Surrealpolitik: Deviate: The Creative Power of Transforming Your Perception

Author: Beau Lotto

London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson (2018, first published in 2017)

Quick Summary

You have no access to reality and that's a good thing. We should strive to know less, and understand more.


There are 9 quotes currently associated with this book.

Do we see reality?...[Many people] all had theories, but now neuroscience has an answer.

The answer is that we don't see reality.

The world exists. It's just that we don't see it. We d not experience the world as it is because our brain didn't evolve to do so. (page 1)
Tags: [Truth & Real]
Our five senses...provide the means for information from the world to get in, but they have very little to do with what is then experienced in perception...In fact, in terms of the sheer number of neural connections, just 10 percent of the information our brains use to see comes from our eyes. (page 1-2)
Tags: [Truth & Real]
By becoming aware of the principles by which your perceptual brain works, you can become an active participant in your own perceptions and in this way change them in the future. (page 5)
Tags: [Activism, Truth & Real]
From the perspective of neuroscience...We're all like Alice all the time -- our brains must process strange new information arising from unpredictable experiences every single day, and provide us with useful responses -- except that we didn't have to drop through the rabbit hole. We're already deep inside it. (page 5)
Tags: [Truth & Real]
[P]erception isn't an isolated operation in our brains, but part of an ongoing process inside an ecology, by which I mean the relation of things to the things around them, and how they influence each other...Understanding what it is to be human is about understanding the interactions between our brain and body, and between other brains and bodies, as well as with the world at large. (page 7-8)
Tags: [Truth & Real]
Uncertainty is the problem that our brains evolved to solve...[but] with the making of this kind of certainty, we lose freedom. (page 9,10)
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Nothing interesting ever happens without active doubt. Yet doubt its often disparaged in our culture because it is associated with indecision, a lack of confidence, and therefore weakness. Here I will argue exactly the opposite. That in many contexts, to "doubt yet do...with humility," possibly the strongest thing one can do. Doubt with courage and your brain will reward you for it through the new perceptions this process opens up. To question one's assumptions, especially those that define ourselves, requires knowing that you don't see the reality -- only your mind's version of reality... (page 11-12)
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What makes the human brain beautiful is that it is delusional...We are beautifully delusional because internal context is as determinative as our external one. This is verifiable at the neural level: fMRIs (functional magnetic resonance imaging, a technique for tracking brain activity through blood flow) show that an imagined scenario lights up brain regions the same way the real-life equivalent scenario does...As such, our perception is much more plastic and subject to influence than we're often aware of or comfortable admitting. (page 13)
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Most people assume we see the world accurately as it really is, even many neuroscientists, psychologists, and cognitive scientists, because, well, why wouldn't we? At first "glance," it seems a wholly bad idea to see it in any other way. The seemingly logical premise that we see reality, however, doesn't take into account a fundamental fact about ecology and how our minds actually operate therein, thus missing the essential truth that our brains didn't evolve that way. But then what did our brains evolve to do? They evolved to survive -- and that's it...

And seeing reality accurately isn't a prerequisite to survival. Indeed, it could even e a barrier to it. Without this as your founding premise about perception, you will be stuck in old ways of seeing, since if you attack a problem with the wrong assumption, there is nowhere to go but deeper into that assumption, whether you know you're getting further from the truth or not...

Our assumptions create the light in which we are able to see differently -- or not, depending on how strongly we avoid exploring the shadows where keys to new paths may be hiding. (page 39-40)
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