Thursday, December 04, 2008


Again thanks to Steve-

"Sound suspiciously like you are saying not only is the map not the territory, the territory is not the territory, either ..."

Not at all, but this is huge.  If we needed examples we could draw them from tracking or martial arts or social contacts or anything, but this is really simple and doesn't need that.  No one sees everything.  The world is too big and each instant of time is almost infinitely complex. Even if you could process the whole range of colors, sounds and smells simultaneously, you still couldn't see behind your head or hear the noises beyond human range.

In the same place, different people look at different things.  Two very good observers can see the same event and point out entirely different suites of critical information. How they observe, their styles, are often habits and can be trained. This is good.

The territory is the territory. An obstacle is an obstacle, but whether your first inclination is to look for a way over, around, under or through is largely a matter of how you look at the territory.  

There is value in learning different ways to look because some problems are easier to solve from a different perspective than your regular one. I was a very visual learner.  That is still there, it is still a tool, but there are situations, particularly close-quarters fights where kinesthetic thinking -touch- is superior. Faster, more sure. I can tell you how to move someone to the weak side of their base and draw diagrams and demonstrate, but once you feel it as sort of a 'gravity hole' it is obvious and everywhere. 

There is a side effect/bad thing that gets thrown in here and it is something that I write about a lot.  In this post I am talking about accurate observers and tools for them.  Be very aware that some people (I think most, in certain circumstances) are not observing when they think they are. They are treating their plans and preconceptions and templates as data. They believe so strongly that X is the way things happen that they will respond as if X were happening when Y is.  This isn't limited to "you guys" or amateurs or martial artists.  Everyone brings something to the table- sometimes it is experience and some times it is knowledge separate from experience and sometimes it is folklore masquerading as knowledge.  The only defense against this is to let it go as soon as you realize you are wrong.

E.G. If you knew X was going to happen and it didn't, let go of that belief and find a way to survive. You can reconcile shit later.

Otherwise, though, experience and knowledge add to the process.  They are how you choose what needs to be looked at and how you interpret what you see. Some people work hard on being exposed to enough different things to help with interpretation.  That's great.  I've seen far fewer who practice different ways to see.  There are huge gains to be made when you learn to see things that are invisible to you now.


Kai Jones said...

The only way I've managed to do that is by becoming a different person. I still have access to my old perception style, but I don't live in it 24/7. How do you suggest putting on different eyes and seeing things differently? I think a good start would be to pretend some different body language; pick another person and model your posture after theirs, then check whether you look at the world differently.

There'd have to be a cognitive element: I've noticed talking to some men that they have no idea what women go through as we walk on the same blocks and through the same parks they do, and it's really difficult to convey just the idea that we live in different worlds, let alone give them a taste of what my world is like (and I don't think I'm an average woman as these things go). Stuff about who you get out of the way for as you walk on the sidewalk, where you look, whether it's safe to smile at people, etc.

Steve Perry said...

Yeah, what I hear is that you aren't gonna get a complete picture. (Of course, I learned that in my old hippie days during the reign of psychedelia.)

And so what I also hear is that you want to do that -- to see what is there versus what you project upon it.

Then again, if Heisenberg is right, then maybe if you project it forcefully enough, it *becomes* the default reality ...

Janet said...

I like what you said about observation and templates. This is connected to what I've been working on lately in the sense of learning to recognize where I apply a filter that skews the reality of what I see. This then can throw me into my personal, and often ineffective, loop of response. Understanding that everyone has their filters, helps to take the charge out of why the same place often looks so different to different people. In a way it seems so obvious, and yet it takes a conscious effort to understand it in the moment of experience.

Michael said...

"I can tell you how to move someone to the weak side of their base and draw diagrams and demonstrate, but once you feel it as sort of a 'gravity hole' it is obvious and everywhere."

I believe this is the same thing that I am writing about. Would you mind reading what I have written about "feeling" and leaving a comment?