In Sean Hall’s This Means This, This Means That, Chapter 3 challenges us with multiple conceptual structures. A concept can be defined as an abstraction or generalization from experience of other existing concepts. Hall states that concepts are the basic building blocks in human thinking, and they are highly flexible. The following one stuck out to me:
I, along with everybody else I’m sure, had no problem reading this. In fact, I’m sure we all read it without even thinking twice.
Here is another example to try:
I cnduo’t bvleiee taht I culod aulaclty uesdtannrd waht I was rdnaieg. Unisg the icndeblire pweor of the hmuan mnid, aocdcrnig to rseecrah at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mttaer in waht oderr the lterets in a wrod are, the olny irpoamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rhgit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whoutit a pboerlm. Tihs is bucseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey ltteer by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Aaznmig, huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghhuot slelinpg was ipmorantt! See if yuor fdreins can raed this too. (found on: http://www.ecenglish.com/learnenglish/lessons/can-you-read)
Hall explains this particular structure in relation to how our eyes and minds view images. He asks us – If we tend to see the whole word before we see its parts when we read, then what happens when we look at an image? He uses Picasso’s portraits as an example. Picasso is well known for taking an image and mixing it up, making it look like something other than it should be. This is a visual of the example that Hall uses in Chapter 3. Because we see the different parts of a face, our mind automatically recognizes that it’s a person. However, this could sometimes be considered a flaw in the human mind.
(picture found on: http://mhsartgallerymac.wikispaces.com/Picasso)
Hall is trying to get us to realize to look at all parts of a whole, whether it’s a word, image, or anything else for that matter. Also, to recognize that parts are considered wholes by themselves. Sometimes when we look at an image, we miss the true underlying meaning by looking at it as a whole rather then taking the time out to look at parts.
(Image found: http://trifini.com/mind-tricks-images.html)
Looking at this image as a whole, our mind recognizes it as the side profile of an Apache Indian. Take another glance at it. It’s actually an Eskimo walking into a cave. This is a great example of how our mind can sometimes miss the actual meaning of an image by focusing on it as whole at first.
This brings us back full circle to the jumbled word example. To be honest, I initially thought it was awesome that our minds allow us to recognize words even when they are completely discombobulated. Then, I realized it was just an example to show us how our minds tend to immediately focus on things as a whole. (Thanks, Hall.) Unfortunately, our mind can play tricks on us sometimes.