Notes on the Historical Division between "Logical thinking" and "Visuals" 

An description of the Image and its functions as a Picture, Signs & Symbols from the book "Visual Thinking" (1969) (via)

Rudolf Arnheim suggested a historical division between "Logical thinking" and "Visuals" in his ground-breaking book, Visual Thinking (1969).

He pointed out that philosophers in ancient Greek credited the direct vision as the start and end source of wisdom although they also learned possible distortion in human’s visual perception (Arnheim, 1969. pp. 12). However, hundreds of years later, the potential of using sketching in creative problem solving are still paid less attention. Sketching is often not considered as a form of thinking. (found via viz-up-the-world)

In his book, Arnheim (1969. pp. 2-3) reflected on the issue as the followed:

“Today, the prejudicial discrimination between perception and thinking is still with us. We shall find it in examples from philosophy and psychology. Our entire educational system continues to be based on the study of words and numbers … More and more the arts are considered as a training in agreeable skills, as entertainment and mental release."

"As the ruling disciplines stress more rigorously the study of words and numbers, their kinship with the arts is increasingly obscured, and the arts are reduced to a desirable supplement…. The arts are neglected because they are based on perception, and perception is disdained because it is not assumed to involve thought. In fact, educators and administrators cannot justify giving the arts an important position in the curriculum unless they understand that the arts are the most powerful means of strengthening the perceptual component without which productive thinking is impossible in any field of endeavor. The neglect of the arts is only the most tangible symptom of the widespread unemployment of the senses….”

"All perceiving is also thinking, all reasoning is also intuition, all observation is also invention." - Rudolf Arnheim

Mind map: Rudolf Arnheim - Visual Thinking & The Intelligence of Visual Perception.

Simplicity, clarity, balance: A tribute to Rudolf Arnheim - by David Bordwell (2007):

"My teachers Max Wertheimer and Wolfgang Köhler were laying the theoretical and practical foundations of gestalt theory at the Psychological Institute of the Uni of Berlin, and I found myself fastening on to what may be called a Kantian turn of the new doctrine, according to which even the most elementary processes of vision do not produce mechanical recordings of the outer world but organize the sensory raw material according to principles of simplicity, regularity, and balance, which govern the receptor mechanism. This discovery of the gestalt school fitted the notion that the work of art, too, is not simply an imitation or selective duplication of reality but a translation of observed characteristics into the forms of a given medium" (from Film as Art)

"We have been trained to think of perception as the recording of shapes, distances, hues, motions. The awareness of these measurable characteristics is really a fairly late accomplishment of the human mind. Even in the Western man of the twentieth century it presupposes special conditions. It is the attitude of the scientist and the engineer or of the salesman who estimates the size of a customer’s waist, the shade of a lipstick, the weight of a suitcase. But if I sit in front of a fireplace and watch the flames, I do not normally register certain shades of red, various degrees of brightness, geometrically defined shapes moving at such and such a speed. I see the graceful play of aggressive tongues, flexible striving, lively color. The face of a person is more readily perceived and remembered as being alert, tense, concentrated rather than being triangularly shaped, having slanted eyebrows, straight lips, and so on" (from Art and Visual Perception, first ed., 430).

"Without the flourishing of visual expression no culture can function productively" - Rudolf Arnheim

Related: What Is Visual Thinking? - by xplane (2019)

Related: Perceptual Psychology (wikipedia)

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