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.
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.
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.
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.
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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 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. 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.
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?"
- Publish creative expressions of my vision, and an analysis of those expressions. - vision002 - vision005
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.
 See The experience of meaning in life from a psychological perspective (Colin Leath, 1999) for more detail.