a photo of someone’s reflection on a mirror shard

The Distorted Looking Glass

Photo by Lamar Belina

The Abba Traditions book on the Theory of Everything posits that people have different perceptions of reality depending on how they see the world. In line with this theory, people may also perceive themselves a little differently than how others do.

Back in 2015, a photograph made its way around the world, astonishing people. “The Dress” photo divided people into seeing a gold-white dress or a blue-black one on a single photograph of a dress. A simple trick of lighting and exposure became grounds for people to question how they perceive and understand reality.

To this day, not many can fully explain how the phenomenon occurred, and the recent physics Nobel prize winners may exacerbate this confusion among people.

The research to explain the complex world of quantum mechanics laid the groundwork to conclude that the universe may not be “locally real.” In this sense, local means worldly objects are influenced by their surroundings, and this so-called influence can’t travel any faster than light.

Additionally, “real” signifies that things have definite properties regardless of people’s observations. For instance, the moon still exists even without anybody looking at it.

People’s Perception of Themselves

This means that objects might not have definite properties outside people’s observation. People might ask how they genuinely perceive themselves and their lives.

In The Abba Tradition’s book on the Theory of Everything, it’s posed that people must consider the physical, psychological, spiritual, and transcendent growth to encompass what life is.

This theory emphasizes seeing the whole and the parts to see who one is. It offers a new way of seeing the reality of who people are and the reality that lies in the worlds they live, hinting that people’s perceptions are different than each other. Hence, how one sees himself may differ from how another sees him. There’s no surefire way of telling whose perception is correct because there’s no “locally real” reality, including how one sees himself.

How One Perceives Himself Differently Than Others

In psychology, this theory is commonly called the “Looking-Glass Self.” This describes the process where individuals base their perception of themselves on how they believe others view them. This process, paired with people’s internalized personal biases, leads to this disparity of perception.

Imposter Syndrome

Ever experienced receiving a compliment and not believing anything the person is saying? “Are they truly describing me?” “Do they think I’m competent in that skill?” This is the typical thought process of people experiencing imposter syndrome.

This refers to the internal experience of not believing that the person is as competent as how others see them, leading to them doubting their abilities and talents. In extreme cases, people may feel like they’re a fraud and experience a subtle sense of dissociation.

The disparity in perception comes from people’s lack of self-esteem, a lacking belief that they’re doing well or better than what they believe. Hence, when people describe them as doing well in certain activities, they tend to perform poorly and prove them wrong.

Unfair Comparisons

Social media’s significant involvement in people’s lives makes them feel an unfair dissatisfaction with how their lives play out. Not realizing or considering that social media users only put out their best experiences, people continue to look at these as how an “ideal life” should be.

This constant comparison causes people distress and thinks of themselves as less on many levels – a misperception of their genuine selves. Simply because they aren’t satisfied with their lives due to social media’s influence, people perceive themselves differently than how they genuinely are.

Confirmation Bias

Over time because of the different situations people have experienced, they may begin to form preconceived notions or characteristics they have associated with themselves.

In line with this preconception, they may interpret the world in a way that confirms the characteristics they have about themselves. People have intensely perceived and believed themselves to be this way. Thus, they only seek affirmations of what they’ve long believed in.

This isn’t an issue if their preconceptions are positive. Such that if they consider themselves to be intelligent or kind, then they will interpret people’s sentiments and behavior around them to be in line with these notions.

The disparity begins if they have extremely negative perceptions of themselves. In this situation, they may think that others also see them in the same light they see themselves.


Some people may want to preserve a good reputation. To do this, they may make excuses for their experiences and behaviors that maintain a positive perception and protect themselves. It’s similar to looking at the situation in a positive light. For instance, they may defend themselves when they fail a job interview or promotion and rationalize they don’t want the position. But more often than not, this rationalization is the complete opposite of what they truly want.

Crowd of people gathering near Jama Masjid Delhi.

The Greater Good: Why Religion & Society Partnership Matters

The world is a melting pot of diversity in all aspects, and one outstanding aspect is religion. Religion comes in different forms and stems from other traditions. But these should not hinder a beneficial partnership between religion and society. 

