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The Story of "Seeing"

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Introduction

 

The hardest thing in life is to see things as they really are.

Sight itself is simple. It's one of the first experiences we have from the moment we're born into this world - and yet, seeing life and people and ourselves objectively, in truth, as these things really are, is the most elusive of tasks.

Why? Our brains get in the way.

Eyeballs have an easy job, and they perform it well. They take what's there and send that picture to the brain. It's in the processing of the image that things go awry.

Standing in the desert, we see a shimmering reflection. It's sand, heat, and light that's in front of us and dutifully reported by our eyes, but our brain, feeling the deep thirst our body communicates to it, sees... water. We see what we want it to be, and not what it really is. The image becomes an optical illusion, a mirage.

And this doesn't just happen in the desert. It happens every day of our lives, no matter where we are. Our brain mismanages the information it's given and we "see" things that aren't there. Worse, we then act on the misinformation and so it begins: turbulence in, and sometimes the unraveling of, relationships and friendships due to the unnecessary drama our poor image processing brings to our lives.

The hardest thing in life is to see things as they really are. This book will attempt to give you some corrective lenses, or at least work to make you aware of the screwed up relationship goggles that you have. We all do. You're not alone. And that actually makes it worse, because we're all seeing things that aren't there.

But if you know about it, maybe you can do something about it. Let's see, shall we?

 

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Read the whole story of "Seeing"
by Brett Rogers, 9/20/2012 11:59:31 AM
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Wiring

 

You may have heard of the infamous hole in your eye called the "blind spot." It's where the optic nerve attaches to the back of the retina, and in that particular spot, you have no rods or cones, which are the sensors that capture images to send to the brain.

In other words, you are truly blind almost in the center of your vision. In both eyes.

Yet, you don't notice the big swatch of nothing in your vision. Your brain is wired to fill in that dead space with whatever makes the most sense in the context of the rest of the image.

Humor me, if you would.

Swing your gaze, with one eye shut, around the area in which you sit, as fast as you can. High and low, up and down.

No really - go ahead and do it.

Now, there was nary a gap, was there? Not once. That is how lightning fast your brain is to fill in that space. It's quite remarkable to think about it. But please make note of one thing:

You didn't have any sense of the effort or even the loss of information. Your brain, not your eye, filled in that space so quickly and so well that you weren't conscious of it. It takes concerted effort to even discover that you have a blind spot, so well-concealed is it from our awareness.

Your brain's image processing is just that good.

This, then, is what you need to know:

You are hard-wired to fill in the gaps of your world, and most of the time, it's unnoticeable to you.

Imagine that your friend is late to have lunch with you. You're seated at the table, 15 minutes beyond the appointed time. In truth, you don't know why your friend is late. You really don't. But the historical context of your friendship informs you of the strongest possibilities, and more than likely, you will convince yourself that you damn sure know what happened. Then something amazing occurs. You respond emotionally to the "reality" you have constructed. You determine what to do next. In spite of the fact that you truly don't know, you believe you do, and you fully expect to be validated later with the explanation.

We don't deal well with not knowing, and knowing something is better than knowing nothing - even if it's a fake something that we pretend to know. It gives us a framework on which to make a decision and allows us to respond. Everyone does this. It's normal and natural, but it's also a complete fabrication.

 

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Read the whole story of "Seeing"
by Brett Rogers, 9/21/2012 11:46:29 PM
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Patterns

 

What comes next in the series?

1, 2, 3, 4, __

Did you guess 5? How quickly did you guess? Did you have any doubt about it?

Your brain is hard-wired to search out, catalog, and recognize patterns. It's what allows you to predict the world around you, and you need that capability to survive.

If someone throws a ball at you, you know pretty accurately the trajectory of the ball. You then make the choice to either catch it or step out of the way. Or you remain motionless and get hit, which informs your action the next time someone throws a ball at you. (Or maybe you like getting hit... but no one would have predicted that.)

A ball in flight must respond to gravity, which is an immutable law of physics. Your friend, however, has few, if any, immutable laws. Predicting your friend's behavior is, at best, guesswork in the context of past behavior, and at worst, utter conjecture on your part. But like it or not, you're predisposed to do it, and you'll do it almost without thinking.

When you first meet someone, you see them and immediately file through the hundreds of people you've met in life to find someone similar. How often do you hear yourself say to this stranger, "You remind of someone I used to know?" That right there is patterning. Whether you find a match for them or not is irrelevant - your search through your database is as instantaneous as it is unavoidable. Then something amazing happens. You begin to respond emotionally to them out of recognition, even though you don't really know them.

Prediction is a good thing - until it isn't. Some people put a great deal of trust into a first impression. "Oh, I sized him up right away. I had his number."

When you do this, it's important that you know it's a guess, and not fact. You might be right; and then again, you might not be right.

It is quite normal to look for the smallest of cues to create a prediction in a fleeting moment. Zodiac sign, style of clothes, a facial expression, job title, etc, etc. We anchor to that prediction we make. It's hard to let go of it, but it's important to recognize that it's only a prediction, uninformed by facts of the individual or circumstance, and when we act on a false prediction, it can trip us up.

It's critical to know when you don't truly know.

Therefore, it's critical to know when you're making a prediction. No matter how informed by previous experience you are, it's wise to acknowledge that your assertion is still a prediction based on patterns you recognize.

No wonder it's so hard to see things as they really are.

 

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Read the whole story of "Seeing"
by Brett Rogers, 9/22/2012 8:44:40 PM
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