Thursday, 24 July 2008


Have you ever looked into the eyes of an infant and felt that you could jump in and go for a swim? They are so open and inviting it’s almost unnerving.
You can’t help but wonder how they see life; that somehow they experience a magical world beyond your vision.
Why do we feel that? It isn’t logical. If you couldn’t walk or feed yourself; if you were incontinent; if all you could do was roll over in bed; if you had no ability to speak or even think in rational verbal terms — wouldn’t you be considered disabled?
Why then are we so quietly envious of these little people? What magic do we sense in them? Does Buddha swim in the depths of those liquid eyes?
Perhaps there is a Buddha consciousness in these 6 month old, uninhibited, sometimes serene, often demanding, easily fascinated, bed-wetting bundles of joy. Why not?
Life is strange. Is it such a stretch that infants, despite all of their outward limitations, process abilities of perception we wish we had?

And since their limitations primarily set them apart from us, could it be that these limitations are their causative Buddha-factor?
The silent advantage of infants
Infants perceive their world in each moment, fully, deeply, and without bias. Us big people on the other hand, experience a verbal-thought-summation of what we see in the moment based on pre-established judgments. Adults perceive life through a template of fixed, albeit slowly changing, definitions. Infants have no template blocking their vision.
One of the reasons for this is that infants have no verbal language associated with their thought and perception.
Think for a moment about this vast mysterious world. Try to use all of your imagination to probe the depth and reach of its content. It’s impossible. And yet, we allow words to define our experience of it.
Can you imagine what it might be like to have no words entering your mind as you perceive and think about your world? How would that change your world-view?

Also, because everything is new to them, infants judge less. They haven’t yet acquired the experience to know what to accept and what to reject. How would it change your life if you could selectively suspend judgment to facilitate a more dynamic view of circumstance?
Science Daily recently featured the research of Lisa Scott, a psychologist at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The articles reported her findings on the perceptual development of infants. Of infants 6 months or under, Lisa says, “During this time the brain is sensitive and responsive to the surrounding environment.”
But after 6 months of age, Scott concludes, “what is most intriguing about these findings is that they collectively suggest that typical perceptual specialization and development is characterized by the gradual decline of abilities.”
Scott is suggesting that we loose our dynamic responsiveness to the world after 6 months of age, in preference for a selective focus on the essential elements of survival and satisfaction.

In the Association for Psychological Science, an article titled, New study shows that infants have mind-reading capability describes the work of Luca Surian, a psychologist at the University of Trento in Italy.
Luca’s research is primarily concerned with the ability to reason about the mind. According to the article in APS, his findings indicate that psychological reasoning skills enabling us to predict another’s behavior are in place in infants, independent of environmental or learned behavior. Surian explains that, “this is mind reading proper, however rudimentary.”Is it possible that infants have perceptual and intuitive abilities, and that we have lost some of those attributes? It appears so. Can we reclaim them?

1 comment:

Sir Hubertus Ponsonby said...

i doubt that.
'enlightenment' just night be a way to reach such 'nirvana' (the inverted commas being used to suggest terms i will probably never understand).
as humans, un-learning something is very difficult.
...and having to deal with other adults, we NEED to have some skills(?) in place to guard against that deceit and connivance that is humakind.
having an inant-like unbiased mind is like living in a eutopian society. pretty much.... fantasy.