Learning from “Vital Lies, Simple Truths” by Daniel Goleman, Part 1

  • Ulric Neisser “There is always more to see than anyone sees, and more to know than anyone knows. Why don’t we see it, why don’t we bother to know it?”
  • We filter experience so we we see only what we need to see, know only what we need to know.
  • Do we really see what we look at? … we don’t, we see what we look for.

 

The Invisible Gorilla 

  • Schemas guide the mind’s eye in deciding what to perceive and what to ignore.
  • When emotions stir schemas, they lend a special potency. Emotions and thoughts are part and parcel of the same process.
  • Schemas determine which focus attention seeks, and hence what will enter awareness. When driven by emotions like anxiety, schemas impose themselves with special force.
  • Schemas are the lions at the gate of awareness – they determine not only what enters but what does not.
  • Information which never reaches awareness nevertheless has a strong influenceon how we perceive and act.
  • The mind is aware of the meaning of an event before the event and its significance enter awareness.
  • Schemas can guide awareness while remaining out of awareness. We observe only their effects, not their identity.
  • PERCEPTION NEED NOT BE CONSCIOUS
  • The most crucial act of perception is in making the decision as to what will and will not enter awareness. This filtering is carried out before anything reaches awareness; the decision itself is made outside awareness.
  • The later volitional decision of what to attend to has, as a consequence a limited range. Will is free only within limits: the array presented to awareness, from which we can choose to note one thing ot the other, is preselected. Attention can range freely, but within a delimited domain.
  • WE NEVER CAN KNOW WHAT INFORMATION OUR SCHEMAS HAVE FILTERED OUT, BECAUSE WE CANNOT ATTEND TO THE OPERATION OF THE FILTER THAT MAKES THE SELECTION
  • AN INTELLIGENCE scans, filters, and selects information; schemas embody that intelligence. The whole operation goes on out of awareness.