Did you know, a human mind is constantly bombarded with 2 million bits of information? That is a hell lot of information to process! We process information through our 5 traditional senses, which are taste, smell, touch, hearing, and sight. After being processed through our senses, it is then programmed into our system. The nervous system receives and processes the information in order to give meaning or perception to it and understand the world around us.
Just like you have a gatekeeper outside your house who is looking out for your house to keep it safe from any unknown trespassing. Similarly, there are 3 Gatekeepers at your door of perception too. Through these gatekeepers, we maneuver our communication. They are neither good nor bad.
Perhaps, with the vast amount of information overload you would have started to hallucinate had there been no gatekeepers.
It all depends on how you take in, they can be both an asset or a liability for you. What we need to understand is that this world we live in does not come with labels, however, unfortunately, we fail to realize, it is us who attach those labels and then forget in the first place that we did so. Let us examine these master gatekeepers:
Deletion: We tend to delete the information that is not of interest to us or we get too selective of our experiences. If someone has given us feedback, we might delete the positive out of it and just focus on what negative they had said about us. I am sure we have all done that? 🙂 Another example may be that “God is all-forgiving, he will forgive me”. The context here was completely deleted.
Ever forgotten something and then found it again at the same place where you had looked at it earlier? You understand deletion well now.
Distortion: We usually change our experiences by distorting them and seeing things differently. An excellent example here would be “until or unless I do not lie, I will not get my work done, so I lie.” That is distorting the whole experience. Sometimes a distortion is necessary otherwise it runs the risk of hindering creativity. Let us suppose, if you are an architect or an interior designer. For you to get the work done, you would need to imagine it right? You would need to create something out of nothing in your own mind. This is the sensory distortion.
Similarly, if someone is looking at you in a certain way and you feel he/she is despising you, there is a greater chance that you would distort the meaning of their look.
Generalization: To understand things around us, we generalize them. We take certain aspects of our experiences with people and things around us and generalize them. If we have a bad experience with someone, we generalize that everybody is like that. Suppose you had a bad or a difficult experience with your partner, and deciding on that experience you will tend to start generalizing that all men/ women are the same. Another example, could be ‘Everybody here lies so I also lie!’
Speaking of which, your beliefs are also generalizations.
Henceforth, deletion, distortion, and generalization are the filters through which we perceive the world around us and communicate. They can either make the world around us friendly or a hostile one. Let us all be consciously aware that it is through these mental filters that we create our model of the world.