Monday, January 19, 2009

Mispreceptions Lead to Misconceptions

Last night, I was thinking about how our misconceptions (generalities) lead to mispreceptions (specificities). But, this morning, as I was pondering over some reading, I also realized that our specific interactions with other, our preceptions, can lead to misconceptions, as well. This happens whenever, we try to enlarge our specific understanding about life or humankind, in general. This is where observation fails, I think.

Take, for instance, yesterday's mispreception of my son's intent in wanting to help me across the ice, my experience had trained, or taught me that whenever he approaches me like this, he has certain tendencies. Past behavior is projected to be future behavior.

A certain movie, that was popular last year, would be a good example. In that movie, a pre-teen views what she thinks is a "sexually" charged scene between two individuals she knows. They movie goes on to enlarge what is really happening, but the girl is still precieving the information through "prejuidicial eyes", which leads to further "evidence" for "truth". The initial mispreception leads to a full-blown misconception, as she only "sees" what she thinks she will see. Thus, the story has a tragic end, as her "revelations" of her observations are miscontrued and influence the opinion of others toward this couple.

I find that this happens often to those who have "vivid imaginations", a creative tendency of story-telling. But, the scientists know better than to assume anything about mere observation. There must be experiment upon experiment with control parameters, that can guide the judgements before "truth" can be verified. This is good science.

So, while our generalizations about experience can lead to specific fears or anxieties about the present or future, our observations of the present can also be miscontrued.

How do we protect ourselves from these crimes of "mind"? I think the best way is to journal, accountability partnes, and a real effort to become aware in self reflective moments. These moment of writing, sharing and meditating can inhibit us from "sins of ignorance" of ourselves and others.

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