"Genius is in-born, may it never be still-born."

"Oysters, irritated by grains of sand, give birth to pearls. Brains, irritated by curiosity, give birth to ideas."

"Brainpower is the bridge to the future; it is what transports you from wishful thinking to willful doing."

"Unless you keep learning & growing, the status quo has no status."

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Yesterday, Dilip popped into my place to have a quick pow-wow. As usual, we covered a broad range of interesting subjects, besides trivia of the week.

During the course of conversation, Dilip brought up a fascinating point.

He was relating a TV show he saw recently, during which a magician had interviewed - live - a woman who had earlier seen an unknown man just walked past.

When asked at the beginning, she wasn't sure about specific details of the man, but when cajoled by the magician, & at the same time putting her at ease, she was able to talk about details of the cap, the jacket, the inside T-shirt, etc., which the guy had apparently worn.

What a remarkable feat?

Actually, each & every one of us has that ability. It's innate.

Whatever person, object &/or event that falls in our field of vision is always captured by our mind, consciously as well as unconsciously.

Don't forget that we also have both a focused vision as well as peripheral vision.

Focused vision generally captures what is directly in front of us, or our eyes, so to speak.

Peripheral vision often captures what is at the corner of our eyes, even for a fleeting moment. Most scientists believe that peripheral vision is the most powerful of the two.

In fact, its vision field is comparatively much broader than the focused vision

More importantly, sensory information from the environment flows into our peripheral vision unconsciously. In other words, without realising the entire experience.

When the two vision fields are synergisticaly "combined", so to speak, you can imagine our latent power of observation.

When you scan a horizon, say in a broad sweep, you are actually using both inherent vision skills.

In reality, when we look at the horizon of our immediate environment, we are not depending on our eyes alone. We also use our ears, our sense of smell, our sense of feeling about what's around us, about the ambience, etc.

All these sensory data are somehow processed, synthesised & integrated in our mind.

The end result is what I often like to call, drawing intellectual cues from Dr Karl Pribram, Professor Emeritus of Stanford University, a "holographic blueprint" of our sense impressions, which is created by the "interference patterns" of prevailing sights, sound, smells, feelings, etc.

It is pertinent for me to point out that the "holographic blueprint" is not really a tangible thing per se.

Neurologically, it's actually a resulting networking pattern of neurons & brain cells firing in harmony during the process of assimilation of incoming data.

The blueprint may generally be fuzzy, but it's there. Always. So, once we are in a resourceful state of mind, we can often recall the blueprint with ease.

We are know that kids are truly adept in using their power of observation, so much so that we often think that only kids have that acute sensory acumen.

Don't forget, we were kids before. It is just that, as adults, our logical sensor invariably often like to take primary control.

One way to practise this power of observation is to "gaze" at our environment, & try not to "stare" at one particular point or aspect.

This is also called "soft focus".

Innovation strategist Wayne Burkan calls it "splatter vision", which I had already talked about it at length in this weblog.

What can we use it for?

One area of immediate application is reading.

With "soft focus", we are able to look at a larger area of the book pages, thus giving us the ability to pinpoint the topic sentences or key ideas rather quickly, & also learn to identify text organisational patterns, signal words, as well as contextual clues to difficult words in the text.

Once we have gotten the global overview of what we have read initially, so to speak, it becomes much more easier for us to narrow down the requisite passages to read more slowly with focused attention, in order to meet our reading objectives.

[to be continued in the Next Post.]

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