Sunday, December 21, 2008

Communication of Perceptions

When an individual enters into a room, or any particular "environment" for that matter, they notice certain objects (or the existence of those objects) as being more prominent than others. Certain factors affect what existence stands out to a particular person at a particular moment in time. For example, when you walk into your room in search of your keys, your perceptions are heightened to all things shiny and silver (if those happen to be the particular attributes you know your keys to have). As a result, all other existence in the room becomes what I like to term "background." The books and clothes lying on the floor are of little importance to you at that moment, so you barely notice them, if at all. However, if another individual (not in search of keys) enters into the room, they will see the room completely differently than you as their senses will be heightened to pick up on other things. What you perceive at any given moment in time is caused by a mixture of thoughts, genetics and past experience. Based on the simple idea discussed above, it can be concluded that no two people ever perceive their environments in the same way, as we are constantly alert to different forms of existence. Because of this, language becomes a great barrier as suddenly the "same" sounds we use with one another no longer correlate with the same perceptions. When I speak of my room, a different vision arises in my mind than it does in yours. That vision is also affected with time even though I would still call it "my room." Even if you and I are both in my "room" we are likely seeing things differently, as different existence is standing out. We may both call it by the term "room" and that term certainly connects back to the same OBJECTIVE thing, but subjectively speaking there is no proof that it is the same thing. When we communicate, we do so at an incredibly fast rate, that there is not time to clarify every word, and even if there was, that could never be attainable. If one tried to clarify to another person who was genuinely interested in seeing the world through their eyes, what a certain environment looked like to them at any given moment that person would do so with the only way they know how- with words. You could argue, well they could paint a picture of the room, but still the perception of that painting would be different among individuals, as once again different attributes would appear more distinct to one person than to another. I have just demonstrated how an environment termed by all English-speaking people will be communicated using the same word, but could mean different things to different people. This concept can be applied to all words though, not just words of environment. This is because every word has certain attributes, but any time you hear or see a word, you are not considering all those attributes and the attributes that make up those attributes and so on... Every form of existence around us possesses billions upon billions of attributes, and each of those attributes has the possibility of being perceived by one of our five senses. At any given moment in time, however, an individual is probably only [subconsciously aware of 2-5% of all the attributes that COULD possibly be perceived (let's not even get into whether there are others there that we CAN'T perceive). This may sound like a futile concept to discuss, but I feel that it's an important one. Any time you speak, your words carry different weight and meaning depending on the individual. Humans derive meaning from words largely due to past experiences and confrontations with words and their association with those experiences. For example, a young child living in Florida who has been confronted with only a couple photos of snow and has never seen it in real life will have a very different concept of the word snow than an adult who has grown up in Michigan. The child would likely view snow as something mystical and Christmassy, whereas the adult might associate it with a more negative connotation as they recall (and quickly, mind you) the horrid times of shoveling and scraping when they hear/see "snow." Now take this concept and take this very stupid blog that I have just written and think about how differently this blog must mean to you than to me. Each and every word potentially has a different meaning/connotation to you. Even though two people might string words together in a similar fashion, they could be the expression of two very different perceptions


jiggins said...

C'mon man.. that was a great post. I loved what imagery this post brought up for me personally. Thanks for that.

Here's what I want to ask. What do you think about the nonverbal communications that we share, as Humans. For instance, is it perceivable that someone that is empathic - would be able to more easily communicate what he/she is trying to relate.. due to greater nonverbal communication? Such as a visual that is sent mentally. Is this a situation that you see as possible?

As a salesperson in my regular life and for a career currently, I often call upon images in my own mind to help 'color' or change the 'temperature' of the words I am speaking, in order to more clearly relate what it is that I am trying to say. Also, I find that the visualization process in my mind - is a perfect way to actually allow someone that I am relaying the visual to - to mentally picture an image more accurately similar to what I am actually trying to relate to them.

The very process of the visualization brings up more images that could be a point of interest to them and thus, getting the individual onto the same page as myself. Of course, as you mentioned, their own personal situations and history would fill their minds with visualizations that are what they know, but still I believe the mental communication brings the image into a clearer focus and connects to what I myself am imagining - and allowing them to see their own image, but connect it to what I am saying in a positive way, or whatever the desired effect is that I am going for. (run-on sentence:)

Do you know what I am trying to say? Similar to the nonverbal mental communication I believe that animals share with us. Intelligent animals like horses, and canines..

In any event, I enjoyed this post. thanks and See you on the next post! .. and over at con·tin·u·um

chad vita said...

As for the nonverbal communications that we share as humans I think that in some ways, to a degree is more important than verbal communications. Nonverbal communications such as body language can tell more than words can ever say. Sometimes when we combine nonverbal with verbal communication we maybe saying one thing with verbal but saying something completely different with our nonverbal. Things such as body language we don’t always know what we are saying. I like to think of it as an instinctual communication we have as humans.

As for a person that is empathic I do see it as possible for them to have greater ease to communicate what they are trying to relate.

I also believe that we do have a nonverbal mental communication, but it is still very primitive and has yet evolved. I think that its part of human evolution, and hopefully humanity will have this the future.

That Guy said...

This is a great post.. very nice observations on the flip side of thinking about what we don't always take the time to notice. I am hoping you don't mind,.. but I would like to post your blog on my page Msss Affected.. in an attempt to gain you more readers. This is the kind of blog that bloggers like to read about sometimes.. choosing to look inside and out of ourselves in order to understand. Let me know what you think! See you soon!

jiggins said...
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jiggins said...
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Charli said...

Hey there! This is really interesting stuff. (If only I were the TEENSIEST bit smarter, I might really understand it. Or maybe I just need caffeine.)

On a technical note - it would be helpful for people like me who stare at computers so often that they start to go blind if you put spaces in your text, like between the paragraphs.

(As I have done here, for example.) It makes reading hard (and interesting) stuff like this easier to read and consequently understand!


jiggins said...

Sorry about deletions.. bad code in tehre..

Please come on over and check out my new blog endeavor -
humanus augmentis It is a new blog for tech-gadget fans and the like... and as always.. see you back over at
con·tin·u·um. Thanks for following :)

Fixinto said...

I like what Jiggins had to say about your post... and I dig your post.. paragraphs or not! ( I get what she means though)

Linda S. Socha said...

Love what you had to say and how you said it...I do agree with my blogger friend Charli about more spaces in the text...short attention span here on occassion:>)
I do get what Jiggins is saying and I support his point of view with respect to nonverval ...and focused communication

Love your ideas. I would like to invite you over to Psyche Connections for a visit. I think we may some things in common. Lets consider exchanging following links if that works for you? Thanks for a great post...