Monday, February 28, 2011

The problem of perception

“We perceive, as a rule, what we expect to perceive. We see largely what we expect to see, and we hear largely what we expect to hear. That the unexpected may be resented is not the important thing—though most of the work on communications in business and government thinks it is. What is truly important is that the unexpected is usually not received at all. It is not seen or heard, but ignored. Or it is misunderstood, that is, mis-seen or mis-heard as the expected.

“The human mind attempts to fit impressions and stimuli into a frame of expectations. It resists vigorously any attempts to make it 'change its mind,' that is, to perceive what it does not expect to perceive or not to perceive what it expects to perceive.”— The Essential Drucker, page 263

<idle musing>
Change seems pretty hopeless, doesn't it? No wonder people get so depressed; they think everything has to remain the same because they are stuck in the rut of their own thinking. But, as Flannery O'Connor once said, “Your history doesn't have to define you.” Personally, I think Revelation 21:5 ἰδοὺ καινὰ ποιῶ πάντα—Behold, I make all things new (KJV) is a wonderful promise. The newer translations make it an ingressive: I am making all things new. Not sure I like that translation as well, though.
</idle musing>

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