Brian Boxer Wachler first began to become interested in the human mind and how it decides to interprets the information it receives via the sensory systems whilst a student at UCLA. This was not he chosen topic of study at the time but he very quickly decided to study psychology as well as biology.
From then up until the present day Wachler has continued to follow his interest in the process of human perception and more specifically, in the way that we are easily fooled; either by ourselves, or other external influences, into believing things the way that we do. Today he is a highly-respected surgeon specializing in eye surgery.
In his book Perceptual Intelligence Wachler explores the brain”s ability to interpret and make sense of the world around us. In his research he applies the term ‘Perceptual Intelligence’ (PI) – one which he defines as “how we interpret and occasionally manipulate our experiences to distinguish fantasy from reality.”
As he points out in his book, PI relies heavily upon the correct functioning of our senses and instincts; except that this process is often influenced, and even distorted, by our emotions and memories.
Wachler explains how his intention behind the writing the book is to help the reader to reevaluate personal experiences via a more authentic, or accurate, prism.
The Seat of Perception
From the outset Wachler establishes the framework upon which our PI is founded at a neurological level. This, whilst should be a reliable conduit for making conscious assessments, is often far from being the case and in his book he explores the typical tricks that the human mind plays along with describing the resulting illusions it subsequently generates.
The world of spirituality and religion; areas you might think are immune to false PI assessments, are also covered by Wachler in his book. He points to many examples of how followers of some religions have a tendency towards seeing images of their fictional TV idols and false Hollywood deities in the strangest of places and circumstances within their daily lives.
In addition he also reveals those who are duped, those who do the duping quite deliberately and the impact that these false analyses have on the lives of all of us.
Given the large number of factors the author cites as ways and sources from which we are fooled into believing the things that we might all be advised to have a PI checkup – which is fairly easy given the inclusion of additional Q and A features within the book to help identify one’s ‘blind spots’.
Our Review of Perceptual Intelligence by Brian Boxer Wachler
I have to say that I am somewhat surprised and confused by the level of acclaim that this book has received. I can only surmise that the author’s charisma and popularity within his chosen profession has created in the minds of his readers the very thing that he is warning against in his book – emotional myopia!
In it Waschler covers a lot of ground and presents a multitude of differing ideas and concepts. Sadly, for the most part, these fail to link together in any cohesive, or meaningful way. A good example of this is his approach to some of the fringe aspects to emotional intelligence such as intuition and inner perception – all of which he dismisses without any real explanation or counter hypothesis as to how or why they exist.
In addition his use of rather unrelated anecdotal stories often fails to illuminate a point in particular or to add credence to any specific psychological hypothesis. It is, for the most parts, a book that meanders on through a sea of disparate thoughts – to the extent that I was often forced to stop reading on several ocassional and to wonder exactly what the book was actually about.
As for the PI assessment he includes at the end of the book – this simply made no sense at all and simply appears to be biased against an acceptance of the fact that the human experience should be celebrated for the differing tastes and biases that we each enjoy as individuals. There are no specific rules regarding the way that we experience our lives on a personal level and if we were all the same the opportunities for those in power to confuse and confound us increases dramatically rather than lessens.
So, in short, this was a publication that I struggled throughout to make any real sense of. To me it was too fractured and disparate in its style and presentation making reading it a little like trying to swim upstream with little sense of where the struggle might end up.