PRINCIPLES OF PERCEPTION

post by Jason Ken · 2019-09-17T20:20:03.439Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW · 3 comments

It is relevant that one should pay attention in the tiniest bits of the location they find themselves in. From this bit of habit, a lot of things will cease to confound the mind. How much we can predict circumstances by relying on previous data depends on how much we have programmed our minds to divide the world into tiny clues, and compose it in the right way. A lot of Sherlock Holmes readers fail to see the conclusion of the crime, even when all the facts are laid out before them. When the conclusion does come, you then make connections to the strings you’ve been provided with. Mostly with human psychology, we get the answer and then go back to connect the strings we’ve had in the very beginning. In this exercise, we are learning to condition ourselves to use the strings of incidences to theorize the ending, not use the ending to connect the incidences.

I’ve actually met a person that can always predict the ending of the movie just five minutes into the movie. And then another that claims that if he had the name of the movie, the starring actors or their faces, that he could pick up the clues and possibly predict the ending. The second claim may seem farfetched, but it is within the bounds of logical reasoning. For most people, this attribute has been so innate in them, it becomes a conditioned reflex.

Let’s say you climb a set of stairs every day for the past ten years. Have you really taken the time to know the number of stairs in the staircase? Can you identify the parts that are more worn than the others?

Okay, here’s another one. If you had a neighbor for two years, can you rightfully recall what colors the neighbor favors to wear on Tuesday or Wednesday, and the fact that he usually leaves by this time and gets back by another time? Can you guess his behavioral patterns? And let’s say he suddenly goes missing, and the police questions you and asks if there were odd manners that he was exhibiting prior to his disappearance, would you be able to recall that he always wears a brown tie on Tuesdays, and the last Tuesday you saw him, he wasn’t wearing one? That is conditioned observation.

If I were to ask you the number of trees in your street, the highest number of same colored homes in your district, or the number of people who have black cars around your area, might you be able to answer accurately, might your guess even get as close to the real figure. A scientist is an observer, a detective is an observer; observations is the best skill in law and science. It is a power that can be learned, and it requires strict discipline. You don’t only have to see, you have to observe and recall. If you’re walking along a lane with a hundred other people, and a red car zooms past, you and the hundred other people see the car, but how many actually observe it?

Being connected to the world around you, training yourself to recognize the bread crumbs, goes a long way to improve your observational skills even in the areas of science. Science simply is asking the right questions, but how can you ask the right questions, if there are no observation of the workings of the world to trigger the question.

If we take in the works of fiction, there aren’t many fictional works an average person wouldn’t be able to glimpse the ending of by reading a few pages of the book. Apart from the ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ by Douglas Adams that really jumps around with no definite direction- or sanity in any case- most other fictional works are written for the purpose of finding the bread crumbs, following the breadcrumbs, and seeing the end. A lot of people are only able to see the ending when the ending comes, and yet others can see the ending by staring at the name of the book.

Observation in science doesn’t only go as far as to only observe the quantities in an experiment, it goes a longer way than that. Nature is science, human beings are science, their behavioral patterns is science; observe everything. From observing the tiniest details, changes, and objects around you, your observational skills will keep on developing, till you’ve advanced to that level where the most imperceptible changes around you, become perceptible to you.

For an example, and to send you into the hardest egg hunt I’ve seen in science fiction, or literary fiction for that matter, I’ll point you to a newly released book ‘Cybernetics Within Us’ by Nmesoma Okechukwu. From my observational skills, I can also relate to the fact that this fictional book is named after the 1967 nonfiction work by Yelena Saparina. The nonfictional work features the in-depth study of the growing science of introducing cybernetic systems in living systems.

When reading the fictional work, I try to keep in mind the direction of the original copy bearing the same name, and try to use it to decipher the tidbits that were lain out in front of the readers of the fictional work. I must commend the author, because the conclusion I and a few others came to were destroyed by the author at the very end. And yet when you look back to the lines of the story, you find out that the tangled mess of strings actually reads to this definite point of conclusion. It may likely seem random for other people, but I am assured that the author has a bigger purpose in mind. The Book One left a mystery for the readers to solve at the very end- a sort of careless clue- and I’ve likely solved mine to the best of my knowledge. Hopefully, it might prove to be a right solution with what would be presented in Book Two of the book, if not, so much for the logic.

Reviewing the science that was presented in the book, I would say that it would most likely be termed a hard sci-fi work. But there were some elements of logic that I may well disagree with, and my strongest doubts came present at the length of time it took for the world to change, according to the book. It may have been more possible to prolong the time frame, but that is by my own reasoning.

Not many literary works offer the chance to send readers on a clue hunt. And don’t be disappointed when your conclusion is far from the whole purpose of the book, the writer is creatively deceptive. It would be a fun challenge to put your observational skills to work by checking out this ‘mind bending’ piece of literary work.

Remember, logic is not always right, because it depends on how much information the reasoner has, and the qualities or capabilities he/she has in piecing together the aimless clues, in order to present the final accurate story. To sum up every single thing this article is about in a single sentence, observe anything and everything. Make everything around you a challenge. It’s certainly one of the best cognitive exercises there is.

3 comments

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comment by June Ku · 2019-09-18T23:37:48.854Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I agree that there can be a skill involved in observation but isn’t there also a cost in attention and energy? In that case, it probably isn’t wise to try to observe anything and everything. Perhaps there are some principles for noticing when observation is likely to be worthwhile.

I also worry about generalizing too much from the example of fiction, which is often crafted to try to make nothing arbitrary. That property seems far less likely to apply to reality.

comment by Jason Ken · 2019-09-24T21:29:20.940Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Quoting the article, you could probably find out it said, ‘observe everything and anything’, whilst excluding the definitive you pointed out, ‘all the time’. I of course excluded that point for a reason, though I did not point that out. I agree with you that it would be heavily exhausting, much like advising a singer to practice singing all the time. Observe everything and anything simply means a person doesn’t have to put a limit on what he/she should observe, not the length of time they should observe it. Your second argument was presented on my suggestion that a person should test out their observational skills on fictional work. It’s just my opinion, you might prove me wrong, someone else might prove me right, it’s all about opinions. But the book I recommended was beautiful, mysterious, and the clues while clear and logical, still proved largely unpredictable. It was one of those ‘we’re all thinking forward, because we believe it has to be forward, neglecting there’s really no law standing against it being backwards’ kind of logic.

comment by Jason Ken · 2019-09-20T23:13:32.880Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Quoting the article, you could probably find out it said, ‘observe everything and anything’, whilst excluding the definitive you pointed out, ‘all the time’. I of course excluded that point for a reason, though I did not point that out. I agree with you that it would be heavily exhausting, much like advising a singer to practice singing all the time. Observe everything and anything simply means a person doesn’t have to put a limit on what he/she should observe, not the length of time they should observe it. Your second argument was presented on my suggestion that a person should test out their observational skills on fictional work. It’s just my opinion, you might prove me wrong, someone else might prove me right, it’s all about opinions. But the book I recommended was beautiful, mysterious, and the clues while clear and logical, still proved largely unpredictable. It was one of those ‘we’re all thinking forward, because we believe it has to be forward, neglecting there’s really no law standing against it being backwards’ kind of logic.