A thread on Learning from Dogs the other day reminded me again of this phenomenon. An understanding of how reluctantly our senses acknowledge incremental alteration might help explain many things, such as: how we continue to believe that although advertising may affect others, it doesn’t affect us (even though billions are spent introducing such intrusive brainwashing crap into our ‘choice’ of goggle-box watching — why would they do that if it didn’t work?); or how we continue to accept the argument that ‘economic growth’ is a worthy pursuit when all the evidence shows that all it does is destroy the world in which we live; or how we welcome the arrival of new technologies even as they further accentuate the divide between us and nature; or… how we came to be facing a crisis-laden future without noticing it sneaking up on us in plain sight.
Yo, dudes!!111 My mate blogged some great photos that got me thinking about just how easy it is to frack things up even with the bestest intentions.
The big question is, given that we’re physiologically incapable of recognising small incremental change, is an understanding of this fact in any way helpful? To amend our behaviour, we would need know exactly what changes have occurred: Catch 22.
[To continue the descent into lunacy, check out ‘change blindness blindness‘ (PDF).]