“The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change; until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.” ― R. D. Laing
(To follow is a psychological exercise that may serve as a means to detect what we typically overlook in our thinking process. It may be helpful to slow down and pause at the end of each sentence while you read through this text.)
Envision yourself seated at your kitchen table during the night without any lights on. Allow your eyes to gradually adjust to the dark as you take in the ambience about you. Some things remain shrouded in darkness and there are other fixtures that are recognizable because of its shape. Remove a pack of matches from your shirt pocket, open the box slowly and reach in to grab a single match in your right hand. Now strike the match against the coarse material on the side of the matchbox. At first it will burst into a bright flame. Take a few extra moments for the flame to subside and enjoy the sweet smell of its scent. As you breathe, allow the aroma to linger and permeate the entire room. Next, use what’s left of the burning match to light the candle in front of you. Now close your eyes while you give the candle some time to brighten up and illuminate your surroundings. Slowly open your eyes and peruse the room. Chances are you can recognize a lot more items that were unintelligible to you some moments earlier. You are grateful for being able to perceive these things around you, but what is it exactly that enabled you to see? Clearly it was the box of matches, and the fire, not to mention your eyes? Was there anything else?
Let’s get the logic straight here. There were no matches to begin with, neither fire nor a candlestick, so how were you able to see your room? It was through your imagination, as well as your memory, that enabled you to conceive your living quarters. Yet for this scenario to take place in your mind’s eye you also need concentration, attention to detail, spatial ability and the capacity to read and comprehend my style of descriptive writing. In truth the more we inquire into the process of understanding how we actually understand, the more knowledge, perspective and skills are required to dig; therefore, possessing the insight that we could be missing something in our examination of things, may very well be the leverage by which to expand our horizons.