Book Launch Special
Dr Long is Proud to announce the publication of Book 9 (an eBook) in the series on Risk.
Envisioning Risk, Seeing, Vision and Meaning in Risk
(280 pages, 200 Illustrations)
About the Book
This is a book about seeing: Physically, Psychologically, Teleologically, Socially, Mystically, Transcendently, Imaginatively and Unconsciously and then applying such knowledge to the tackling of risk.
What we see (and understand) is neither straight forward, simple or objective and this affects the way we perceive the world, living and risk. We see the world through our worldview, the paradigm that constructs meaning of what life means and from this we understand being, our semiosis (purpose and meaning) and our visual perception.
This book is structured in three parts:
• The Phenomenon Vision
• The Meaning of Vision and,
• The Practicality of Envisioning
Some key questions: We read and talk about visionaries and leaders with vision but what do they see and why are people inspired by them? Why do we understand something as visionary and something else as non-visionary? Why are some people able to envision (discern) the outcome of a risk and others not? Why do people see something and others not? What is the connection between insight, vision, perception, imagination, discernment, intuition, wisdom, sagacity and risk? How can we identify a lack of vision? What quashes vision? What enlivens vision? These many other questions are tackled in the writing of this book.
Surely if risk is about faith and trust in the face of uncertainty then one might want to know why some people have better vision than others; physically, intuitively, metaphysically, prophetically and poetically. These are some of the dimensions of vision that will be discussed in this book.
The choice of the word ‘envision’ for this book has special meaning, it conveys the concept of something in one’s own Mind (embodied in head, heart and gut being) and articulated to another. Envisioning is associated with the transference of vision and involves: learning, dreaming, imagining, listening, helping, visualisation, discovery, discerning and creating.
The idea of envisioning is about much more than just looking and seeing. Envisioning is about more than just physical perception and extends to an holistic way of knowing that is beyond simple cognition. Envisioning is about images in the Mind (read embodied person, not the brain), about possibilities and fore-seeing, sometimes things (socially, politically and ethically) that others don’t see. Fore-seeing is not about magic but about understanding the trajectory of things and where they will take you. Prophecy is not about predicting the future but about fore-telling the bloody obvious. For example, if the risk industry continues to bully people, be bogged down in paperwork, dehumanize people and fixate on numerics then don’t be surprised if no one wants to join in. No-one wants to join in on checklist thinking and policing metrics.
Vision is synonymous with risk, no risk – no vision. Those with vision and visionaries don’t play life ‘safe’, there is little vision in safety and compliance. If one sets one’s sights on safety and compliance as a rule of life then vision has very little chance of emerging.
Anyone who envisions presents a risk trajectory. Most often those with vision come from outside orthodoxies, they challenge stasis and are usually ostracized for it. Usually envisioning is not a popularity contest but speaks ‘truth to power’ in naming futures. This book studies a number of visionaries, all outside of the camp who made a difference to the lives of many. Envisioning is only visionary if it embraces the Faith-Hope-Love-Justice (FHLJ) dialectic.
The FHLJ dialectic is characteristic of all those who envision something better than stasis, that is: humanizes persons, develops community, builds Socialitie and diminishes Technique.
How We See Colour
The physical mechanics of seeing are remarkably complex.
Have a look at Figure to the right.
What we see is a set of squares of different shade – dark and grey.
We see a green cylinder casting a shadow on what looks like a chess board.
But now for the Comparison
Now have a look at the same image (to the right) except this time a shaded strip (A-B) is placed across the squares showing that the squares A and B are the same colour, not grey and white as they appear.
This is called the Adelson’s Illusion (https:// www.brainhq.com/brain-resources/brain-teasers/ adelsons-same-color-illusion) and demonstrates how visual perception is confused by ambigous 2D and 3D shapes and also by the way light, shade and line are portrayed.
We Don’t See Colour, We Interpret It
What we see in colour is interpreted by the cones in the fovea see Figure 3. Cones in Fovea.
Depending on the resonance of light wavelengths we interpret certain wavelengths as coloured. There is in fact no colour in the external world; it is created by neural programs and projected onto the outer world we see. It is intimately linked to the perception of form where color facilitates detecting borders of objects.
It depends on the combination of cones and the wavelength of light falling on them and, their interaction with the circuitry of the ganglion cells in the retina whether certain wave lengths are interpreted in colour.
One of the best illusion of how we can be deceived by shape, shade, line and reflection is the Kokichi Sugihara illusion seen here: https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=oWfFco7K9v8
The more one delves into the way the human eyes work, the more complex and intricate things get.
When I went to see the eye specialist in 2012 she had a number of degrees on her wall all in study in the human eye including an MD and 2 PhDs in Ophthalmology, also from Europe and USA as well as studies in Australia. How could someone do that much study in the way the human eye works? Well, I thought the best way to answer that question was to do a simple search for information about Retinal Ganglion Cells. These are the first cells in the retina that respond to stimulation/activation. So I looked up and opened the first article I could find and it was this:https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/ganglion-cell
So in this minute area at the back of the eye in a small section of the retina we have these cells that interact with other cells in a very complex way way before any data is sent to the brain or crosses over the optic chiasm and travels to this small section at the back of the brain. In this small part of the retina where the rods of the eye open up a small pit so that light can fall onto the cones, these cells are activated to create signals that transfer data through the optic nerve to the brain. The following extract from the article from Science Direct seeks to explain how these cells work as demonstrated in the diagram above.
