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Vera Nova

Director Research Analysis, NOVA Town Futuristic Development

TEDCRED 20+

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"How seriously does our ability to imagine others in our minds impact our understanding of others in real life?"

We have natural internal abilities to act as a few personalities within our minds. This intuitive acting ability helps us understand others, as well as situations where others are involved.

The more closely we manage to play other characters in our mind the greater we may understand others.
I believe that eventually each of us develops one dominating/leading character, therefore, we identify this character as our own Self. The rest of imaginable characters commonly play only "supportive" roles on the stage of one's personal reality.

When we need to improve ourselves, we are able to find/create not only a new role to play in mind but also to find the way to express in our new actions.

We begin to imitate our parents, cats and dogs, aircrafts and trains in our very early childhood. As adults we laugh at this kind of early stage of acting, but our minds keep acting to the rest of our life. Without internal acting our minds cannot produce any thought.


This amazing instinctive talent, I think, may be developed if we could have learned to explore this talent more consciously in thinking, researching and communicating.

JONAS SALK has described how he conducted his important research by behaving himself as living cells.
He also said:

The art of science is as important as so-called technical science. You need both. It's this combination that must be recognized and acknowledged and valued. ..You can have a team of unconventional thinkers, as well as conventional thinkers. If you don't have the support of others you cannot achieve anything altogether on your own. It's like a cry in the wilderness. In each instance there were others who could see the same thing, and there were others who could not. It's an obvious difference we see in those who you might say have a bird's eye view, and those who have a worm's eye view. I've come to realize that we all have a different mind set, we all see things differently...

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    Jan 13 2014: It's entirely natural to form images and personalities in our minds that we can attribute to others using only scant information. Skeletons, so to speak, need flesh.

    I've found that those who believe their judgements of 'imagined others' to be always accurate, without fail, are actually the least accurate.

    Then there are others who quite naturally form neutral, undefined preconceptions of others merely to fill in a healthy, non-judgemental space in the mind, which then goes on to be reinforced, updated and more accurate, the closer the acquaintance gets.

    The first is driven by ego, and the second is reinforced by empathy. The first seeks confirmation bias, and the second seeks to be informed by actual personality.

    This then goes on to alter how we ourselves act towards those we have formerly imagined, creating a tension, which, if driven by ego, becomes detrimental towards true personalities of others. If another's persona is ego-driven, the more of an acting role it has to become - for both people, as egos commonly compete. It becomes a feedback loop of ego-driven acting, competing for space and status.

    If empathy reaches out to become naturally receptive to others, then it becomes a comfortable, warm interaction in which true personalities are able to flourish. There is no judgement. There are no requirements for the ego to overwhelm others. Acting becomes unnecessary.

    Corporate team meetings, as an example, are often hampered by a thick fog of competing egos. The 'required' acting, which satiates the ego, obscures thinking and intuition in a way that empathy and genuineness would never do.
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      Jan 14 2014: People, as observers, often select individuals they see into ready-to-go categories. It is much easier to play these categorized "images" in mind because the observer does not really need in this case, to know really who this person might be. When people watch TV they have no responsibility for how sharply or poorly they understand the images. However, in life, if we use the same sloppy selection it may cost us problems of all sorts.

      The difference between perceiving real people, animals, events and "things" intuitively and as things in conventional categories is as grand as abyss.

      I'm wondering how do you think one can improve one's internal acting ability and intuitive sense of what is more real and what is absolutely NOT real?

      It seems to me that the most part of the whole human world lives inside their entertaining illiusions, become happy for no good reason, or hostle and cruel for no real reason at all.
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        Jan 14 2014: The considerable complexity of interaction between our own self-image and perceived images we have of others is open to so much interpretation. With that in mind I can only give my personal view on it, which I try to keep neutral and ego-free in the face of sometimes conflicting research and observation (self and others) which have a habit of confounding established behavioural norms.

        It seems to me that the necessity for the ego to act out roles becomes less important if we know that others are acting the same way. I see the ego as a defensive wall, surrounding and protecting the vulnerable self, but even though the vulnerable self is actually the powerhouse of who we are, the wall is what we see in others - and what they see in us. The communication level on first acquaintance is 'wall to wall' if that makes sense. Self to self' (due to vulnerability) is hardly ever reached as a level of communication - except perhaps via close family members, friends and counsellors, where it's ok to display what we personally perceive as weaknesses.

        I have a theory that the more robust an ego seems, the more vulnerable the inner self (and vice versa). This means that people who surround themselves with ego-boosting accoutrements they can ill-afford, who may be irrationally temperamental, who might seek power over others - may well have a very vulnerable self, cowering behind that robust wall. Sometimes the wall is so impregnable, they may not even know their own vulnerabilities.

        Conversely, it would follow that displaying glimpses of the self through a more easily-breached 'wall' is actually a display of 'strength of self'. Men hide behind their egos much more than women do.

        Sometimes letting our own wall down inspires others to the same.

        A sense of what is and isn't real in ourselves and others, I base largely on this somewhat loose theory. However it's by no means fail-safe, due to the exquisite complexity of people - and the very thing that makes us all interesting.
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          Jan 14 2014: Beautiful thinking, Allan. Never expected that this tiny Ted space for comments is enough for someone like you to desplay so much originality. I'll read your post again, later tonight, and be happy to exchange with you my own thoughts regarding the very nature of perceiving as the most vital process.. it is also about how we create our own personal realities around selves.

          You made my day:)
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        Jan 16 2014: Thanks Vera. It's a pleasure to get involved in such a thought-provoking subject!

        Look forward to hearing more from you :-)
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          Jan 17 2014: I think about our "ACTING" MEMORY:

          An employee goes to see his new boss. He enters the office and talks to the boss for a few minutes. He leaves the office with an impression that he knows his boss' appearance, and that he remembers his voice and the conversation.

          This employee has great confidence that he remembers his boss as he really is.

          If we were able to peek inside "print out" the employee's mind, we would see the craziest sights, crazier than surrealistic paintings by Rene Magritte or Salvador Dali. The employee's memory would display a portion of his boss' nose, the top of one ear, the vague image of a window behind the boss' faceless head, a snippet of his boss’ voice, a small part of the surface of his boss’ desk loaded with papers, and just the front of the boss' shoe sticking out from under the desk.

          Incomplete images of his wife speaking to him earlier that day about this meeting would also be scattered about. All of these pieces would be floating in his memory, merging into new and different combinations, falling apart, then merging again.

          This is a typical mind and its memory, composing "imprinted" pieces of our impressions from our experience .

          A reflection of exactly what we have seen is not achievable by any mind.

          The observations of a researcher, scientist, medical doctor, philosopher, teacher, or any of us for that matter, are merely impressions , thus we employ mere fluctuating impressions as the basis for our conclusions.

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