For a few days a couple weeks ago, I saw blue and green everywhere. And nearly every time I saw it, I took a picture. I realize this may seem strange—and maybe futile and silly. Maybe so, but the result was worth the oddities.
You see, the picture snapping was more than a whim: it was a birthday decoration project for a workmate’s office. Given the general culture of our office, such behavior is not so unusual What is worth noting is the outcome in my own perception. Once I began looking for blue and green, the colors were everywhere. On one morning walk, I snapped nearly 50 pictures.
Given this small window into the workings of perception, I begin to wonder:
- How much of what I perceive is determined by what I’m looking for?
- What have I missed because I’m not looking for it?
- How much filtering happens at a subconscious level, well beyond my direct control?
Funny thing is, this really is not news; I have known of such filters for decades. My knowledge had slipped behind some unknown filter, now transformed by birthday decor and weekday writing. I was not intending to remember how my own mind determines what I perceive, yet I put into play the very things that caused me to remember.
Where a direct approach would have been futile, the indirect approach has transformed.