Friday, April 16, 2010


In college, I was exposed to a book called Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance that had a lot of impact on me. In it, the author drives himself mad questioning the concept of "quality." What made it influential wasn't any particular idea or philosophy, but how relentlessly the author question his actions and beliefs. Just reading it and putting myself in his shoes initiated an attempt on my part to challenge the notions by which I live, no matter how innocuous or useful they seemed. I only bring it up to explain my passion for exploring the difference between perception and reality, overcoming those biases, and considering how they affect design.

For no great reason, this bit of brainfeed from TED inspired my post.


  1. That last video was really interesting, and reminds me a lot of Gestalt psychology. What I find most interesting about Gestalt is that it applies to perception and learning as a whole, and not just visual things, and the implications of it appear to be universal (ie. outside of cultural differences). It's also tied to the development of our visual cortex. I read somewhere that they found Native Americans growing up in teepees have a better angular acuity than people who grow up in rectangular houses. They also did experiments raising kittens in rooms with only vertical lines painted in and the cats grew up without the ability to perceive horizontal lines. Pretty crazy stuff.

    Also, James Randi is cool.

  2. I'll have to look that sheet up. Sounds interesting.