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Newsletter - July 2007

Let's play:
What's my Paradigm?
What's your blindspot? Ha! That's where you fell into my constructed paradox of a cognitive trap quite neatly. Pardon me while I snap the lid shut.

Theoretically anyway, if you knew what it was, then you wouldn't have that blindspot any longer. How does a blindspot manifest itself? Well, most of the time you just don't know - by its very nature. However, once in a while you get caught up in a blast of effects that doesn't quite fit your current world view or paradigm, the latter being a raft of beliefs that you hold in order to make sense of the world.

As you struggle to lever against my cognitive trap, maybe you can begin to catch evidences of the blast of effects and perhaps realise that the current world view does not describe the current conditions quite rightly; there's no exact fit. A bit like the circumference of a circle is not D x 3 but D x 3.141592654...

Perhaps you start thinking about each blast effect in isolation and you begin to realise there is a hidden cause or factor amidst the white noise of everyday life. My lid snaps back and you are free. Drat and double drat! I might say.

Bingo! an insight into your experience and the world suddenly turned left instead of right. You see a new way of looking at the world with an extra factor. Wonderful. So you tell everyone about your insight and what do they say?

Well, lets put it this way; Nobody loves a smartarse as Thomas Kuhn elegantly didn't put it when he described the upsetting nature of a paradigm disappearing down the tubes, along with academics that steadfastly upheld it whilst refusing to countenance any new theory that upsets their own egocentric vested interests - usually their reputation and a nice little chair in University College, Lumbago. But I digress.

Sometimes a whole culture can have a blindspot.


How would you like to explore that for yourself? Now?

One of the areas of exploration for NLPers is a subject called Sub-modalities. That is, a study of individual segments of our sensory experience. Let's look at vision. (did you see what I did just there!)

Chunking down to colour, most people would describe the rainbow in terms of the spectrum thus:

Red - Orange - Yellow - Green - Blue - Indigo - Violet

This was Newton's (and the world's) first scientific experiment about splitting light. He chose seven colours for he thought they may fit a hidden 'scale' as in music.

Let's stay with the basic 'lumpy' colours because as we know, there are actually many shades inbetween.

So: Are these the right colours? Most people ascribe to the three primary colours of Red, Green and Blue; these are the responses of the three different sets of cones within the eye, each with their individual response to wavelength known as focal colours.

There is a degree of overlap of cone response that fills in the gaps between:-

Orange, Yellow, Indigo and Violet?

Erm, not quite. Now can you see where we are going here?

But first, consider just in this moment, that for years, that is how people represented the gaps - particularly in our culture.

Now, lets move on; The next classic experiment is to overlap the three primary colours so we get the three secondary colours. Secondary? Yes, Secondary.

So we combine red and green light to get... yellow. Yup, really.

Combine red and blue to get... magenta.. Huh? That's right.

Combine green and blue to get... greeny blue??? Whaat!

You see? THAT's the blind spot! That is the colour that our culture has difficulty describing - a beautiful, almost pearlescent intense bright colour that is known as... Cyan.

Actually this colour is everywhere. As a secondary colour, it is used a great deal in colour printing because its easier to print one colour than several. Take a Cadbury's Quality Street tin. It is coloured Blue AND a shade of Cyan and not just a lighter shade of blue. The top of a Head and Shoulders bottle; what is the colour? Blue or Cyan? How can you be sure? That's the blindness kicking in - the confusion of differentiation.

When the BBC television programme Dr. Who was relaunched for a new TV generation, what better colour to light the Tardis to represent an unearthly owner and its technological origin?

The next time you shop, compare the colour between a Tub of Benecol and Philadelphia Cheese.

OK so here is a sample in case you can't wait.


Or look at the way it sits within the colour spectrum without any descriptive bias:



It may be initially difficult to locate because Cyan is not a 'focal' colour (Red, Green or Blue). See Berlin & Kay (1969). Some other cultures have actually less names for specific colours; The Dani in Papua New Guinea have as little as two; Mili and Mola.

Therefore the next (and mercifully the last) question to be asked is:

If we as a culture 'delete' or ignore a major secondary colour, yet is all around us, what else at a basic level or perception are we as a culture or individual deleting or are blind to and how does that affect our world view?

Just a thought.

More soon!



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