Sunday, September 30, 2012


Expectation is part of every perception and its reason for being. The
meaning of things is in what we expect to happen in conjunction with
what we’re seeing. We’ve seen it before and know what it does or what
it can be used for. When we ask “What’s wrong with this picture?”
something in the whole doesn’t match our expectations and has
triggered a state of unease that leads us to search for a cause. Our
sense of reality is an image in our head that can anticipate events in
a pattern and discern a missing element. We generally don’t recognize
what we’ve never seen before and if we do it’s often because it’s been
described so vividly that we see it in the mind’s eye. When we do
creative work we’re guided by what will best fit the pattern as we see
it. We’ve been building this inner model since the beginning of life
and the focus of our understanding is how things move. Modeling our
environment, we know where things are and what to expect from them.
Neurophilosopher, Patricia Churchland says it’s why we evolved brains
to begin with. To move around in the world requires an interior
representation. All knowledge overlays our model of the functional
relationships between ourselves and the things in the world. Where the
function is different, the meaning is different. A tree means
something different to a bird than to a dog. Constants in our models
create understanding between those who share them. Gravity, force, and
trajectory are assumptions built into the right-brain perception of
the whole picture. As we gain more experience moving around in our
environment, more templates of expectations are constructed that we
apply to similar relationships. We make mistakes and get into trouble
when we apply our expectations to those with different values and life
experience. Too much reliance on left-brain categories ignores the
more important role of movement. Any heavy object could be a weapon
regardless of its intended use. And we’d be surprised and caught off
guard because it didn’t match our expectations. We’ve lost the thread
of meaning because by focusing on identities and definitions, we’re
looking in the wrong place. Labels give the illusion of control, of
keeping things within neat borders. Boundaries are a fact of any
living thing and our expectations in relation to having a boundary
shape how we apply the concept to other areas. When our boundaries are
broken we are exposed and vulnerable. But to grow, old skin must be
shed to make room for the new. Boundaries are expanded by letting them
go. Writer Thomas West in his book “The Mind’s Eye” said the ability
to revise and change our model of reality will be one of the most
important abilities in a future where amounts of information are
growing dramatically. Understanding the implications of the new
discoveries and adapting our model of reality and expectations
accordingly will be more useful than clinging to any fixed idea of

No comments: