Monday, 1 April 2013

Reality, illusions, perceptions and idealism

"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."    Albert Einstein.

What are the traps these illusions create in everyday life? My reality is different from that of the people who surround me. What scares me, is I don’t seem to be able to make a connection. We can’t find the similarities. Our differences only become more apparent. Taking into account the fact that my knowledge, my experience is different to those people around me.

Meta-cognition really interests me. Understanding how all individuals view the world differently helps me understand how the world REALLY works.

As some of you have gathered, I’ve found TED recently. What amazes me is that I only just discovered this organization. While they have been around since 1984. TED is a global set of conferences owned by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation, formed to disseminate "ideas worth spreading." There are numerous TED-conferences being held around the world, even in the Netherlands. I want to share this talk that Daniel Simons gave.

 

Illusions

We all aren’t viewing the world as it is. We all see something different! We all see only a detail of a tiny subset of the visual world. This makes our perception seem blurry. Although I know a lot of people who are convinced their reality is the same as  all the ‘others’. But our reality isn’t the same! The information we take in, gives us a false impression of what we see in every detail. You, me, perceive information differently. Remember, what we see, how we perceive this information, influences our way of communication, how we think, what we remember, how we reason. Bottom line, we aren’t seeing the same things!! But what is becoming apparent, we share the illusion that we see the world the same way. Maybe we need to acknowledge that our reality is different?

I’m constantly testing my reality and it is becoming clear my perception of reality is not shared by you. 

Perceptual organization

The Laws of Perceptual Organization are a set of principles. Each of the laws deals with how the mind is inclined to fill in missing information. Similarity deals with how similar objects are grouped together. Pragnanz is how people usually simplify reality as much as possible. Proximity is how objects that are closest to each other are usually grouped together. Continuity is the tendency of the mind to prefer smooth lines, therefore lines are usually seen as following the smoothest path. Last, closure is how objects that are impartial and grouped together are usually seen as whole.

How you experience the real world is by using your senses – visual (pictures), auditory (sounds), kinaesthetic (touch & feelings), olfactory (smell) and gustatory (taste). Our perception of reality is filtered or checked against what we already know through the processes of generalisation, distortion, and deletion. This is how I, you, create my, your personal mental model of the real world.

It is how we experience the world that gets us in trouble. I’m questioning whether I’m not in tune to what you are saying. However, I’m pretty convinced that what I’m sensing makes me very unhappy? I will never be happy with myself if I don’t solve this problem soon. I feel confused and I’m paralyzed by the situation. 

Motivation

Why does this make me unhappy, because my motivation is not the same as those who surround me! Motivation is the process that initiates, guides and maintains our behaviour. Motivation is what causes us to act. It involves the biological, emotional, social and cognitive forces that activate our behaviour. There are 3 major components to motivation: activation, persistence and intensity. Types of motivation can be classified as either extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic motivations are those that arise from outside of the individual and often involve rewards such as trophies, money, social recognition or praise. Intrinsic motivations are those that arise from within the individual, such as doing a complicated cross-word puzzle purely for the personal gratification of solving a problem.

There are two opposing ways to motivate people. Extrinsic motivations deals with motivations that are outside of your passions, and personal self-esteem. Guess what motivates me? Guess how we are conditioned as a society to act, feel and be motivated? Yes, by extrinsic motivators such as money, bonuses, high grades etc. The imbalance of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation happens at every level. Sadly, those that lead us think extrinsic motivation alone will drive performance, will increase morale, will get the absolute best out of people.

To be truthful, it doesn’t seem to work for me any more. I’m most probably not alone, as there are lots of signs all around us that a lot of people are seeking intrinsic motivators over extrinsic motivators. However, where are you? At the moment, I’m hanging out with the wrong crowd.

Which brings me to another theme to think about: ideas and thoughts (idealism) versus reality (realism). I think I’m a idealist. I pursue ideals. I’m kind of hoping you are still here. If you really want to understand me, I hope you will read on.

