[permanent link to this page]
The Carfree Universe Project (CFU) has been archived.
Guest Login

Vision Research Project: overview and methodology

The abstract concept of vision (defined here as a projection of one's current self into an imagined future) is presented, and reasons why the concept is of interest are discussed. A research program for improving (1) our understanding of visions and (2) our ability to express and share visions is outlined.

Added by colin #442 on 2004-02-25. Last modified 2007-10-05 21:32. Originally created 2004-02-25. F0 License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
Location: World
Topics: Vision

Index to Vision Research Project documents



For the purposes of this discussion,

vision is a projection of one's current self into an imagined future.

Visions are like how it is to be us right now--the sum of our present experience--except that we're projecting that experience of being into a situation different than what we're actually in. Restricting vision to a future orientation limits our use of the term to a utilitarian subset of all the imaginings that might also be called visions or visualizations or understanding concepts.

Characteristics of vision:

Visions exist in individuals, not in a sort of collective unconscious. Due to common biology and experience, some expressions of vision will have more general appeal than others.

No two visions (of different people) are identical. Aspects of visions can be shared through expressions of vision.

How do visions work?

We develop a vision that appears desirable. We then develop sub-visions of what will occur along the path to the realization of that general vision. From these imaginings we choose actions to take that will help us progress along that path. Based on the never entirely predictable effects of our actions, we adjust our visions, and continually repeat the whole process. Our actions, to the extent they reflect decisions we have made to help us realize a vision, are expressions of vision.

Case in point: I really have no clue what I'm doing here (with the whole Vision Research Project), but the general idea is to attempt to establish a framework to be able to say something about what I'm doing. I write a bit. Continue with what I'm doing (surfing the motive force). See if what's in this document still fits. If it doesn't, add or revise.

How might vision be operationally defined?

No comment yet.

Relevance of vision:

Visions are a means of organizing behavior.

Vision is a useful abstract concept because it refers to one means that humans have of organizing their behavior. Through a better understanding of vision-making and vision-realizing processes, we should be able to develop visions that more effectively allow us to achieve experience that we desire. At the top of our vision hierarchies we each share the most vague and the most general vision: the vision of having experience that we value.

Visions may address our need to perceive ourselves as part of something...

Visions often consist of perceiving one's self as part of something larger and longer lasting than oneself that one thinks is good. Having access to such a perspective on life is an important part of many individuals' psychological well-being[1]. For most people, that thing they see themselves as a part of will include other people. The impetus for developing this perception of self as part of a whole comes from our tendency to perceive things in general as part of a whole (e.g., we see three dots as forming a triangle, if they are arranged in a way consistent with that shape). That tendency is explored in the field of gestalt psychology.

Expressions of vision can influence others to help you to realize your vision.

Visions can be useful for getting others to behave in the way you wish they would. If I'm able to present compelling expressions of visions and sub-visions, those affected by my expressions will adjust their visions and their behavior in ways that make it more likely my vision will be realized. Of course, any vision I express doesn't come entirely out of the blue, but is a synthesis based on all the expressions of others' visions that have affected me. Visions are responsible for all accomplishments that require cooperation.

Of particular interest to the author are visions that address the question, "Where are we going as a people and what is my part in it?"

What are the next steps in this research program?

  • Publish creative expressions of my vision, and an analysis of those expressions. - vision002 - vision005
The basic idea is to create expressive works, analyze them (asking: What is the vision the artwork is expressing, and what are possible implications of that vision? How effective is the expression for a given audience? What influences contributed to the vision and the manner of its expression?) and then modify this document as the need presents itself. The VRP can be pursued in other ways as well (e.g., look at the effect of visions & their expressions throughout history; explore the development of visions; and on and on) but creative writing is my present focus. If you want to jump in with your own angle, that would be awesome.


This is an initial stab at establishing basic terminology for a vision research project. As the other steps in the project are carried out, it is likely this methodology document will be expanded in order to better address questions that, for now, have been ignored or glossed over. I encourage the reader to hop in with her/his own thoughts and vision-expressing efforts & analysis.

[1] See The experience of meaning in life from a psychological perspective (Colin Leath, 1999) for more detail.

Colin Leath <>    

To comment on this document, login (you must have already joined).

v? c? 
about this site