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.

r /> 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.