks at them.” Tom Robbins

“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” John Lubbock

“Nonsense is that which does not fit into the prearranged patterns which we have superimposed on reality…Nonsense is nonsense only when we have not yet found that point of view from which it makes sense.” Gary Zukav

“You will always define events in a manner which will validate your agreement with reality.” Steve Maraboli

“All of everything is a point of view.” Prof. Stanzi Comstock

“How many colors are there in a field of grass to the crawling baby unaware of “green”?” Stan Brakhage

“There is an art of seeing things as they are: without naming, without being caught in a network of words, without thinking interfering with perception.” Jiddu Krishnamurti

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“It is a narrow mind which cannot look at a subject from various points of view.” George Eliot

“Facts matter not at all. Perception is everything. It’s certainty.” Stephen Colbert

“All our knowledge is the offspring of our perceptions.” Leonardo da Vinci

“There are two paths of which one may choose in the walk of life; one we are born with, and the one we consciously blaze. One is naturally true, while the other is a perceptive illusion. Choose wisely at each fork in the road.” T.F. Hodge

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” Abraham Lincoln

“When you no longer perceive the world as hostile, there is no more fear, and when there is no more fear, you think, speak and act differently.” Eckhart Tolle

“The artistic image is not intended to represent the thing itself, but, rather, the reality of the force the thing contains.” James Baldwin

“Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.” James Thurber

“When one looks at the ocean, they can only see that part of it which comes within their range of vision; so it is with the truth.” Hazrat Inayat Khan

“It is one of the commonest of our mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all that there is to perceive.” Charles Webster Leadbeater

“The closer you come to knowing that you alone create the world of your experience, the more vital it becomes for you to discover just who is doing the creating.” Eric Micha’el Leventhal

“It’s as if when I open myself up to every perception, things create their own focus.” Kristin Cashore

“My father says that there is only one perfect view — the view of the sky straight over our heads, and that all these views on earth are but bungled copies of it.” E.M. Forster

“Your perception of the world around you is not necessarily the same as what is actually occurring.” Peter Ralston

“The truth is helpless when up against perception.” Zack W. Van

“There is only one cause of unhappiness: the false beliefs you have in your head, beliefs so widespread, so commonly held, that it never occurs to you to question them.” Anthony de Mello

“Studies have shown that 90% of error in thinking is due to error in perception. If you can change your perception, you can change your emotion and this can lead to new ideas.” Edward de Bono

“There is no truth. There is only perception.” Gustave Flaubert

“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.” Khalil Gibran

“Thoughts don’t become things; thoughts ARE things.” Eric Micha’el Leventhal

“Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.” Alan Watts

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“The mice think they are right, but my cat eats them anyways. This is the point, reality is nothing, perception is everything.” Terry Goodkind

“There is nothing more real than what cannot be seen and there is nothing more certain than what cannot be heard.” Confucious

“Every beauty which is seen here by persons of perception resembles more than anything else that celestial source from which we all are come.” Michelangelo

“Perception and reality are two different things.” Tom Cruise

“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” Edgar Allan Poe

“There is no fixed physical reality, no single perception of the world, just numerous ways of interpreting world views as dictated by one’s nervous system and the specific environment of our planetary existence.” Deepak Chopra

“Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding, find out what you already know, and you’ll see the way to fly.” Richard Bach

“It’s not strength, it’s PERCEPTION that makes you stronger. If you change how you SEE it, you’ll change how you FEEL about it.” Yvonne Pierre

“The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something and what it saw in a plain way. To see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion–all in one.” John Ruskin

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust

“The thing itself is one; the images are many. What leads to a perceptive understanding of the thing is not the focus on one image, but the viewing of many images together.” Rudolf Steiner

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” Frances Hodgson Burnett

“There are children playing in the streets who could solve some of my top problems in physics, because they have modes of sensory perception that I lost long ago.” J. Robert Oppenheimer


If ever we imagine that we might clearly see or know something, these quotes give us reason to pause and reconsider. They are great for helping us remember that our point of view is unique to each of us.

We create our own reality every moment, with everything we perceive. We hope you will keep these 70 convincing quotes about perception close by, to remind you that “all of everything is a point of view.”

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