Blind Spots

Laws of Form showed in a formal way that the observer and observed coincide. In particular, the mark of distinction (˥) established the relation between distinction and indication: there cannot be a distinction without indication, and the other way round. The distinction severs a space in a marked and a unmarked state. An observer can observe only the marked side of the distinction in the act of observing, the other side is his blind spot. So, everyone has blind spots, which you can put to the test by yourself by observing the Necker cube and the Rubin vase.

The cube can viewed from two perspectives, but not at the same time.

Figure: viewing a cube from two perspectives.
If you have trouble seeing both perspectives, then the dotted, hidden edges might help to discern them.
Figure: first perspective to view the cube from.
Figure: second perspective to view the cube from.

You see the vase or the two silhouettes, but again, not at the same time.

Figure: do you see a vase or do you see the silhouettes?

At any one time, one view is perceived, whereas the other view is currently in your blind spot. Not only in the moment you perceive you have a blind spot, the very way how you perceive have its (implicit) blind spots as well because of the distinctions you apply. You need someone else to point out your blind spots to you.

Figure: first and second order observation.

When you look at an object in the outside world, you are a first-order observer. A second-order observer observes how a first-order observer observes the outside world. So, the focus of attention is switched to how one looks, instead of what one sees. This is an important shift because it opens the possibility to thoroughly think through questions like: why is someone doing or saying things the way he does or says? The answers can be found in observing the distinctions that are made by taking a second-order point of view.




Statement: You need someone else to point out your blind spots to you.

Statement page Aspect Statement
Blind Spots Critical Reflection You need someone else to point out your blind spots to you.
Determining Boundary Judgements with CSH Critical Reflection A constructive dialog can take place on the basis of first and second order boundary judgments.
Self-observation Critical Reflection Concentrate on how to look, instead of what to see.






















Lees hiervoor: Second-Order Cybernetics
Lees hierna: Self-observation