Archive for February 15th, 2012

February 15, 2012

“There are no facts, only interpretations.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

Recently rereading Seven Habits of Highly Effective People I was struck by how well Steven R. Covey articulates the omnipresent role perspective plays in our lives. (Part I, Inside Out)

In one second we have thousands of sensory nerves sending information to our brain.  Consider the number of cells that are working together to read this text: to differentiate letter from background, distinguish a word, interpret a sentence.

Throughout development each experience forms greater context around this sensory input, attributing a significance to each chemical exchange.  As your reading this post, your past experiences are determining whether this post is interesting, useful, or should go “in one ear and out the other”.  While sensory information doesn’t actually flow out an ear, the significance we attribute to the input determines the neural pathways the information takes in our brain. Does it lead to long term storage, trauma, loop only through the spinal cord without ever hitting the brain, etc.

Our highly-functional brain creates a pathway for what is deemed important enough to enter our conscious mind.  Just as a map is only one interpretation of important landmarks and terrain based on actual geography (fact), our conscious mind is only a partial representation of all that we experience.  This is the context for how we see the world.  We source every behavior and interaction in this projection.  As Covey puts it, this is our paradigm.

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey