IS A SPADE A SPADE? PERCEPTION IS REALITY: VISUAL PROCESSING, COGNITIVE BIAS and FILTERING.
Here we are operating online, in a visual realm.
The process by which we gain our perceptive analysis for decisioning is VISION. Most decisions are made this way. Seeing is believing, but there are occasions where our prejudices can shift reality to the shape of our preconceived perceptions.
This function is provided by the faculty of the frontal cortex, called the reticular activating system; which is quite good at providing us with our biases and prejudices.
The frontal cortex is deployed to 'recognise' and reference the visual objects that we see, with what we know. If something is unknown, it may be 'mentally' invisible to us, due to cognitive filters that go with the process of 'filtering out' anything that doesn't fit with a predetermined reference, or cognitive bias.
Thus when writing or presenting, we use relatable references that are already known, to invoke comparison. This assists visual perception filters to recognise and address the visual subject as 'known.'
It is because we 'filter out' so much that we see, that people can see things very differently, despite seeing the same thing.
I come across this very often among leaders, especially when it comes to being able to perceive what is actually there. There is a proven process for mitigating this called THE JOHARI WINDOW. More on that another time.
Bias happens to all of us, which is why we use people outside of our frame of reference to help us see what we are not seeing.
Here's AN example
of cognitive bias.
A thing is impartially and objectively a thing, regardless of its description. The 'context' of the usefulness of a thing, is much more subjective.
A SPADE, is a spade.
It can be used:
1. as a weapon and then to dig a grave or (harmful)
2. grow a garden and then to eat. (useful)
A PERSON, is a foreigner.
Who can be:
1. A friend, with whom to trade.
2. An enemy, who needs to be stopped.
The manner by which people choose to be harmful or useful relates very much to their ethos and pathos, their personal ideology.
Understanding a person's philosophy can help to predict what they may do or not do that is useful or harmful. We make such prejudicial decisions as part of the 'flight or fight mechanism' (amygdala) to save our business and personal life.
The challenge is that some things (and people) that/who are good for us, are difficult. We can be 'triggered' to defend against and to oppose and fight, new behaviours / situations / people that are difficult, but very good for us.
Like a gym instructor or dietician.
One thing is for sure, when the student is ready, the teacher (who has always been there) will suddenly appear.
Failure is a common trigger.
PS. Here is the etymology of this post. Etymology of wisdom: PERCEPTION - In this post, I shared a social media image that held a quote. I am going to share the process of Etymology, or the search for source references, which uncover the origins of words and phrases.
This is important, because people quite commonly share information sources as fact, that are not verified at all.
If we research the subject of perception long enough, we eventually come across a quote that is often mis-credited to essayist Anais Nin, from her work "Seduction of the Minotaur."
“We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.”
The earliest rendition of that quote actually comes from Rabbi Shemuel ben Nachmani, as quoted in the Talmudic tractate Berakhot (55b.)
Quotes evolve and shift over time e.g. A statement by R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in the name of R. Jonathan: "A man is shown in a dream only what is suggested by his own thoughts…"
1801 a sermon by the cleric Sydney Smith of the University of Oxford said, "It is, then, a matter of sovereign necessity, before we decide on great, and momentous questions, which affect our own happiness, and the peace of the world, to make a wise, and virtuous pause, and review, with an honest severity, those peculiarities of disposition, situation, and education, which may communicate an unfair bias to the mind, and induce us to decide, not as the truth of things is, but as we are ourselves."
1831 “The Atlas” newspaper of London article titled “Things As They Are” said, "Things as they are, no mortal has ever seen, though the words be familiar as household words, and perpetually on the lips of men. We cannot see things as they are, for we are compelled by a necessity of nature to see things as we are. We never can get rid of ourselves."
1876 “Nicolai’s Marriage: A Picture of Danish Family Life” by Henrik Scharling was translated from Danish to English and published in London. The author included an instance of the adage and credited the words to the famous philosopher Immanuel Kant: "To which I responded that it was necessary, in order to understand the great and noble, to have some of those qualities one’s self; but to a Philistine, the most brilliant achievement in history would appear only a paltry, commonplace event, for, I exclaimed, concluding my attack by a quotation which no antagonist could gainsay, “It is well known, as the great thinker Kant has it: we see things not as they are, but as we are.”
1890 “The Popular Science Monthly” printed an article titled “The Psychology of Prejudice” by G. T. W. Patrick which included a version of the adage. A few months later the periodical “Current Literature” reprinted an excerpt with the saying, "The results may be summed up in the form of two laws: 1. We see only so much of the world as we have apperceptive organs for seeing. 2. We see things not as they are but as we are–that is, we see the world not as it is, but as molded by the individual peculiarities of our minds."