notes on



IN the ethological ideal of JANUSAN THINKING, we pursue the seeming alternative or even opposing percepts that are reflected in familiar expressions such as “One cannot see the forest for the trees.” (Simultanagnosia?) or “… the trees for the forest”  (Related to “seeing the big picture” or “having a bird’s-eye view”  or “getting the gist” or “having a grand scheme or overview“)

WE COPE with competing percepts by creating MULTISTABLE PERCEPTIONS.   DEEP ETHOLOGY: Read Carter et al (2020) about how ambiguous or competing percepts are reconciled in perceptual rivalry in diverse species[i]

CO-CONSTITUTING dyads in perception and conception that likely share significant core elements have been often identified more-or-less significantly in many fields, for example:

“WHERE,” you might ask, “are the boundaries between dyads?” is there a deep bias to creation of dyads?   

read A&O notes on BIAS


DUALISM.  Oliver Sacks:  “There has always, seemingly, been a split between science and life, between the apparent poverty of scientific formulation and the manifest richness of phenomenal experience. This is the chasm which Goethe refers to in Faust, when he speaks of the grayness of theory as contrasted with the green and golden colors of life:   Grau, teurer Freund, ist alle Theorie, / Und grün des Lebens goldner Baum.

This chasm—which is smallest in physics, where we have spectacularly powerful theories of countless physical processes—is overwhelming in biology, in the study, above all, of mental processes and inner life, for these are, unlike physical existence, distinguished by extreme complexity, unpredictability, and novelty; by inner principles of autonomy, identity, and “will” (Spinoza and Leibniz speak here of conatus); and by a continuous becoming, evolution, and development.

The magnitude of this discrepancy, as well as our almost irresistible desire to see ourselves as being  somehow above nature, above the body, [is a bias that…] has generated doctrines of dualism from Plato on—doctrines clearest of all, perhaps, in Descartes, in his separation of two “essences” (res extensa and res cogitans) and in his conception of a quasi-mystical meeting point, an “organ of liaison,” between the two (for him, the pineal).”   from Oliver Sacks (1990), “Neurology and the Soul” in NY Rev Books, 22 Nov 1990: https://www.nybooks.com/articles/1990/11/22/neurology-and-the-soul/ may be necessary to vopy/paste URL into browser)


now look in on A&O notes on “ENANTIODROMIA”




IN the ethological ideal of JANUSAN THINKING, we pursue the seeming alternative or even opposing percepts

AGNOSIA is a clincal term that embraces a multitude of specific dysfunctions in the many interacting modules of mind that converge of understanding the meaning of a perceptual experience. The contrast between the integrated experinec of perception and the recognition of meaning with the diversity of subcomponents that hopefully work closely together.

  • Forexample (?) What is: Simultanagnosia? (“a condition where an individual may see individual details of a complex scene but fails to grasp the overall meaning.” BUT it has interesting neurological connections (Wikipedia on similtanagnosia)
  • We do not need to so a whole to make a strong inference as to the reality of parts unseen (dark matter? dark energy?)… For the everyday implementation of that idea see “Perceiving but not Seeing Whole” in a Cycleback blog by David Rudd



HUMAN DEVELOPMENT of part/whole relationship?  Look at an article in Child Development (Vol. 35, No. 1 (Mar., 1964), pp. 81-90): Studies in Perceptual Development: II. Part-Whole Perception by David Elkind, Ronald R. Koegler and Elsie Go  ( DOI 10.2307/1126573 ; Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/1126573)  

Abstract. One hundred and ninety-five children from 4 to 9 years of age were tested for their ability to perceive both parts and wholes in drawings wherein both parts and wholes had independent meanings. Results showed (a) regular increase with age in ability to perceive part and whole, (b) parts perceived at an earlier age than wholes, and (c) part and whole integration present in a majority (75 per cent) of children by age 9. The results were interpreted from the standpoint of Piaget’s genetic theory of perception.



[i] Olivia Carter, Bruno van Swinderen, David A. Leopold, Shaun P. Collin, Alexander Maier (2020) Perceptual rivalry across animal species.   J Compar Neurol   First published: 03 May 2020.  https://doi.org/10.1002/cne.24939