The purpose of this discussion is to read the text that accompanies the graphic, just to get a sample of the way the Retinal Ganglion Cells work before they interact with the cones and rods before data is sent down the optic nerve to the brain and body. By the way, only 10 percent of the neurons connected to the eye travel to the brain, the other 90% go elsewhere, confirming the embodiment of perception.
If you can make sense of the following then you are better than I. All of this is just a micro-sample of the incredible way our eyes receive and carry data. The human eye is nothing like a camera just as the human brain is nothing like a computer. When we look at what the brain-body does with this data it is again difficult to comprehend:
‘In mammals, the rods and cones differ in their connections with horizontal cells and contact different sets of bipolar cells. (a) Cone pathways: In the outer plexiform layer (OPL), cones (C) provide input to ON and OFF cone bipolar cells (BP) and horizontal cells (HC) in the inner nuclear layer (INL). In the inner plexiform layer (IPL), bipolar cells make excitatory, ribbon synapses onto ON and OFF ganglion cells (GC) (GCL, ganglion cell layer; OFL, optic fiber layer). The bipolar cells also synapse on amacrine cells (AC), which make inhibitory synapses back onto bipolar cells and forward onto amacrine cells and ganglion cells. (b) Rod pathways: Rods (R) provide input to rod bipolar cells (RBP), which synapse onto bistratified AII amacrine cells and A17 amacrine cells. A17 cells make inhibitory, feedback synapses onto rod bipolar cells. AII amacrine cells relay the rod signal to OFF ganglion cells via inhibitory synapses onto OFF cone bipolar cells and to ON ganglion cells via gap junctions with ON cone bipolar cells. Rods also make gap junctions with cones.’
The way our eyes automatically adjust is nothing like a lens on a camera and neither can it be compared to a computer directing a camera. Even the slightest amount of research on the nature of vision will dispel the application of these metaphors to human perception.
What is Perception?
Perception is about much more than physically seeing with the eyes. We can ‘see’ through many other senses in the body. We associate perception with knowing and we can know many things without using the human eye. Indeed, when we ‘feel’ something we often say ‘we know’. The following resources are a helpful place to start.
- Bronowski, J., (2013) The Visionary Eye. (publisher Unknown)
- Enns, J., (2004) The Thinking Eye, The Seeing Brain, Explorations in Visual Preception. Nortons. New York.
- Fuchs, T., (2018) Ecology of the Brain, The Phenomenology and Biology of the Embodied Mind. Oxford University Press. London.
- Hoffman, D., (1998) Visual Intelligence, How We Create What We See. Norton and Co. New York.
- McKenna, A., (no date) Third Eye, Mind Power, Intuition and Psychic Awareness. CPSIA. New York.
- Noe, A., (2009) Out of Our Heads, Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other Lessons from The Biology of Consciousness. Hill and Wang, New York.
- Pallasma, J., (2005) The Eyes of the Skin. Architecture and the Senses. Wiley and Sons. New York. (https://arts.berkeley.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Pallasmaa_The-Eyes-of-the-Skin.pdf)
- Samuels, M., (2003) Healing With The Mind’s Eye. How to use Guided Imagery and Visions to Heal Body, Mind, and Spirit. Wiley. New York.
- Snowden, R., Thompson P., and Troscianko, T., (2006) Basic Vision, an introduction to our visual perception. Oxford. London.
Human perception is embodied and not ocular-centric that is, we sense and use our emotions to know, develop meaning and being than using our eyes.
All human senses work together in an integrated way and any reductive study of one sense alone takes meaning and purpose away from another sense. Scientists believe we have more than 40 senses (https://bigthink.com/ philip-perry/think-you-have-only-5-senses-its-actually-a-lot-more-than-that).
And of course, this makes sense to those who have a broad sense of perception and vision. So when we think of vision and knowing we need to consider a much broader definition of seeing than just physical vision and even then it’s so easy to ‘trick’ the eyes. This is why in every newsletter I have an illusion of some kind to make the point – ‘Seeing is not believing’.
Has the image to this section moved for you?
One of the skills of the human is to embody instruments into action, as if the instrument has senses in it. This is how humans can make object an extension of their body like a hammer, a pencil or an excavator. Despite the fact that the object has no nerve endings or feeling, humans ‘feel’ the instrument as an extension of their hands or in the case of an excavator their whole body can ‘sense’ position with great accuracy. When we walk with the assistance of a walking cane, we feel the edge of the cane as it touches the surface of the path. We can even sense the smoothness or rough surface of the path as if the end of the cane has feeling in it.
There is much more about all of this in my new book.
Competition – Find the Cat
There is a cat in the photo above and it is easy to see but it does take time to see it. I have explained in this Newsletter and in more detail in my book why it takes time to physically see some things. Moreso, it can take a life time to ‘see’ other things, such is the nature of how we create meaning in our lives. Such is the mystery as to why people believe things that we consider nonsense and we cannot convince them otherwise. Such is the nature of Cognitive Dissonance.
The first 10 correct entries that ‘see’ the cat can email me at email@example.com and I will post you a complementary copy of the new ebook: Envisioning Risk, Seeing, Vision and Meaning in Risk
I would only ask that winners respect my copyright and the enormous effort I have put into creating this book and not to pass it on freely to others.
Anyway, there are already 5 books for free download: https://www.humandymensions.com/shop/
Contacts, Videos and Podcasts
Don’t forget you can get free videos and podcasts here:
including the highly acclaimed series Risky Conversations, The Law Social Psychology and Risk with Greg Smith both as podcast and video series: https://vimeo.com/showcase/3938199
Videos on Semiotics
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