Seeing and understand

What would happen if I say that the cake that I bought looks delicious because of the way it looks and decorated with chocolate icing which I love so much? Then, another person came along and saw the cake that I bought and says the cake does look delicious because of there is lots of strawberries on top of the cake. Will the taste of the cake change if he does like the strawberry on top of the cake? Our different perspectives on all things around help us how we gain the knowledge and learned from it. We are the one who shape the world that we see based on how our own mind works. Is it because we are the one who choose to perceive things differently from others? Will our emotion limits our understandings? Based on my own understanding about this world, we will discuss the fact that humans do see things not as they are, but as we are.

Let's take an example of the painting of 'Monalisa', masterpiece of the world's legendary painters where people would ever known, Leonardo Da Vinci. The painting is said to be the most famous and iconic painting in the entire world. The painting is a half-length portrait and shows a woman with expression on her face which often described as enigmatic. People were fascinates by the ambiguity of the sitter's expression, the monumentality of the half-figure composition, and the subtle modelling of forms and atmospheric illusionism brought by the paintings[1]. Besides, the painting itself had attract attentions from people all over the world including the educated like historian, artists and also scientists. Will the historians "seeing and understand" the painting is different from how scientists "seeing and understand things" of the same painting?

Both scientists and historians must have their own early theories about the painting on what to be discover when they study on it. By these, unconsciously they themselves choose their own early conclusion that differs from each other. As a result, they will have to prove their theories by undergo their own way of doing research. For example, at first, they assumed that the painting was done during the Italian Renaissance. This statement has become their early conclusion on their own choosing about when the painting was done. Historian would study about the past which would reveal all the secrets that we have in the present. They study and understand the painting trough knowledge acquired trough reading and research. During their research, they would discovered that the woman in the painting, Lisa Del Giocondo is actually a member of the Gherardini family of Florence and Tuscany. She is also the wife of wealthy Florentine silk merchant Francesco Del Giocondo[2]. From this piece of information, the historians managed to trace back the history of when is the very first silk was introduced in Italian and became so famous to the extent where only the noble family have the privileged to wear it. All these will lead to the time where the Italian enjoyed their glory moment about knowledge which was during the Italian Renaissance. They understand the painting trough stories behind the painting and appreciate it as a valuable past that happens centuries ago which amazes people which had been talked for centuries. However, would their understanding will be any different to the scientists?

As for scientists, whose work is based on systematic ways to acquire knowledge. They are once referred to as 'men of science' or 'natural philosophers'. In this case, they would also need to prove that the painting does painted in 16th century during the Italian Renaissance. However, in order to do so, different from the historians where research done trough reading about the past, scientists doing research by undergo series of experiments. They would study the type of paints used in making of the portrait and discovered that paints used had evolved from traditional type of paints made up of olive oil for drying and foods like walnut and pine nut for paint pigments to modern technique of oil painting. The technique produced a stable siccative oil mixture consisted of piled glass and mineral pigments[3]. For the most part, with all the variable and results, they managed to trace back to the time where these types of paint were created and claimed their hypothesis earlier is true. This is because they conclude based on data and deep observation trough series of experiments. Both group of people came out with different knowledge and understanding about the painting and their knowledge proves that it is "who we are" which the historian and scientist themselves to "seeing and understanding" the painting.

However, along the way, historians and scientists can be driven by their emotion in order to understand the story behind the 'Monalisa' painting. They "see the world trough rose-tinted glasses" who believes in positive things and became optimistic generally. Their positive state of mind in doing research and series of experiments given them high level of inquiry to discover stories that others wouldn't know about the painting. How would their emotions, what they feel, affect what they see trough the painting which leads to one of the greatest discovery on work of Leonardo Da Vinci, the "Monalisa"?

Scientifically, a number of studies on behaviour done already shown that emotion does affect sense of perception. This study, founded by Canadian research, which had been published in the Journal of Neuroscience proves that mood that we feel affects the way we see things by modulating the activity of the visual cortex.[4] The result shows that good mood does change on broadness of the view of someone. For example, in the study, when observers were asked to pay attention on a target, observers with positive emotional state aware of surrounding "distractor" objects compared to others with negative mood that are able to ignore everything around them and became more focused on the target.

In this scenario, historians and scientists with positive mood broaden the scope of their visual field which increase breadth of attention so that they would able gain access to more possible information around them to be considered in their research on the painting. Thus, historians would considered on other source of knowledge such as biography of da Vinci published in 1550 by Giorgio Vasari to unlock other story behind the painting. The results, historians discovered a descriptions about the painting when he describe in the book, "Leonardo undertook to paint, for Francesco del Giocondo, the portrait of Mona Lisa, his wife....".Since then, after more than 500 years, the painting had been named "Monalisa". As for scientists, positive mood would enhance one's awareness to surrounding, thus encourages their thoughts and actions in which lead to increase in their creativity and inventiveness. By then, their feeling would also be affected towards more to positive feeling which making them believe that their theories remain correct. They are driven in doing other new experiments continuously until to the point where they are able to take great pride on their work by proving their theories are correct.

On the other hand, scientists may face failure in their experiment on the painting and these would affect their mood towards negative state of mind. They would feel sad, disappointed and fear that the next experimentation may fail too. However, these negative moods cause them to be more cautious and cause their attention to be more focused on every specific detail for their next experiment. Their fear on failing causing their attention shifts to every minor thing such as slight change in volume of chemicals or usage of either big or small test tubes, thus enhances their visual processes by which the minor details are perceived and later considered in their experiments. But, these negative moods may affect their way of thinking making them harbour negative thoughts of keep failing the experimentation and would unable in prove their theories ever. Slowly, their emotion are disturbed causing them to lose focus and unable to concentrate in their experiment on the painting any longer. Eventually, mistakes happen during experimentation and lead to more mistakes which cause the truth of the painting failed to be discover scientifically.

Although emotion plays the big role in influencing both scientists and historians during their research resulting to either success or failure in their experiments, they themselves allow it to happen that way. Both scientist and historians may have the will in continuing their research and would able to prove their theories were correct all along, thus shows their research and experiments were a success. If their experiment failed because of they are affected by their own negative mood, they themselves decide to surrender because they could fight it off which at the end every outcome are results on their own decision.

Based on all the arguments above, we can say that everything detected by our senses are processed individually resulting to difference in understanding in what we see. Once we decided to understand, without we realising that we have already choose a way with our own free will in order to understand things either in positive or a negative way. Although, one's person understanding is different from other people, every each of the understanding could be mirrors to reflecting the real truth about things that assumed they understand. In this scenario, historian's and scientist's way of understanding on when the time period of the painting was done are different:- whereby historian's understandings based on the features of the painting, the clothes, the posture, the style of the woman in the painting while scientist's understanding based on type of chemicals used where everything is scientifically for them. But, at the end both of them are able to seek the truth of the painting that the painting was indeed done during the Italian Renaissance. These examples, in my opinion shows strongly remain that what we see are based on what we are, not quite they are because there are so many things that we ourselves decide. So therefore, how we can still say "things as they are"?



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