Monday, July 2, 2012

Take a Stab at Color

This week, let's keep thinking about perspective in such a way as to reconnect with our neuroscience past, considering the interplay of mind and physics.  Listen, please, to this Radiolab podcast.  Consider the ways you the knower are also you the seer.  What is the relationship between your two roles?  Write about this.  Also, please extract a knowledge issue from the podcast and transpose it to a moment of knowledge in your own life (not an imagined one).  Remember, this does not mean a moment in which you also investigate color: drop the content.


  1. As a knower I often like to make connections between what I see and what I know. I feel as if I should be able to know what I am seeing, and not just see blindly (oxymoron). But by see blindly I mean I should be able to see something and analyze what it is, I shouldn't just go through life not caring about my surroundings. So by seeing, and analyzing, and discovering, I am learning and therefore knowing.

    Knowledge issue: To what extent is seeing directly related to enhancement of one's belief.

    In simple terms, this question is making a reference to "seeing is believing." Let me begin by saying that I am athiest, and therefore am very firm in my belief that seeing is believing. Something that has just recently happened to me really relates to this question. Having received this internship in Germany, I was not really sure what to expect. So although I was very excited, I was so nervous that I didn't really allow for the excitement. I knew who these people claimed to be, but how could I be so sure? In this case, seeing was beliving. Before coming here, I only wanted to believe. But now my hopes were confirmed.

    -Please excuse any typos in this post, I am typing on a German computer and also have been awake since 4 am! Goodnight bloggers, hope all of your Summers are going very well thus far!

  2. I am both a knower and a seer, but not always at the same time. Sometimes I could know about something and not be able to see it, like dinosaurs. A better example of this would relate to faith, which is when someone knows/believes in something the can't see. I could also see something but not know what it is.

    Knowlegde Issue: To what extent do people share similar views on the same factor?

    In relation to color I was reading this article today about few people who can see 100 million colors instead of the normal one million colors. These people happen to only be women who have a colorblind son or father. These women have four cones in their eyes instead of the normal three cones that everyone else has.

  3. I think the role of seer and knower are complementary to each other for me, because from being a seer or knower, it is clear that I could gain vision and knowledge at the same time while experiences are relatively growing. In this case, I also consider "imagining" as seeing, because often times I picture the concept in my mind while "learning". When I see the object, it helps me learn as it is functioning and working, but in reverse, while learning a concept or a theory, it helps me understand how the mechanic works.

    KI: Why is it necessary for perspective to be efficient?

  4. This podcast brought most clearly to mind the unsettling question of how exactly our physical capabilities both shape and limit our capacity for knowledge and understanding. To what extent can our very nature be blamed for our actions, our shortcomings, our decisions, or our evaluations of the "knowledge" we do claim to possess? In this way, seeing is very much related to knowing. Knowing requires perception - without perception, one could not feel (emotion), one could not hear or read (language); one could not even prove or justify or validate one's existence, theoretically, and therefore not use reason to question one's own existence or the existence of others and their relationships. Perception is at the heart of cognition, as we rely on all our senses to provide us with reliable pictures of what we presume to be a common, objective world. However, as we discover time and time again (and most times of all on this very blog), this is not an accurate assumption.
    So, I have the questions: what is the relationship between the knower and the known? How can the knower influence the known?
    To what extent does the mind manipulate objective fact?

    To address and provide an example for the first, I would like to discuss my own experience with politics. Everything I believe on the subject is shamelessly and perhaps inevitably (at this point in my education) borrowed from my parents: these views and beliefs were simply assumed and thus taught in my household growing up. Now, everything that I 'know' about politics has a considerably broader source - all that I hear, all that I experience, all that I read factors in, as I would like to believe. However, with this backdrop (call it a cognitive handicap, a baseline, a lens - comparable in some ways to our physical limitations in observing color) I know I am not observing and adding to my thoughts objectively, nor as broadly as the range of information sources should require.
    This example also leads to the question - what is the 'known'? This is precisely the question that stumped young Isaac Newton. Does there exist unadulterated, propaganda-free, unbiased political fact? (does a rainbow have a 'true' arrangement of colors?) Alas, with these limitations, taught or inborn, we can know only that which we allow ourselves to see.

  5. This was really awesome! My family just adopted a kitten and it caused me to think about what she saw in relation to what a human or a dog would see. Though the episode didn't mention cats, it's still pretty ironic that these two things came in the same week!

    I am a very visual learner and the best way for me to learn something, so I can then know it, is for me to see it somehow- whether it be reading notes from a board, conducting an experiment, or watching a how to video. What I see visually, aids my knowledge as the visual allows for a sort of proof that tie-dyed frosting is possible, etc.

    To what extent does seeing affect knowledge?
    For me in particular, seeing something really does increase how much I know about it. Especially in biology, seeing the actual Calvin Cycle drawn out with the steps labeled is much more beneficial than just reading about it. Though in most cases, the steps are all that matters, it is easier to put picture to words when taking a test.

