Re: [Fwd: BOOKS: Prometheus Rising (perception retraining)]

Keith Elis (
Sun, 02 Nov 1997 00:44:36 -0500

Arkuat saith:

> My experience has been (and I hope I don't offend anyone
> by saying this) that scientist-types tend to be more suspicious of
> expectation and its potential to foil perception (e.g., interpretation
> of the implications of an empirical experiment), whereas humanist-types
> tend to be more permissive of developing new expectations and
> allowing them to guide one's perceptions (e.g., a reinterpretation
> of an important work of literature).

Those of you familiar with the _Principia Discordia_ will remember this

> The Law of Fives states simply that: ALL THINGS HAPPEN
> The Law of Fives is never wrong.
> In the Erisian Archives is an old memo from Omar to Mal-2: "I find
> the Law of Fives to be more and more manifest the harder I look."

I've got a sneaky suspicion that "expectation enables perception" is
exactly what the above snippet is trying to suggest. Orr's Law: what the
Thinker thinks, the Prover proves. Interesting, especially in light of the
"proofs" for much of the pseudo-science rampant on the net. One of the
exercises at the end of Chapter One of Prometheus Rising is to visualize
finding a quarter on the road. Then go walking, still visualizing, and see
how long it takes you to find one. Now when you do, is it the power of your
mind that made the quarter show up, or was it there all along? The point of
the exercise is not the answer you give, but the act of defending both

I would hazard that most on this list would find it easy to defend the
position that the quarter was always there and you just happened to be
looking at the right time. What is not so easy for the critical rationalist
is a defense of the "mind power" position. Yet, there are people who defend
such positions everyday, positions which to many of us would seem
completely untenable based upon logic and Occam's razor.

I'm extremely interested in what the universe looks like to such people --
and for that matter, to any other person who differs from me in a
significant way. For one, I'll throw in with Nicholas Bostrom's view of a
need for polymaths in the mainstream public sphere
( and add to it the suggestion that
not only must the relevant philosopher of today be broadly educated across
disciplines, but also must be able to think creatively across perceptual
frameworks. A scientist's view of a particular trend is often quite
different than the politician (third circuit thinking versus second circuit
thinking). There is no way (yet) to determine with absolute certainty whose
perceptions are closer to objective reality and accordingly more accurate,
so a polymath with the ability to perceive what *BOTH* people perceive is
that much closer to an accurate statement about the trend.

Again, I don't know if this is possible, and I want to try a few of the
exercises in PR to see where they take me. If anyone is interested in doing
the same, I'd be psyched to discuss privately.

> One of the things I like about the phrase "expectation foils
> perception" is that having this expectation about things for a
> while eventually enables one to see that expectation also enables
> perception. And after rounding this particular epistemological
> loop enough times, some find it easier to deploy their filters
> deliberately, rather than themselves being deployed by their
> built-in filter-reflexes.

Right. I like the way you put that. I envision an arsenal of perceptual
filters deployable and retractable in any combination. Sort of like holding
control variables constant while you reassess the data. With so many
configurable filters, a data set represents orders of magnitude more
information than it originally would have with a single viewpoint evolved
through a long process of experiential imprints. "No, can't make it to the
meeting, I was planning on watching Schindler's List from the viewpoint of
a Nazi Stormtrooper this afternoon ..."