Sunday, November 26, 2017


There are two aspects to consciousness: cognition and perceptual framing. We know an enormous amount about cognition, but few of us spend even a moment considering framing. It is assumed that external factors frame our perspective for us; that it's not under our own volition.

We'd freely acknowledge that a given city block is experienced through completely different eyes, depending on, for example, whether we've just been kissed by a new loved one or been ditched by a previous one. But we assume we must wait for external circumstances to provoke emotions for perceptual shift to occur. There is no reason for this assumption. All frames are available in any moment. We just get lazy, and forget that we can actively choose.

We're wrong about cognition, the other direction. We assume that we own our thought stream, though we obviously do not (just try to not think about the thing you're currently worried about).

Framing is chosen, not imposed (you can't make me angry, only I can make myself angry), while cognition is imposed, not chosen. Our confusion about the operation of our own minds is a profound problem.

Leave a person in a quiet room, and he might meditate and one day leave in a state of vast peace. Put some bars on the window and the same person might decay into a debilitated wreck.

This post builds considerably on the above distinction. And here are all postings on perceptual framing (I'd suggest reading from the bottom up). This one is particularly useful, and this one starts a series that goes deep.

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