Saturday, July 16, 2011

Final Post

The textbook required for this class begins with the question "Why read this book?" It then goes into the obvious answer that it is most likely required reading for a course, and to receive a good grade it is practical. It also discusses the benefits later in life to be gained from it's content, including the benefit for those who will continue studying perception or working in a field related to it. The book then goes on to speak of the benefits for everyone, regardless of field of study or career path. The sense of connection to nature and the world around us is the benefit that I have found to be most influenced by this book and course.
The curiosity that I have gained through this book and course has been very beneficial, as well as, time consuming at points. It is very easy to fall into a rut in life, especially as people gain life experience. I am an older student, compared to most, with bills and a family, and multiple jobs and at times can seem to just be on auto pilot in life. It is refreshing for me to take a course, or read a book, that forces me to slow down or break down the processes that go into everyday life once in a while. I relate a lot of what I have read about the processes of the senses to the things I do in my everyday existence. I live at the beach, and have used the ocean as a model in the perception of size for example. The enormity and scope of this great body of water allows ships with great size to appear small, and also distort the view that you have when looking at the sand we walk on when viewed through the water. There are many points in my day where I'm questioning the processes of the things I see, hear, and touch. This class has been a nice way to "open" my eyes to certain things, and I'm glad that I've had the experience.
My favorite part of the book and course is one that may have been a minor point, but has certainly sparked my interest. The section on pain in Chapter 14 has really grabbed my attention. I was intrigued by this area for a few reasons, the mind over matter issue being the one that stands out the most. There is an anecdote in the book about a child banging their head on something, but not really feeling too much pain until they realized there was blood coming from the area they hit. This is an interesting look at how pain is perceived, and it is a good way to treat the falls and missteps of young children. I have a 2 year old niece, and I am a firm believer in the fact that she is only as hurt when she falls as the amount of attention paid to the fall. This of course doesn't mean our family is negligent when she is really hurt, but the ability to control the feelings of pain are interesting. I also have thought about this topic in terms of athletes, and their injuries. As a longtime player, fan, and now coach of sports I have always found the question "Are you hurt or injured" to be a very curious topic. Athletes in general will answer hurt to this question because when you are injured, your day is more than likely finished. As a coach, you always want to hear the truth to this question, but the answer at times raises the question, "Can pain be squashed mentally if the person in question wants it to be?" There is a threshold for everyone, and this comes up often in the athletic venue. I found an interesting video on pain thresholds on The Science Channel website at
I will use the knowledge gained from this course in aspects throughout my life. I have already begun to put some of the perceptions I had before to rest, and will continue to take a closer look and listen to the elements that make my day what it is. The inner workings of the senses, and their interaction with the everyday environment are the greatest takeaways for me from this class. I suggest the chance to anyone who has a chance to read this type of material, be it through a class or not. I will continue to be interested in reading on these topics. the final issue asked of us is whether or not anything in this course can be used for a current world problem or issue. This could be answered in a simple way, with a pay it forward type of mentality. If we relayed some of the material that relates us to the environment, and causes us to take time to appreciate nature for the sake of the topic, the effects could be very helpful. This is a seemingly simple concept, but imagine the consequences of a grass roots type of movement that caused people to take a minute or two out of their hectic day to appreciate something in nature. For example, appreciate the Sun setting on a beautiful day.

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