SC_004I’ve been watching a TV show called perception, which in many ways is just another in the long line of buddy cop shows that have come along in the past three years. You’ve no doubt seen at least one odd pairing of police, FBI or CSI and their helpful, off the books consultant.  Although Monk and Castle and The Mentalist may be among the most famous, both cable and network TV have been pairing odd experts with law officials to solve crimes for years.

Having both expert and novice work together in TV land gives them a reason to have to explain the stuff we might not understand otherwise.

On Bravo’s Perception, the expert helping the FBI is an Ivy League professor of psychology, but also a schizophrenic, and the delusions and voices he hears, usually help him solve the case. It’s an odd three way dynamic with an imaginary muse.

In this series, there is almost always an opening scene or two where the good doctor is in class teaching a lesson, coincidentally similar to the case he’s consulting on, or about to be.

The premise reminds me of how the sitcom Seinfeld originally opened and ended with Jerry doing his stand up routine at the top of the show and an extra punchline at the end, which were supposed to indicate to us, the answer to that age-old question every comic writer gets; “where do you get your material?”

I enjoy these sequences on Perception because it’s a field I’m fascinated with; the brain. His mini classroom lessons are actually educational. In today’s lecture, he begins by asking a student; “What have you done with your hair?”. He continues; ” It doesn’t matter how your day is going, often all it takes is one off hand comment to ruin it.”

This is so true, and one of the qualities I’m working on in my life.  Joy can be crushed so easily by another, with simple words, often not even intentionally. A question can begin a doubt loop that breaks your confidence and exposes it as a lie. I have this problem, and I also have been known to ask the kinds of questions that cause this grief in others.

Of course, it is almost always just in our head, and reframing can dissolve the negative thoughts. It just takes practice.

The next phrase he utters is what made me pause the TV and blog. “That’s because our brains are hard wired to remember the negative interactions better than the positive…”

Can this be true? I had to un-pause, and re-play the scene just a bit more to learn. The rest of the clip got more technical as he talks about unhappiness being a choice. This hits home with me, and my own personal writings and theories have been saying this.  I didn’t realize it was chemically and instinctively an uphill battle. I just though it was me.

In some ways, having physiology to blame means it’s not my fault.

Thank you Perception. Your scene may have changed my life.

Jeff Goebel
Mental Icarus