flim-flam and flip-floppery

third eye, by s r schwarzAt right is a version of Rubin's vase, after its inventor / discoverer the Danish psychologist Edgar Rubin. The Vase is classified as an 'optical illusion'; it's based on / emerges from 'flip-flopping' between figure and ground. We humans are supposed to be good at pattern-matching and pattern-making, which in turn implies we're good at integrating as well as differentiating --- making wholes out of parts as well as breaking wholes into parts. And in general doing all the stuff that's beloved of Gestalt psychologists.

A 'gestaltish' perspective is one in which both trees and forest are identified and evaluated appropriately, ie within their respective contexts. Gestaltish thinking minimises the risk of category error and agency (subject/object) confusion.


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Tempest Nightingale LeTrope said...

I always enjoy optical illusions. So much fun! I've always wanted to take one of those Rorshach (I'm sure I misspelled it) ink blot tests, though I usually see pelvic bones, rats, or butterflies in the blots.
The word verification is "cling."

Shubhajit said...

"Gestaltish thinking minimises the risk of category error and agency". I believe it is true. As a materialistic point of view, perceiving the true reality of certain things measured by material substance. Another standpoint is spiritual perception, which dwells on the subtlest aspects of life; spirit is truth, spirit is all and all other things are impermanent, illusions. Here duality of this or that automatically vanishes because anything material can't be remain all along the time, and how can we say spirit is material when we can't understand it within the realm of space, time and cause. so, when we say brain is holistic, parallel, and analog, with self-organizing tendencies that means it has to governed by something, which is itself holistic, parallel, and analog with self organizing capability. Then how can be all our thoughts and brains are different? Here there is long and profound philosophy of 'Karma' comes, but let me stop here..

masterymistery said...

Tempest, you got "rorschach" right, which probably says more about you than the results of any particular test would.

Shubhajit, I think "mind"/"soul"/"person" features holistic and self-organizing qualities, as you point out.

To which I would add: "dynamic" (ie always moving, never static); "emergent" (the qualities of the whole are greater than the sum of the parts, and emerge as a result of the gestalt of the parts); and process-oriented (ie mind/spirit/soul is not a thing but a process.

Your question "how can all our thoughts be different?" is a very tough question. Are all our thoughts different? Or do they just seem that way? Or are all of our thoughts running in the mind of the Creator at all times?

Thanks both for your comments.


Brian Miller said...

i am a pattern guy...love to look at things/people/numbers finding rhythms and patterns...it helps me make predictions and assess situations...

Alice Audrey said...

No wonder I always liked the gestalt way of looking at things. I love optical illusions like this, and enjoy the process of taking things apart and putting them back together in my mind.

masterymistery said...

Brian, humans are nothing if not pattern-makers, not to mention being expert pattern-breakers as well.

Audrey, yes, the mind seems to be somehow programmed to look for order, and when it finds none, to create some.

Thanks both for stopping by.

weirsdo said...

Very informative. Dr. Weirsdo often uses the phrase "category error," and now I understand better what he is talking about.

masterymistery said...

Hi weirsdo, yes it's a slippery concept, maybe unnecessarily so. Because thinking about it right now, at this moment, for the life of me I can't see how the folk wisdom in the phrase about comparing oranges with apples is any less informative or insightful than the term "category error".

And on that complex and convoluted note, thanks for your comment. Please call again at your earliest convenience!.