Friday, February 14, 2014

apperception, an example...

I have a friend who has moved to town and is trying to fit in. He cares very deeply about this place. He and his wife were drawn for years to make this place their home, and yet he is having difficulty fitting in and being accepted. I leave his name anonymous, because I care deeply for this individual, and his wife, and nothing would please me more than for their integration into community to be complete.

I am only writing this because it serves as an excellent example of perception, apperception, and the path of learning that was pointed out by Herbart.

My friend told of going to the auto mechanic. The mechanic told him that it would cost him $300.00 to get the parts to fix his car. He simply asked, "Is there a less expensive way to fix it." The mechanic took that question as an affront... that my friend was questioning his authority, or even his honesty. The mechanic became angry. Another mechanic walking by overheard the conversation, and immediately threw out another solution that would only cost $60.00. My friend was left wondering why he got such a strong negative response from the first mechanic, and so cooperative a response from the other.

All this comes down to perception and apperception,  and the difference between the two. What we immediately take in through the senses is quickly processed in the mind and compared with past events, and interests in the development of apperception.

Apperception can either facilitate an expanding relationship, or it can shut things down, leading the participants to a state of withdrawal or even anger.

My friend, wanting to fit in, but also wanting to get his car fixed, asked a simple question. The first mechanic, not knowing him,  gave short shrift. Perhaps he reminded him of a customer with whom he had trouble in the past, or perhaps he had just walked away from another difficult customer and didn't want to be bothered to give more time than was given in his first analysis. In any case, many of our reactions to each other are not based on what we see before our very eyes, but on other patterns, conscious and unconscious with which our immediate perceptions are compared.

There are distinct ways that apperception serves the socialization process. In our good friends, we can easily overlook immediate perceptions. Old and dear friends see each other in a cloud of responsive apperception, that is infused not only with what their eyes and ears see and hear, but with a fabric woven of past experience that allows for appropriate (or inappropriate) interpretation of perception.

In all this, those who linger in small communities and consistently show concern for each other become woven into the warp and weft of community life. It requires sacrifice, and it takes patience.

On a simpler matter, that being the education of our children, perception and apperception come into play. Otto Salomon had said that education should start with the interests of the child. If you don't have that child's interest in the first place, a sense of resistance naturally ensues, and children's minds and attentions close down. In order for effective education to proceed. A child's interest must be kept. The formula is simple. Move from the known to the unknown, from the easy to the more difficult, from the simple to the complex and from the concrete to the abstract.
Today in the wood shop, I've been working on lift lid boxes with secret compartments. It is also the time of year in which I begin production of my usual product line of small boxes for gallery sales. The bodies of my lift lid boxes are shown above.

Make, fix, create, and inspire and instruct.


  1. I've now read this post twice, from the perspective of having lived in the same community for over 40 years, and in the same house for 29 of those. Fitting in as part of a community is not a quick thing, and part of the lesson is knowing where in the community you fit in and where you don't, who you want to associate with and who you don't.


  2. Mario, that is a good point. You won't fit in with everyone. You'll find that there are some people you may want to avoid. But if you go around mainly minding your own business and exhibit some care for others, you'll very likely find friends.

  3. Doug,

    Absolutely. And following up on your comment, I would expect that people would get based on what they give.


  4. A comforting demeanor can go a long ways.