What is it about perception, attention and focus ?
If you haven’t seen the movie “Dirty Harry” with Clint Eastwood, then go watch it. Not because its Clint Eastwood at his best, not because its a fabulous movie, but because its one of those classics, and because it’s,well, Clint Eastwood. And also because it helps support my arguments in this entry.
So recently there have been a number of random ideas floating around on my head. Kind of like bits a pieces of ideas and concepts. My logical or scientific side is trying to organize these ideas into some rational or coherent path. But there is definitely a disconnect there.
The ideas/concepts are varied, one of the ideas is from the movie Inception; and it’s to do with dreaming and how we rationalize our world. Of course the movie inception was about building wonderful/perfect worlds to live in and how sometimes those worlds can come crashing down. Don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil the movie, but again, if you haven’t seen it, go watch it. Regardless if you seen the movie or not, you definitely dream. Whether you dream the same or similar dream, or if you only seem to remember your dreams in bits in pieces or if you are the type that remembers your dreams in exquisite detail or not. Your dreams are personal to you.
I know that I’ve definitely dreamt of problems that I’ve encountered at work… and how I can solve those problems. In my dream state I’m able to clearly think through the problems or situations that plagued me through the day. I have no idea on why that my brain does this. Some times when I dream, I think that I build this dream world where I can see people, places and/or events. Often times I’m confused as I wake as I try to make sense of this and struggle to figure things out. Figure out the situation, figure out what people are doing, or struggle to figure out who the people even are !!! Oh, the joy of dreams.
Other ideas that I have ruminating in my head are those of some of the shows I’ve recently seen. I have to admit, most of the TV programs I’ve been watching are Discovery or Nat Geo programs. Programs on attention and how our observation skills are pretty much all the same. I used to think that I was one of those that could multi-task. Turns out that I’m no different than the general masses. I can be easily deceived or my attention can be redirected. I found it interesting to watch a program, and even thought I was watching a TV screen with a narrow view and a limited field of focus, there were things going on in the background that I completely missed. Yes something where my field of vision is already very narrowed and yet I could easily miss something floating across the background. Ya, go figure. Before you judge, I encourage you to try these exercises/games first. Let’s see how well you do.
Programs like this make me realize that the lucidity that I think I live my life with, can be severely questioned. The ability to hone in, or focus on a specific task at hand has lead us to become very good at single things, but is turning us away from being a generalist. Is this the way evolution has intended us to evolve ? I think that in our society we are bombarded by sensory input. I think we do our best to focus on what we think is important. Everyone’s ideas of what they think are important are very personal… just like your dreams. The way you slice up your day to focus on the things that you think are important is similar to that of your opinions. They are purely yours, and yours to be justified to you and you only.
Let me ask you a question… have you ever questioned how you focus your attention, and what drives your focus ?