How Tools shape our perception

If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail - Abraham Maslow

I recently upgraded my old MotoG 5 phone to an Oppo Reno 5, since the camera broke on the former. I’m not much of a sucker for tech these day because of the appalling strategies of almost every company wanting to shove a new device on you every 6 months to a year but I had this observation.

The camera on the Oppo is slightly tweaked in its software processing to saturate the colours it picks and create a conventionally more beautiful picture, especially the blues. I noticed that as I went along using it, and I love taking shots of the sky, I kept becoming more sensitive to the blues in the sky even when I am away from the phone. The sky in my mind is tuned to be slightly more punchy off late.

It got me thinking as to how many of the tools that we are surrounded with shape our default possibilities and thinking. Every good looking corner that we encounter is a potential instagram post to a person using insta. Forced to use a black and white camera for long enough, everything around us will become a study in tones. The fact that am writing this blog on a daily basis is making me consider everyday things as topics to be considered for writing and thinking on more deeply. Someone who sketches people outdoors on a regular basis will always be tuned to seeing subjects in their surroundings. Someone who writes fiction prolifically will always see stories and characters in everyday life.

When you actively notice new things, that puts you in the present….As you are noticing new things, it’s engaging, and it turns out….it’s literally, not just figuratively, enlivening. - Ellen J. Langer

And this is a learning that one can apply so very well in their lives. When we understand that our tools and practices shape our perceptions, not by the output they give us but by the very act of using them regularly, we can more consciously curate them to heighten our observations in the areas we want to.

Tools am currently employing : Mobile photography, blogging, sketching outdoors, writing fiction, watching films

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