Idealism

I think I am a INFP Hot

As an INFP, my primary mode of living is focused internally, where I deal with things according to how I feel about them, or how they fit into my personal value system. My secondary mode is external, where I take things in primarily via my intuition.

INFPs, more than other Intuitive Feeling types, are focused on making the world a better place for people. My primary goal is to find out my meaning in life. What is my purpose? How can I best serve humanity in my life? We are idealists and perfectionists, we drive ourselves hard in our quest for achieving the goals we have identified for ourselves

INFPs are highly intuitive about people. We rely heavily on our  intuitions to guide us, and use these discoveries to constantly search for value in life. I’m on a continuous mission to find the truth and meaning underlying things. Every encounter and every piece of knowledge gained gets sifted through the INFP's value system, and is evaluated to see if it has any potential to help me define or refine my path in life. The goal at the end of the path is always the same – I’m driven to help people and make the world a better place.

I’m learning a little more about me, while writing this post! I now understand why I’m misunderstood so often and why I feel a little alone. INFP personality is pretty rare. In the U.S. only 4.3% of the population has these traits Wink . Still, this means in my work situation there are at least 4 other people like me!

Generally thoughtful and considerate, INFPs are good listeners and put people at ease. Although they may be reserved in expressing emotion, they have a very deep well of caring and are genuinely interested in understanding people. This sincerity is sensed by others, making the INFP a valued friend and confidante. An INFP can be quite warm with people he or she knows well.

INFPs do not like conflict, and go to great lengths to avoid it. If they must face it, they will always approach it from the perspective of their feelings. In conflict situations, INFPs place little importance on who is right and who is wrong. They focus on the way that the conflict makes them feel, and indeed don't really care whether or not they're right. They don't want to feel badly. This trait sometimes makes them appear irrational and illogical in conflict situations. On the other hand, INFPs make very good mediators, and are typically good at solving other people's conflicts, because they intuitively understand people's perspectives and feelings, and genuinely want to help them.

INFPs are flexible and laid-back, until one of their values is violated. In the face of their value system being threatened, INFPs can become aggressive defenders, fighting passionately for their cause. When an INFP has adopted a project or job which they're interested in, it usually becomes a "cause" for them. Although they are not detail-oriented individuals, they will cover every possible detail with determination and vigour when working for their "cause". Oh boy, this is a too accurate description of me. I’m really understanding why I react as I do.

When it comes to the mundane details of life maintenance, INFPs are typically completely unaware of such things. They might go for long periods without noticing the piles of magazines, paper scattered across the floor or table, but carefully and meticulously brush a speck of dust off of their project booklet. Embarrassed

INFPs do not like to deal with hard facts and logic. Their focus on their feelings and the Human Condition makes it difficult for them to deal with impersonal judgment. They don't understand or believe in the validity of impersonal judgment, which makes them naturally rather ineffective at using it. Most INFPs will avoid impersonal analysis, although some have developed this ability and are able to be quite logical. Under stress, it's not uncommon for INFPs to mis-use hard logic in the heat of anger, throwing out fact after (often inappropriate) fact in an emotional outburst.

INFPs have very high standards and are perfectionists. Consequently, they are usually hard on themselves, and don't give themselves enough credit. INFPs may have problems working on a project in a group, because their standards are likely to be higher than other members of the group. In group situations, they may have a "control" problem. The INFP needs to work on balancing their high ideals with the requirements of every day living. Without resolving this conflict, they will never be happy with themselves, and they may become confused and paralyzed about what to do with their lives. Well this hits home! This makes sense to me.

INFPs are usually talented writers. They may be awkward and uncomfortable with expressing themselves verbally, but have a wonderful ability to define and express what they're feeling on paper. I recognize this. INFPs also appear frequently in social service professions, such as counselling or teaching. They are at their best in situations where they're working towards the public good, and in which they don't need to use hard logic. If you have read previous posts, you recognize that I’ve strayed from my path. I’m not doing what gives me passion, what builds my personal self-esteem.

I need to change some things! Will I be one of the humanistic catalysts that the world needs?

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost. ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

Want to explore other personality types? Visit this site here

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