How perceptual assumptions get set up is also not well known. As humans we tend to adapt to anything that is repeated or deliberately practiced. Given the presence of a repeating situation, we will spontaneously design and train a habit to deal with it. It pays off to think a bit about the wisdom of this habit design on the front end. This is why thinking skills are so indispensable.
When we train a habitual perceptual assumption, it is designed to disappear underneath whatever our level of sensory ability happens to be. Our sensory ability is dulled by the use of habits, and sharpened by the use of awareness, observation and thinking skills. We create a perceptual assumption by training a habit. The advantage is that it becomes handy to meet a stimulus without having to design it again each time. We can focus on other things that are more important. We build the skills we expect...and usually some habits we don't expect.
But the danger is the same issue: we no longer register a successfully trained habit on our radar as an activity. Habits become innate by design. The habit "goes off" whenever the stimulus is offered on the outside, or the thought is "thunked" on the inside. There is a significant advantage to this. This is designed so we can add a new habit on top of the previous. This is known as a "behavior chain" and is handy in skill building. It's possible to train new perceptual assumptions.
It is not a very common skill to be able to undo a habit learned by accident. Undoing habits - of thought, of movement, - these can result in a new perceptual assumption - an insight that changes us. Thinking skills are a way to address this challenge of how to undo outdated assumptions.
Most people never think of subtracting what is in the way as a useful strategy, just as lateral thinking techniques are not usually the first order of preference. People most often assume they must train yet another habit to take the place of whatever habit is not working.
Most people assume that insights happen "by accident" and not on purpose. Wouldn't it be useful to be able to purposefully illicit insight? It would be worth the time even if you had to follow indirect means to get these insights. Well, that's what happens with a little deliberate lateral thinking....and using Alexander Technique...and sometimes, elevating a discipline so it becomes an art by intercepting habit with awareness.
Please let me know if there are other worlds or disciplines which have this effect - because I'd love to take them for a ride!!!
A drawback is hidden in habits becoming innate. It's awfully difficult to get rid of what you cannot sense. Disappearing is a feature of a habit. People commonly find themselves doing things thoughtlessly that they did not intend to do or seemed to have forgotten about possible consequences.
Examples are common: holding one's arm up to support a purse that is not there; perhaps also holding one's arm up after having a injury to one's arm that has healed. Another example night be driving somewhere near home and making the most familiar series of turns to head back home instead of turning to go to the different place where you intended. Asking someone what time it is when they're a little drunk and holding a glass of beer might encourage them to pour the beer on themselves when they turn their arm over to look at their watch.
The more you repeat a habit, the more ingrained and innate it becomes. "Practice Makes Perfect."
Thinking skills pop us free out of our habitual assumptions, just as Alexander Technique has the ability to free us from our kinesthetic sensory habits. But we must remember to use these tools to give them a chance to work and gain their advantages. By their nature, these tools of innovation run contrary to habit. The conscious remembering must be assigned to take its place in some portion of a routine for these tools to be allowed to work as intended.
In Alexander Technique, the best time to assign it's use is as you begin to go into action. This is because as soon as we think of doing something, we are already preparing for it. Right before action we have a moment of "veto power." This is a built-in instant to decide the unique means of how we are actually going to perform the action and apply it uniquely to the situation.
Most of us miss or pass by this instance of optional choice. The reason we pass it by is because we are on auto-pilot or are just not paying enough attention. But sometimes it is because we do not know how to pay attention very well or we favor a very limited means of paying attention. Usually, multiple habits are in charge of coercing us otherwise, going off underneath our ability to perceive habits at work. Similar to a computer that gets overloaded with programs running in the background. If we then attempt to add in our intentional goals there is the danger of losing what we were trying to accomplish.
Best to "clear the decks" by using a little tool such as Alexander Technique that subtracts unnecessary routines and unites our intention - at the start of an action.
Do you have a suggestions when would be the handiest times to install a habitual reminder to use basic, strategic or lateral thinking?