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Accuracy Of Perception

The beginning of learning is perception. Keen, accurate perception at
the time of first introduction of a new fact or thought, and the linking
up of that new material with something already in consciousness, insures
in the normal mind the ability to remember and use that fact or thought
again. The things casually perceived and not definitely tied up with
something else are soon forgotten by the conscious mind.

You pass a florist shop where a score of different flowers and plants
are displayed. If your thoughts are intently on your errand you may
glance in, see flowers, color, perhaps a riot of colors only--and
beauty; and you feel a glow of pleasure from the sight. But a moment
later you cannot name the blooms in the window. Perhaps roses come to
mind because you have very special feeling for them; or carnations, or
sweet peas. But the window as a whole you perceive only as flowers, and
color, and beauty. You cannot describe it in detail, for you gave it
only passive attention.

But if you went to that window to know its contents; to find out what
the florist had in his shop, because you are very interested in all
flowers and plants, then you can tell minutely what is there. You had a
purpose in perceiving the window; your will held attention upon each
object in turn; and your love of flowers (an emotion) eased the effort
of volition when it might have tired.

Perception, then, is of three kinds: passive, incited by interest, and
directed by will. And the perception which is the basis of accurate
knowledge is one of keen interest, or of will, or of interest plus will.

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