The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

About Perception

Our brains are incredible instruments.

I’ve been reading a lot of articles related to “thinking” during the last weeks. There is an amazing number of options to see and investigate thinking. There are many different thinking methods we are able to use to perform very different tasks. Methods like Brainstorming, Design Thinking, System Thinking, logical thinking, and others come to mind.

There are also the many different details contributing to our ability to think. They are building on one another and yet slight changes into how we use them transform the result.

Take for example Reflective awareness. It is conscious perception. We know that we are perceiving something and are conscious that the process is ongoing.

Reflection in there means thoughtful consideration. We see and consider something and are thoughtful about it. This means for example that we see an object and think enough about that object to know what it is. We go beyond the fact that there is an object.

Awareness is alert attention. When we are making ourselves aware of something we pay attention and notice differences and are open for a change in information.

Perceiving is the act to consciously grasp or mentally take hold of something while assigning meaning to it.

Whatever the person has perceived, it is reality for that person. It is the “information” or the “mental representation of that information” the person has received and is working with.

The process of perception can vary, it either can be intuitive and unsystematic or it can be reflective and logical.

When we cross a street, we might be using either of both approaches.

We can carefully look to the right and the left and search for any movement or presence on the streets. In doing so we’ll aim to take note of everything we see moving. It’s assuming that only those moving items will be dangerous for us.

We can also take a quick glance at both sides of the street as we have been taught as children. This quick look allows for a vague picture without any signal of danger.

We regularly use both approaches, none of both will be solely used.

Beyond capturing the image or the information and mentally taking hold of something, there is also the aspect of assigning meaning to it.

Here again, we have a lot of variations as we’ll assign meaning to something based on our values, beliefs, and feelings. They act as filters to ease the process of perceiving. The process communication model, for example, has clustered these values, beliefs, and feelings into six different categories. This subdivides perception into 6 different commonly used types of perception. These modes of perception are called “reaction”, “action”, “sensing”, “imagination”, “opinion” and “thinking”. These are six ways we can see people use when they perceive and give meaning to something they have become aware of and want to give meaning to.

It’s like having one of these questions to process this mental image we want to get hold on: How does it feel? What’s the information? How do I evaluate this? What can I do? Do I like it? What if?

You probably even have a preferred order of these type of questions or a different frequency of using them.

Having such filters makes it easier for us to process reality. That’s all.


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