Jeremy,I realize that you mean perception in an uplifting, positive context. But as one who is so often focused on politics, the word perception for me highlights all that is bad about politics — bumpersticker generated perceptions. Demagogues are masters at generating false perceptions. And as they say, in politics perception is, alas, everything.
It is folks with perceptions that lack intellectual depth who keep giving us year after year that joke we call Congress. Moreover, the human ego loves to wallow in the sorts of perceptions it desires rather in perceptions that are real and or good.