January 11, 2016

Inattentional Blindness -- "Can't See for Looking" by Connie Inglis

Modern Interior. Photo by Alexandr Jolobov on Getty Images
Last year I took a Cognitive Psychology course. It was the first time I had heard the term, "inattentional blindness." According to Scholarpedia, "inattentional blindness is the failure to notice a fully-visible, but unexpected object because attention was engaged on another task, event, or object." One of the most famous experiments done to show inattentional blindness is called, "the invisible gorilla" and if you are interested you can follow this link which will help explain the term

I was surprised how an object as big and black and hairy as a gorilla was not noticed. Do our brains really do that? Can we be so focused on a task or event or object that we don't even see when a gorilla enters the situation we are in? Science has proven this to be true. We are looking but not seeing. Have you ever used the idiom "He can't see for looking" in reference to someone who looks for an item and it is right in front of them but for some reason they can't see it? I guess it's like that--and we laugh at the familiarity of the experience.

That brings me to God's verse for me for 2016. In December I started reading the book of John, with the idea of studying Jesus' specific "I am" metaphors. I didn't even get through chapter one before three words jumped out at me--words spoken by Jesus in John 1:39 and then by Philip in verse 46. These words are, "Come and See."

And suddenly I knew that these were Jesus' words to me for 2016--to come and to see. A few days after that, I came across the O.T. counterpart three times in one day and again, I knew it was God speaking to me: Isaiah 43:19--"For I am about to do something new. SEE, I have already begun! Do you not SEE it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland." This clinched the stirrings in my heart--to not only come and see in expectation of seeing something new that God is doing but to also look at what He is already doing and to SEE God's hand in that as well.

This is the reverse of inattentional blindness and the reverse of, "He can't see for looking." God is like the gorilla in the experiment. (I said He's "LIKE" the gorilla, not that He "IS" the gorilla.) His presence is in the midst of whatever situation we find ourselves in. He is moving in our midst, sometimes banging His chest, trying to get us to take our focus off of our circumstances and to SEE Him there, wanting us to not look past Him or around Him or even through Him. He also wants us to stop looking for answers in the circumstances but instead to see Jesus in them and put our eyes on Him.

Eye on Jesus by kritzlof.deviantart.com
Come and see. That is the overarching goal. But what will that look like in my day-to-day? In my writing it means I will continue with my writing course, writing chapters to a fiction novel. But now God has surprised me with an opportunity in connection with this course. I asked my prof what course she thought I should take next and her response still has me in shock. She encouraged me to take an independent writing course to continue my novel and she offered to oversee my work because she wants me to finish my novel.

Wow. What an opportunity. I am both anxious and excited but I believe this is part of God's will for me this year. Jesus is reaching out His hand and I am taking it.

So, I have a direction with my writing but in other aspects of my life, I don't know where we are going, Jesus and I. However, I will follow the One I am learning more about from the book of John. I am excited to be a witness to His working and a witness in proclaiming His glory. I want to keep my eyes on the "gorilla" in the room.

Heb. 12: 2. "fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

15 comments:

  1. What a great post. Keeping our eyes on Jesus is always the best strategy for any aspect of life!

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    1. That's the truth. Thanks Tracy.

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  2. "to not only come and see in expectation of seeing something new that God is doing but to also look at what He is already doing and to SEE God's hand in that as well." To look at what He is already doing and see His hand in it, which causes me to stop, reflect, and then be thankful. Thanks Connie.

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    1. You're welcome Joy. Reminds me of our discussion in our writers' group on Friday. :) God is present and it is good.

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  3. I have not heard the term, "inattentional blindness" before. I learned something new today. But it is true that we often can't see for looking. I wish you all God's blessings as you finish your novel and pursue an independent writing course.

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  4. Jesus wants us to see so much doesn't He? We focus on the One and see so much more than when focus on the many of the world. So look forward to hearing more about your novel journey.

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    1. Thanks Lynn. I know you'll be hearing more in the months ahead. :)

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  5. Thank you Connie … this month has been full of encouragement for writing. I too found the term "in attentional blindness" very interesting. But, so true that we can miss some major points when we are focused on the details. (Sometimes it is the focus of our plan that has us miss the big picture.)
    And how exciting for you of your instructor's offer to help you oversee your novel. All the best as you keep your eye on the guerrilla!

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    1. Thanks Jocelyn. True that sometimes we are so focused on the minute details that we forget the big picture.

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  6. "(God) also wants us to stop looking for answers in the circumstances but instead to see Jesus in them and put our eyes on Him. Come and see. That is the overarching goal. But what will that look like in my day-to-day?" This is strong for me to read, Connie. And then showing us the "the eye on Jesus by kritzlof.deviantart.com". Thanks.

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    1. Thanks Sharon. I love that "the eye on Jesus" image. It sticks in my head which is good.

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  7. Love this post! When we keep our eyes on Jesus we ain't time to look elsewhere is what my granny would say! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

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  8. "come and see with expectation" jumped off the page for me. Sometimes we step ahead, but don't really expect... Now I'm excited to see how God will work in Inscribe writers' lives this year, because we know He WILL. Thanks for this encouragement!

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    1. Yes, the expectation really makes God's moving a joy, don't you think? Thanks Marnie--I'm excited to see how God will work in Inscribe writers too.

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