Dave Lindberg Marketing & Design

Blinked

Malcolm Gladwell, whose first book, The Tipping Point, achieved its own self-fulfilling level of success, shifts his focus from social networks to neural connections in his latest book, Blink. Drawing on a range of historical anecdotes and psychological research studies, Gladwell looks into the experience where perception and understanding simultaneously occur, distinct from the rational and analytic aspect of the mind. As he writes in the introduction,

“Blink is concerned with the very smallest components of our everyday lives — the content and origin of those instantaneous impressions and conclusions that spontaneously arise whenever we meet a new person or confront a complex situation or have to make a decision under conditions of stress. When it comes to the understanding ourselves and our world, I think we pay too much attention to those grand themes and too little to the particulars of those fleeting moments. What if we stopped scanning the horizon with our binoculars and began instead examining our own decision making and behavior through the most powerful of microscopes?”

This willingness to examine the gaps that exist between our preconceived thoughts is a new perspective on an ancient tradition. Buddhists speak of prajna, or insight, as the ability to see things as they are, unclouded by our own preconceptions. Pema Chodron, the American-born buddhist nun, touches on a similar theme. Here, she completes Gladwell’s transition from macro to micro, external to internal, and brings it back again full circle — to a more immediate understanding of our place in the world:

‘Awareness is based on having a total experience. The more we perceive and examine how our mind works, the more we are able to bring body, speech and mind together as one unit to encounter and learn from the world. This is a natural expansion of mindfulness. So, awareness is also called mindfulness-awareness. And sometimes it is called insight, because we are able to see what is happening in the environment we are in. This is because we are no longer caught up in ourselves. We are able to able to examine and perceive clearly. We notice things beyond ourselves. And our perceptions of the world become richer.”

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Dave Lindberg Marketing & Design