Science of perception. Link with hermeneutics (philosophy of interpretation)? To be continued…

sunkyung oh

Velmans, Max (1990). “CONSCIOUSNESS, BRAIN AND THE PHYSICAL WORLD” Philosophical Psychology 3,(1), 1990, 77-99.

Figure 2. A Dualist model of the causal sequence in visual perception. Light rays from a cat (as-perceived by an Experimenter) impinge on the Subject’s eye. Impulses travelling up the optic nerve produce a neural representation of the cat within S’s central nervous system. CNS activity, in turn, has a causal influence on S’s mind, resulting in a percept of a cat. It is central to this model that the percept (of a cat) in the mind of S is quite separate both from the neural representation (of a cat) in S’s brain and the cat (as-perceived by E) out-there in the world.

Figure 3. A Reductionist model of the causal sequence in visual perception. Light rays from a cat (as-perceived by an Experimenter) impinge on the subjects eye. Impulses travelling up the optic nerve…

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Of Dead Birds, Fowl, Perception and Interpretation

The ghostly impressions left on glass when birds crash into windows - Telegraph. The root of all superstition is that men observe when a thing hits, but not when it misses. Francis Bacon.

A month ago, I got acquainted for the first time with a peculiar phenomenon: bird-window collision.

I was working in the lounge bathed by the natural sunlight coming through its very large window. I’ve never opened the electric blind so fully before and lo and behold I see; live, a bird crashing against my window with a terrible thump. Continue reading

Learner-Centered Mentoring as an Antidote to the Guru Trap

As a coach/mentor and lifelong learner, I feel the need to keep current on what’s out there in the world of self-help and coaching, both for personal renewal and community building. So it happened that I attended another lecture last week, in my region. It is not important to know all the particulars of this event, except that it was all women entrepreneurs or would-be ones. The lecture was geared at promoting a new course on self-development with success/ happiness as one of the main tenets.  It promised to be very rich, as the women attending, introducing themselves, shared their expectations for the present lecture. However as the lecture proceeded, it would have been the usual cant for me, about the pursuit of happiness and success*, if a 30 something year old woman wouldn’t have been there. Let’s call her E., of course not her real name.

* two (coaching) themes strongly related and interchangeable maybe due to the Latin etymology of ‘success’. For example, in Italian:

succedere happen, occur, succeed, follow, befall, follow one another

http://translate.google.com/#en/it/happen

Happiness Drawing Exercise

This post is dedicated to E. and all the special women like her, I did not seize the opportunity to encourage on their rightful path. But, through this post, the opportunity is not lost: a consolation.

We were some 30 women, +/-, attending this lecture on personal growth and empowerment. E. arrived some 20 minutes late, at her young entrepreneur friend’s invite who was in the know of her plight. E. came all the way from a faraway town to listen to this lecture and eventually sign up for the course it promoted. She seemed very expectant of this class. For our first practical exercise, we were asked to draw with color crayons how each of us viewed our journey in the direction of happiness, how we imagined we’d get there; with the lecturer emphasizing that there were no correct answers: “it’s not an exam”. So far so good. However, when it was time to get feedback from the lecturer on our “masterpieces”, we were all made wrong. No flowers, no spirals, no joyful faces or splashes of colors, no meandering paths, no labyrinths, please. The right answer, dixit the lecturer, was the drawing bellow (without the guy, at the blackboard, with the weird look).

Is the shortest route to happiness the straight one?

shortest route_happiness.jpeg

We were supposed to have a eureka (happy heuristics) moment from this picture: but of course! It’s the straight line that we should have drawn. ‘Why none of you has drawn a straight line?’, rhetorically asked the happiness expert.  E. dared to share her present process, by asking if happiness wasn’t somewhat one result of asking herself what to do with her life and learn what she was meant to become.  E., who made herself vulnerable by sharing her own experience through asking a question, was met with a straight, categorical ‘no’ to her legitimate question, by the happiness high priestess, followed by a sneaky “don’t even think about it”.  The ‘expert’ had to have the last word: we all pursue happiness and we have to learn the rules to get there. Now, E., this young woman who seemed quite confused about her life, the non-expert, was echoing some aspect of one famous quote by Victor Frankl and the know-it-all coach would not acknowledge that !:

Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it”

Beyond the labyrinth  Continue reading

Icarus versus Goldilocks

Simplicity versus dumbing down

Goldilocks_IcarusEveryone in the Western world knows the story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”, with the 3 memorable porridge bowls: not too hot, not too cold but at the just right temperature. These last few years, in the world of self-development and business/marketing, you may have encountered her tale as a metaphor for making the just right choice, finding the just right solution, client, career, level of productivity, preferences, even life-purpose and whatnot. Continue reading

A Plea to Wingmakers and Wingbreakers Too

bugzapper

Icarus, you fool

Didn’t your father, the wingmaker

The Da Vinci of his day, tell you:

Not too high, not too low,

But in the middle go

 

And you, Daedalus, Perdrix wingbreaker

Dynamite, enlighten me,

What knowest thou of the golden mean?

Thy mighty path was not the right direction

Didn’t you know your son’s fatal attraction

To light

 

Daedalus, did you know

The new invention you heralded:

The bug zapper?

For no Daedaluses of brainchild ever tire

Icaruses, in rapturous atonement now retire

The prankster

 

Leave my father alone, you know-it-all

I am no partridge

My extra-ordinary flight was never fall

I seek the sun behind the sun

I am no moth to a flame

The hidden light is my delight

My compass is the Absolute

Not the sun, not even moonlight

I never drowned

I coalesced

 

Fathers of greatness and mothers too

This I beseech of you,

Give your sons and daughters

You illuminated lunatics

A break

 
Happy Heuristics

Look Before you Leap, Leap and Above All Choose Life.

stock-photo-handwriting-blackboard-writings-look-before-you-leap-99119582‘Look Before You Leap’ heuristics

If  we use the metaphor of the diving board for people failing to follow through on their goals, we can find on this diving board 2 types of people :

  • The Icaruses.  They take the leap without looking first.  It’s as though they can’t help themselves (See Icarus Lessons). These are few and far between.
  • The commitment phobics, more numerous and in increase as life’s possibilities increase (a paradox); who seek all the guarantees and never get to take the leap.

‘What Ifs’ and Transitions Continue reading