Humankind is Both Art and Science

The Art and Science of Learning Disabilities

Second in the series of Humankind is Both Art & Science based on the TEDx talk given on Oct. 1, 2011 at TEDxYMCAAcademy.

  1. Humankind is Both Art and Science; 2. Limited, and Fooled, by Our Senses; 3. The Trickery of Temporary Truths; 4. Post Gutenberg Parenthesis; 5. Emotional Rescue; 6. Question Authority

Limited, and Fooled, By Our Senses

Limited, and Fooled, By Our Senses

So let’s take a look at some of the science of us.

Our ‘reality’ is limited by our senses.

That is why we develop tools.

To better understand what is real.

To better understand our world around us.

What we ‘sense’ is not the full picture. Not even close.

So we develop tools.


  • stretch our edges,
  • magnify our sensitivities,
  • detect and measure things of which we aren’t even aware.
Tools Augment Our Senses

Reality is Not Only What We Can Perceive

Our ears and eyes have physical limits in terms of what we can hear and see, right?

What we detect is limited.

But is our reality. It is what we think of as our reality.

Same with smell, touch and taste.

So we create machines.

Machines to augment our limited apparatus!

Now we have fMRI – functional magnetic resonance imaging.

It registers blood flow to functioning areas of the brain.

Active neurons consume more blood than idle neurons.

This is where a great deal of our ‘current reality’ is being defined.

Cool stuff.

But, we are still limited. 

Just please remember…

when you are trying to figure out  something – like Learning Disabilities – you are really looking at it in a very limited way –

With a limited set of senses.

With a limited set of lenses.

It is only a limited view of the reality.

The Table Illusion

And… We are Fooled by Our Senses!

We are not just ‘limited’ by our senses.

We are also ‘fooled’ by our senses- because our minds impose meaning on what our physical selves perceive.

These table tops are EXACTLY the same size and shape!

Our brain circuitry is triggered to see the tables in three dimensions.

It’s as Lehrer says regarding ‘taste’ -“it’s our neurological reality. when we sense something, that sensation is immediately analyzed in terms of previous experience”.

Gestaltists said that “form is dictated from the top down.” The reductionist Wundtians argued that what we perceived was a result of ‘elemental sensations‘.

But what we experience is the art in us – the art of us.

The mind is not a camera — so what we perceive is a result of art not science.

The mind is not a camera — so what we perceive is a result of art not science.

We are both art and science.


 Read the next in the series – The Trickery of Temporary Truths