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>On Monday, April 8, 2002, at 02:34 , Scott Chase wrote:
>>Evolution via selection has tuned the receptors and learning
>>has tuned cognition.
>The receptors are just that. There is no 'thought' involved in
>the very perception of light via the eyes. But there is
>'thought' involved in the _focus_ of these same orbs.
>Evolution has created the receptor as well as determined the
>_usage_ of these in normal states.
>But the observations required by the creative process are
>_prior_ to, or outside of, the following preconceptions that
>thought will entwine upon the received data.
>And I am talking about a level of observation that does not
>involve thought in the conscious sense I think you're using it.
>The eureka moment is not pre-conceived, although the work
>preceding it is vast and structured.
>Every description of the creative process I've ever encountered,
>from scientists, artists, cooks, carpenters, ad infinitum, every
>one, without fail, has remarked upon this moment of clear
>reception, or _unconscious_ synthesis, and in very many cases,
>the actual words used are 'I saw this as if I were looking at it
>for the very first time.'
>And it is that 'as if it were the very first time' that I'm
I would say that observation is a form of thought. Light impulses come into
the eye and activate the rods and cones, sending electronic signals through
the brain, activating several processing centers and end up in the amigdula
where they are "identified" based on past experience and added to our map of
Past experience gives us a preconceived bias about what category to put the
signals in and past experience with language influences what we call the
whole of our observation. There is no seeing without thinking, although it
may not consist of conscious or directed thought.
Our emotions also contribute a large share of input to the experience.
Seeing beauty is a largely emotional response based on preconceived ideas
and experience. The same goes for ugly and all the other categories
governed by emotion. But it's all part of the process we call seeing and
hearing and feeling of any kind. Things smell good or bad and taste good or
bad depending on our previous experience with similar fragrances and
assaults upon our taste buds. We can't divorce these preconceptions from
our observations. They are there and they help shape what we perceive, as
does the language with which we describe them. (See Language, thought and
reality: selected writings of Benjamin Lee Worf.)
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