Individuals stand a lot to gain from their religion. Having a belief, a faith to believe in provides structure and direction to their lives. If this is what an individual can benefit from their religion, think of what this can do to a whole society. 

Michael Hattwick’s The ABBA Tradition explores the spiritual and mystical traditions of western religions and modern cultures. It points out the significance of identifying spiritual realities and recognizing the meaning and importance of God’s word and its impact on a person’s true nature. 

Society is made up of men. Once religion steps in, a domino effect begins that spreads among all corners of the community, and not one person is spared from its influence. Love it or hate it, religion has a tremendous impact on a society’s social stability. 

How Religion Affects Society

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact day when religion began in civilization, but most historians believe that religious movements started coexisting when writing was invented around 3200 BC. The act of writing became an outlet for recording beliefs, superstitions, and spirituality which spun religious movements.

From then on, it became a matter of whose and what religion was the biggest and the most dominant. 

Conquerors and colonizers alike occupy lands under the guise of spreading the faith. In the Western world, there was a time when Christianity became the dominating religion. The Asian continent saw the rise of Buddhism and Islam. And from the most prominent religions such as Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism came offshoots of other forms of religions such as Protestants, Buddhism, Sunnism, etc. 

Religion’s powerful impact on society cannot be downplayed. Or rather, faith’s influence on society cannot be underestimated. One person’s strong belief can move mountains, topple leaders from their position, and even can hold sway over other peoples’ beliefs. If one person can do this, think of what a collective group, such as a society, can achieve. 

Religion can change the way people think. Faith can change how people live, which can change a whole nation.

The Importance of a Religion-Society Partnership

Religion is essential to a democracy.

This is the first thing that people should understand why religion should even be incorporated into any community. Faith is more than just a simple belief; it is the foundation of all the characters, values, and principles that makes up a person. The way a democracy works is that it represents and gives way for people to freely express their beliefs, principles, thoughts, and ideas. 

But why should religion be incorporated into a society in the first place?

Contribution to the Economy

Religion has a profound impact on a country’s economy, especially when it comes to infrastructure. In the U.S., religion contributes approximately $1.2 trillion in socioeconomic value to the economy. This contribution is categorized into the following: religious congregations, religious institutions and academia, health systems, and faith-based or faith-related businesses. 

Faith-based services also cater to those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, marriage counseling, domestic violence, youth welfare, mental disabilities, homeless, senior citizens, immigrants, and fund disaster efforts.

Impact on Education

Religion is all about teaching and learning. Before formal education was even thought of and heard of, the primary educators were usually the head of the family. The instructions passed down back then were almost always linked with the family-based faith and belief. Children were first taught how to read and write religious texts, forming their principles and opinions from religious leaders.

Over the years, education has taken a significant turn. Despite the existence of non-faith-based academic institutions, religion remains a strong influence over the academe, intentionally or not. This is evident in a person’s strong principles when they argue in school papers and debates or advocacy-led programs. 

There is also the existence of faith-led academic institutions, which incidentally are also significant contributors to the economy. 

Mental Health Well-Being

One of the good things religion brings to a person or a society is that it gives people a structure, a sense of security, or something to believe in. This idea is essential if a person or a community wants to aim for a healthier state of mental health. 

Religion helps a community come together. Religious institutions usually provide an avenue where members can socially connect with others. Social engagement inspires trust and motivation, encouraging others to work and cooperate towards the goal of the community as a whole. 

As religion encourage a person to grow and become self-empowered, think of what it can do for the whole community. Ultimately, a religion’s presence in a society stimulates mindfulness and unity with the surroundings. 

For the Greater Good

Traditions are closely linked with religion. Learning is closely associated with faith. Yes, religion plays a significant role in any society. How they deal with and relate with their community’s existing diverse beliefs will determine their society’s success. In the end, both religious and non-religious, the believers and the non-believers, should and must always work together towards a common goal – a goal created for the greater good.