Re: Global Brain: Chapter 7 - 8 - 9 Discussion
Chapters 7 & 8 delve into perception, distortions, and reality. Bloom moves quickly from the well known unreliability of eye witnesses to describe the myriad internal processes that filter, predict, interpret, conflict, and attempt to deliver a version of what is perceived.
In chapter 8 "Reality is a shared hallucination", Bloom lists some of the ways social pressures affect perception. He mentions an experiment where a group was instructed to give false answers to such questions as "which two lines are the same length"? Uninformed dupes in the group went along with the incorrect concensus 75% of the time. Some of them actually perceived the lines incorrectly, others saw them correctly, but assumed it was a trick and the group was right, and others simply lacked the nerve to give an alternate opinion. "Conformity enforcers had tyrannized everything from visual processing to honest speech, revealing some of the mechanisms which wrap and seal a crowd into a false belief".
Bloom describes how even vocabulary affects perception, mentioning how professionally trained ornithologist Jared Diamond (yay!) could not identify birds as well as the natives of New Guinea because their names for the birds were based on the experience of many generations of hunters, not formal taxonomy. (pgs 78 - 79)
The discussion of Galen, the ancient founder of modern medicine is a famous one - I've seen it in other books. Scientists for over a thousand years misinterpreted what they were dissecting because it conflicted with Galen's teachings. It is comforting to know that modern scientists are doing nothing of the sort.
Bloom leaves you with the impression that "reality is a fabrication slapped together by a bumbling inner team" heavily influenced by ancient and modern social distortions. Not very encouraging, AY? ... Edited by: LanDroid at: 2/10/03 9:44:15 pm