It’s not what I say, it’s what you hear.
(This article is Part 3 of the Cognition Control series.)
When I was growing up, and my father would offer his advice and suggestions, he always concluded by asking me what I heard him say, not what he said. Most of the time, I heard my defiant voice actively discounting his words. However, the principle stuck with me. When I am communicating with people, I am constantly aware that I am using a unique lexicon built upon my subjective life. When I am trying to convey meaning, I draw upon a linguistic landscape, constructed from cultural associations and abstractions that we know as language.
The father of general semantics, Alfred Korzybski coined the term “A map is not the territory”. This is to say, how we perceive reality is not reality itself, but our own version of it. We individually generate a ‘map’ of reality and this becomes how we navigate our perceptions. Our maps are unique, and no two are the same. When my dad would ask what I heard, he was helping me reflect on my personal map. Learning to recognize the layout of another person’s map is the neurological path to empathy. To ‘see the world through their eyes’ is to understand and relate to others more accurately and authentically.
How we remember, what we remember, and why we remember form the most personal map of our individuality. -Christina Baldwin
Maps are created through data collected from our senses. When stimuli reaches our attention, it has gone through neurological and linguistic filters. Creating beliefs, judgments, and associations defining our map. Data, and/or stimuli, can be seen like water flowing down a mountain, creating channels along its path. We have the ability to step out of the water, to see the map, and to create aqueducts for controlling the flow. When something happens in my life, my brain processes this event. How that process is happening is based on a lifetime of imprinting, but is not confined to it. Introspection allows for dictation and direction of the process. History is doomed to repeat itself unless we can rewrite our history. Our pasts only inform the present moment, but does not control it. If we can see our maps, we can change them.
Jason Silva has a new Shot of Awe, where he talks of “hacking subjectivity”. He explains experience as the, ‘evanescent flux of sensation and perception’. He goes on to say; “if we want to hack experience, we have to hack attention. Attention will deconstruct our consciousnesses and tweak our perceptual apparatuses to engineer a kind of neural-nirvana”.
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In my writing I am acting as a mapmaker, an explorer of psychic areas . . . a cosmonaut of inner space, and I see no point in exploring areas that have already been thoroughly surveyed. -William S. Burroughs
Image Source: Aeonlux
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