  6. There are almost no differences from the stuff we are told to the stuff we know. Many times, we do not actually have to see something to believe it - just know that it does. However, it is almost impossible not to make an observation of something that you see, since it is with direct contact. Knowledge is more tangible if it is with direct contact but attainable without seeing. Occurrence is not as important now as it was before. Now, we depend on evidence and books to accumulate knowledge. A blind person, for example can believe that the sky is blue because she was told it was and not because she saw it. Today, seeing is not needed to know.
    Knowledge issue: To what extent does perception accumulates knowledge?
    This relates to my life as a child and growing up. As a child, my parents never told me the full story about Santa clause. I grew up not caring or believing in him, since I never saw an old man with a beard leaving out presence for me. At the age of five, I was one of the few people in my Kindergarten class that did not believe in Santa Clause. From observation, I learned not to spoil it for the other kids since they seem so positive that he did exist, though I never and still do not understand the importance of this gift-giving man. Ironically enough, I have always believed in God, as a child and now. I have never seen him but due to my observation of the world and bizarre events, I am certain that he does exist though I have never seen him. What I know and believe did not necessarily have to come from seeing.

  7. What we know is not always what we see. But for some people (as my father), you have to be a seer before being a knower. We can take the example of believing and knowing that God exists, for many people, the reason why they might claim not "knowing" that God exists is because they have no proof or simply because they haven't seen him. This brings an interesting perspective that we can now ask ourselves "Does one always know given from what he or she sees". I guess the answer would depend with the individual themselves. But for my case, i know that believing is not always seeing, but the problem is that believing is highly influenced by the society around you. For example, I do believe in God because I grew up in a religious household, but I don't believe in Santa Clause because I was told by people that he was not real. Although I have never seen neither Santa Clause nor God, I believe in one and don't believe in the other. This now leads to my Knowledge Issue which is" To what extent does society influence knowledge?

  8. I agree with Lola’s post that you don’t always need to see something to know about it. Of course the two go hand in hand very well and have more opportunity to use whatever it is you are seeing as proof for believing. Things are always more believable if you see it. I’m not talking about if you see a guy dressed up as a zombie chasing you through a haunted house as believable- instead I mean that if I were to see the real St. Nick, I would definitely believe that I should start to be good all year. Like in faith, I cannot see God, but I believe that there is one. Because my belief in God is deep, I don’t say, “I believe [or I think] there is a God”- I say “I know there’s a God”. Just because I have not seen God does not mean that I will not speak with confirmation in my beliefs. I think that believing without seeing is some serious risk-taking that many do, and one must be ready to try to prove their beliefs to others without having evidence in hand if the person has not seen it.
    My experiences help shape my beliefs in many ways. My family is very religious, so from young, I have been very exposed to, and forced to sit through hours of religious functions of both the Hindu and Christian religion. Because I spent time listening to the Pundit or Priest preach, I started to give myself my own time to think and come up with my own belief. Because of my experiences with these two different religions, my personal beliefs are a mix of the teachings in both...

    KQ: How does experience justify belief?

  9. For me, being a knower and a seer are two roles which can potentially tell us about something. But just like Tillula, I don’t think that I am a knower and a seer at the same time. However, I do believe that a lot of the time, when you know something it’s because you have seen it before or know already. I feel like a lot about knowing is seeing, but sometimes we learn things that cannot be seen. For example, in math class at a young age when you learn that 2+2=4, as a child that means nothing to you when you see that written on the board or your paper. However, when you are given an object (let’s say sticks), the teacher can make two piles, with two sticks then explain that when you add the piles to make one, which equals four. For some people (like myself), when someone can show or prove to me that something is true, it’s easier to know that what the teacher taught is correct. This moment came from a knowledge issue which I thought while listening to the podcast. My knowledge issue was: To what extent does evidence influence the ways in which we are a knower?

  10. There are certain ways in which I the knower am also the seer. I can think of several things I know randomly right now. It can include the date of my birth, the year of my graduation, my favorite music, and so on. All of this does not require sight. But on the other hand, I spend a great deal of my life living as the seer. When I look at my mother or father, I know immediately that they are my parents. When I see the color blue, I am aware that this color is my favorite. While these are two different roles to fill, sight and knowledge have a strong relationship. Without sight one could not obtain as much knowledge. We wouldn't be able to see a math problem, or a work of art, or edit an essay. Others would argue the other way around.There is general knowledge and then there is 'knowledge.'

    KI: Is sight more important than knowledge when reaching conclusions?

    Today I went on a college visit of Connecticut College. So far I have gone on tours of about 5 other colleges and I always seem to approach them the same way. First I go to an information session then a campus tour. I want to go to a college that is both strong in appearance and in academics. When I walk around a campus I want to feel inspired and comfortable. If a campus doesn't look that great, I have a hard time paying attention to the details. Sometimes I need to realize that you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover. Connecticut College is beautiful and the mission statement sounds great. If I chose to just go to the information session I would get I completely different vibe from the school rather than going on the tour. But there is still something about it that I am not sure about yet. I don't know whether or not it is the campus feel or the school academics. Do I follow what I hear or what I see? I am not sure yet.


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