Heterogeneous observation method-woodmam

(21) Clever combinations - the heterogeneous observation method

  Fang Ji's 'Landscape of Guilin' is about both the 'colourful' mountains of Guilin and the 'surprisingly clear' waters of the Li River. Although both "mountains" and "water" are part of the landscape, they are different things after all, but thanks to the author's clever combination, he has made the Guilin scenery, with its mountains and water reflecting each other, extraordinarily poetic.

  This method of observation is heterogeneous observation, which is the opposite of similar observation, and both belong to the category of categorical observation. The heterogeneous observation method involves observing two different things in separate parts and then combining them in a clever way.

  Although the differences between things observed in the heterogeneous observation method are large, it does not mean that they can be matched and chosen at will. It is important to choose things that are naturally and subtly related to each other, rather than being a haphazard mix.

  (22) The inadvertent method of shifting the target

  One day in 1928, Fleming, a British bacteriologist who was concentrating on staphylococci, suddenly noticed that in a vessel where staphylococci were being cultured, the staphylococci that had been growing well had disappeared. After careful observation, he found that some Penicillium that had accidentally landed on the medium was multiplying and that there were no more staphylococci around these Penicillium. This showed that the penicillium could secrete a substance that killed the staphylococci or prevented their growth. He called this substance penicillin. Fleming was struck by the idea that penicillin could be used in humans to kill the disease-causing staphylococci. So he changed the goal of his research and began experimental research on penicillin, which was successful.

  A method such as this, in which discoveries, inventions and creations are made by changing the intended target, is called goal shifting.

  Observation as a means of scientific experimentation and invention is generally very purposeful, but if an unexpected anomaly is discovered in the course of observation that is inconsistent with the planned goal, is it to be allowed to slip by in vain?

  Of course not. This is the time to ask questions, to consider whether to shift the goal, and if you can discover and create something, even if it was originally "planted with intent", it can be "planted without intent", and perhaps, even achieved without intent! The "shade of the willow" will inspire inspiration and make the original unopened flower blossom into a piece of enchantment.

  (23) The error of feeling - seeing the essence through the phenomenon

  There is a story like this: a marksman with a hundred shots went fishing with his friend, but after half a day of fishing, he did not catch a fish. The marksman thought that fishing was too much work and he might as well use his gun to shoot, so he aimed at the fish in the water and pulled the trigger. He fired several shots, but did not even hit a fish.

  The marksman failed miserably, not because he had regressed in his marksmanship, but because, unbeknownst to him, the light refracted as it passed through the air into the water, causing the fish in the marksman's eyes to deviate from its original direction, and so he missed.

  Human perception often produces errors. For example, if you put one foot in cold water and one foot in hot water, and then put them in hot water at the same time, the first foot will feel much hotter than the other. This is the inaccuracy of the sensation caused by the "contrast" between the front and back.

  It is important to be open-minded when observing to see if there is something behind the phenomenon that you do not recognise. Following one's senses can often lead one's observations astray. Only by looking through the phenomena to the essence and grasping the essential laws of things can you acquire reliable knowledge and improve your observation skills and understanding.

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