News October – How real is real? · Paul Watzlawick

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The book that we take a look at this month is a must-read! It was first published in 1977, but its paradigms and reflections have stood the test of time and are still absolutely valid today.

Watzlawick, Austrian by birth, educated in several countries and professor at the University of Palo Alto in California, is an author who displays a fine sense of irony in all his works. In this book he reflects on what we are, how we experience the events that happen to us and the consequences of how we interpret those events. And he tells us, without holding back: “What we call reality does not exist!”

Watzlawick refers to two types of reality; on the one hand, one that our senses perceive and, on the other, one we interpret from what our senses have perceived. We see:

1. An adult stopped a red light sees the light, identifies the color and interprets the meaning. However, a baby sees the light, identifies the color, but does not know what name we have given to that color, much less how to interpret its meaning.

2. A person of a certain age, walking down the street, slips and falls (a fact). A father and his young son witness the scene; the father reacts with concern about whether the person injured himself, while the child’s first reaction may be to laugh, interpreting the event as a funny situation.

Facts are unique facts; however, the meanings and consequences of the interpretations of these facts are multiple. This range of interpretations is what makes us so diverse in our political and religious beliefs, the teams we support, etc.

In the search for innovation, it is important that we take into account this concept that may seem so obvious to us. We must try to recognize reality in and of itself (the facts) and be able to identify the different prejudices with which this reality is interpreted.

We have to open our own prism of interpretation, so that we can act from a different perspective and incorporating other interpretations of the fact.

A great book with deep reflections. We hope you find it interesting and that you have a happy interpretation of the facts.

This is how it begins…

“All living things depend on adequate information about their environment in order to survive; in fact, the great mathematician Norbert Wiener once suggested that the world “may be viewed as a myriad of To Whom It May Concern messages.” The exchange of these messages is what we call communication. And when one of the messages is garbled, leaving the recipient in a state of uncertainty, the result is confusion, which produces emotions ranging all the way from mild bewilderment to acute anxiety, depending upon the circumstances. Naturally, when it comes to human relations and human interaction, it is especially important to maximize understanding and minimize confusion. To repeat here and often quoted remark by Hora: “To understand himself, man needs to be understood by another. To be understood by another, he needs to understand the other.”

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