2007-09-05 10:35 AM


Sitting thinking about vacuum systems (low pressure, not carpet cleaning) brought me around to all the assumptions we make in science — and in our daily lives. We all delete, distort, and generalize in order to deal with the huge quantities of information bombarding us constantly.

Deletion: using a subset of the available data. No one actively processes all of the estimated 6 million bits of data we are exposed to at any given moment.

Distortion: adding or changing the raw data. The perception of an event and the meaning attributed to an event as compared against the “facts” of that event.

Generalization: applying patterns in previous data to new situations. Based on previous experience with [object] we project that in the future [object] will do [action].

Very seldom have I found that only one of the three is occurring in a situation. Typically all three are happening to differing degrees. While driving down the road we delete much of the information coming from the sky, distort our perception of other drivers’ perceived skill level, and generalize that people will drive in their lane (more or less). If you scrutinize any situation you will find occurances of all three.

However, the point isn’t to create self-conscious individuals constantly analyzing everyone’s language. The point is to develop more flexibility in behavior and reaction by increasing your awareness.

“The map is not the territory.”
The menu is not dinner.
Your subjective perception is not objective reality.

Where have you been holding yourself back by deleting, distorting, and generalizing? How quickly will you reassess the usefulness of your reactions to the deletion, distortion, and generalization?

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan No Comments »

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