perceptions of tiger perception

via this savage minds’ link I discovered an interesting post (including the comments) and further articles about some scientific research results which again try to deepen the argument that a certain cultural education makes a person more oriented in reading an image by either focusing towards the center or adapting to a viewpoint which is more related to background interpretation.

The crucial fact here might be that it is again just looking from the one point of view all is compared to (as the western pov), and not at all thought about how this measurement was taken. Kerim’s example about Terry Kit-Fong Au’s experiments from an asian starting point is thus very helpful to analyze the weak points of these studies.
Though I can follow up him very well in this there occur some problems concerning the argument that eventually an in fact different reading habits might not have an effect on the way how we interpret and connect (to) things/relations. (Eventhough I would not at all agree either to this short-cutting german article that alone constitutes a cultural difference of viewing through an interpretation of philosophies – instead of asking for the impact of a ‘reading system’ on those: post on another blog relating to this article).

There is a big difference between how we see pictures and how we see the world. I am ready to accept that there are cultural differences (perhaps dependent upon our various traditions of visual representation) that affect how we “read” a picture, but I’m not sure that these translate into differences in how we see the world – or even what that might mean.

If here especially asian language like chinese are adressed and I concentrate on the expression of ‘reading’ I indeed would see some difference like evolving from the other writing systems. The in western eyes highly abstract chinese signs in their basic forms can be related (and still are when for example teaching children or as well foreigners) to some pictogramic ‘background’ (underlaying) figure. But definitly this should not be used to conclude that the system is more related to pictorial codes and consequently the western writing system by itself more abstract. It would be too easy and would not allow to understand how out of a few pictorial basics more than 50.000 signs can be created – and for sure most of these are highly abstract.

Despite this I still think that the way of entering an image – the way of access to reading matters a lot and defines the way of understanding. I am not speaking here about a literal scanning of the world but about the method we use to develop attention to things, the way we create perception and make things known and knowable – consequently the represenational ‘forms’ emerging from that specific understanding are very much dependend and in a sense limited to the congruent cultural background.
There is a big difference between how we see pictures and how we see the world. is simply a sentence I cannot agree to and have to refer here again to the representation we create. In contrary to him I would see indeed a difference created out of the reading mode but not in defining a cow as an elephant but in the position and connotation we give it within one ‘reading system’. But as Kelim continues to write that the differences might account for different habits of visually scanning a printed page.
Nevertheless this also deceides what we perceive and which stays invisible to us. How than might one be sure to perceive the perception of another cultural imprint correctly?
In fact I think it is a though demand to escape the seal of ones own culture .. and eventually an illusion that it can be done at all especially when relating to the dominating western.
In this sense to read for differences mustn’t be necessarily a downgrading categorisation. It as well can be interpreted as a sign of respect which then but should admit the other possibility as at the same level and eventual an enriching share to the whole. A contribution which allows a perception that wouldn’t have been perceptible within one’s own cultural definitions and limitations.

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