Perception. It ́s something we do all the time, relentlessly. Wikipedia defines it as the “identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the organization, environment.”
We look at the world around us and interact with it. At the same time it also interacts with us. Steven Johnson says “thoughts shape our spaces” but spaces, return the favor and sculpt our subjective experiences. Someone who is trained in a specific field will look at things differently from someone who is immersed in a different field. They will look at the specifics that they can relate to in more depth and will focus on the detail and evaluate accordingly – albeit in a subjective manner.
This creates a feedback loop: We, as creative creators, build on our own subjective experiences and script intention into our own designs. We do this in order to steer perception and future experience of others, the same way existing designs script our own subjective experience. The ability to create virtual future possibilities for ourselves, and by extension, through communication for others – to inform future thoughts – is, in essence, the freedom we have to compose our own lives.
Regarding to perception, this means inspiration is found in the details. By what scale do we measure detail?
Henry Miller describes a blade of grass as a universe in itself. To the passer-by, the rich, green lawn or meadow will evoke a sense of atmosphere. But a lawn is only a multitude of individual organisms, a macroverse of blades, each one of which can serve as a world for several entities. Consider the ant. Looking more closely, on a microscopic level, we can perceive cells, bound together by their own rules, connected by transport systems. A microcosm. Patterns re-emerge the deeper you go, from macroscopic to microscopic levels. For people who wonder, it is an endless well of fascination and questions. For creatives, it is an endless source of inspiration.
This notion is what Timothy Leary in part describes as “internal freedom”, something that can be described as a two-step process:
- Understanding the forementioned, that possibility / inspiration lurks in every single perceivable thing.
- Being able to deal with unlimited possibility, rather than being overwhelmed by the rush of it – what Leary describes as “vertigo of freedom”.
We are talking of inspiration here, not bound by limits. Not an easy task to manage. In the end, it all comes down to structuring your approach, how you deal with the input and how you let it affect your process. How will you let the world shape your vision of how the world should be?