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Perception is projection

Image projected onto manIn the section on The map is not the territory we examined the notion that human beings operate on the world through internal mental maps, rather than directly on the world itself.

Through this notion we learned that what we believe to be 'real' or 'true' is based upon the information we retain after our perceptions of the outside world have passed through a number of filters.

Another notion used in NLP which complements the notion of the map not being the territory is that perception is projection and that we see things not as they are, but as we are.

Confused? That's right, you are but read on - enlightenment awaits you.

To understand perception is projection consider the filtering process of generalisation. In an earlier example we considered the usefulness of generalisation when looking at a door, and how we might use the generalisations we made about one door as an efficient method of understanding how all doors work.

When we come to another door rather than re-learning the concept and it's function afresh we refer to the map we made earlier and apply that map or project it onto this new door. Thus we believe this new door is just like the door in our map, that it has the same properties and will behave in exactly the same ways.

With something as simple as doors these processes generally work pretty well for us. People however are entirely more complex than doors (at least most of them are).

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