Phenomenology is the  study of experiences: generally the experiences of a subjects (an organism, a group, or a single conciousness) interaction with “other” (eg. the environment, field, “world”, other happenings or other people  in contact with the subject) and from the subject’s  point of view.
This includes all integral structures and components:

  • mood, excitement, aggression, apprehension and expectations in circumstances.
  • Bias, “world view”, outlooks and introjection
  • intentionality (or towardeness) and mindfulness.
  • sensing, near and far (touch and taste are near, sight and hearing far)
  • sensing time  and observing change
  • imagining, feeling, problem solving, abstracting,
  • desiring, empathizing,expressing,
  •  affecting and being affected
  • experiential learning -learning by experience and activity
  • the limitations of experiencing
  • The communication of experiencing, i.e language, language modes
  • context and meanings
  • patterns (similarities of different experiences and applications)

Some benefits  of phenomenological investigation is:

  • One may improve his understanding of his ways of cognating and acting.
  • find deeper meaning in events by holistically experiencing them rather than reading about them.
  • understand and find meaning  in other peoples shared experiences, paradigms, by cultivating perspective-taking skills.
  • improve problem solving with experiential learning, and patterning.
  • feeling “tuned in” to the world.
  • abstracting, imagining and being affected by other’s experiences (development of empathy and language).

phenomenal flower

Phenomenology is not just a subjective and intersubjective discourse in philosophy.  It is important to  Science (where objectivity is preferred)  as well.  For example:  the activity, including observations, of the tester must be considered in any scientific test. A scientist is always trying to remove error and accidental tampering in his/her measurements and  remaining as objective as possible.
Now consider the science of Quantum mechanics.
The tester or observer is so grand compared to tiny particles in field,  that even his idle observing can effect his measurement of particles.  This means that a quantum physicist must account for his own “consciousness” or cognations in measuring and observing particles,  including his expectations, attitudes and limitations that could effect his data! At this extreme level of scientific observation, the scientist’s experience of  measuring objects and events in a field is a component of the field.

Phenomenology is a much discussed topic in the quantum mechanics and physics, as well as psychology and both Eastern and Western Philosophies.  It’s an important topic within any Empiricism .  If I had a complaint about phenomenology its that’s an awfully long word and I can never remember how to spell it. :) …. and just try to  fit the phrase “existential-phenomenology” (the phenomenology that focus on whole action and not just “consciousness“) into the 140 character limit of a twitter post.  Phenomenology is one more ugly word that is very useful.


Gestalt Definition

An  organization or integration of components that are so interdependent , the whole is otherwise not easily described or easily summated.

  •  Most often use to describe spatial and /or temporal “phenomena”  or observable happenings..
  •  but can be used to describe  constructs and relationships.
  •   The organization or integration could graphically described as  a figure that is forming from a backround, where it remains in “contact” the ground.  That is: ” what is the gestalt” is always” in contact with “not the gestalt, globally”.

An example of a gestalt being not otherwise easy to describe or not easy summate might be   hand writing on paper and the hand eye coordination required.

  • One could study the functions of the nervous system and arm and fingers as it writes on paper.
  • One could study the visual process of the nervous system and eyes watching as one writes.

However, one could not just add the data of the  two studies  and expect to understand the interplay of hand an eye that is  involved with writing.  Instead one might treat and study hand eye coordination in writing as an integrated whole or Gestalt, because the components mention formerly are rather interdependent.

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

is the creed of gestalt psychology ( a scientific and holistic study of perception that commonly uses gestalts) and a rather striking statement.  Mathematicians familiar with calculus and  analytic geometry might take issue with the literal value of this statement.  but consider the following examples:


In this visual example  of “closure” or “reification”:  an image of a triangle will  appear to a viewer.  the visual data of a triangle(in the right image above) is only constructed with the viewers  biology (his brain, eyes,etc.) and with all the components of the image viewed as a whole.  simply adding the visual components will not produce the visual data that is the triangle.
It would seem that  the arrangement of the smaller components must be involved in producing the triangle in any equation, but this would be hard to predict without at least considering the image as an integrated whole… or gestalt.

See if you can read the following:

you slouhd be albe to read  tihs sneetnce esliay
buscease yuor mind orangiezs waht you raed itno wohles.

(to check your “translation” mouse-over the highlighted above.)

Practical Investigations with  Gestalts

A gestalt   could be an organism,  family, community,  a social movement  a widget in a visual environment on your computer, a market place in business,  a symbiotic relationship inside an ecosystem and so on.
Since some things are difficult to study internally due interdependence  of its components and properties, thinking with gestalts may be helpful.  For example one may study cultures, subcultures and social movements. by comparing and contrasting “what is not” the culture, subculture, and social movement in question.  Graphically, one defines  a gestalt  by its borders, where it interacts with “other”.
The same  comparison is also done in Gestalt therapy  ( * not the same as gestalt psychology) where a client  focus on where and how “he”, or “she”  contacts and interacts his/her  world, environments and circumstances to define him or herself.

Gestalt is a graphical interpretation, that can include approximation. It is origionally a German word to describe a form, shape,or figure. I think that it is an ugly word when spoken yet beautiful in its usefulness.

images that provoke thought to fill in the rest

Gestalt Cubix….

We perceive images by taking in them in as a whole. we recognize objects and the foreground images, sometimes only seeing parts or out lines and our mind fills in the rest based  with what we recognize.


gestalt kissA few quick pencil strokes and its enough to provoke one to fill in the rest of the image.   the right image may further provoke feelings of peacefulness or indifference. the left image the warm memory of  an affection hug and kiss.


Spelling be damned!


the Master of the thought provoking image is of course GARY LARSON and his  Hilarious collections of  humor, on frame at a time THE FAR SIDE

one of my favorites:

Gary Larsons Farside cat and fish….

A  image…  one  frame of a drama that is taking place in Bobs Pet store….
Our mind fills out what has taken place previously, the irony.. the contempt and defeat felt by the  propt up Hero (or villain).
The result is laughter!

for more provocative images , visit Fun with Gestalt Images:
Click on the thumbnail Below:

Gestalt Cube peel away

Fun With Gestalt


Fun With Gestalt images


A Gestalt Chalice

When You look at the Image above which do you see first?
the white silhouette  figures of two heads ?
or a black Chalice?
or something completely different?


  • How bout one to the Right?
  • The image of a womans Face?
  • or a the profile of a jazzman saxophone player?

Gestalt psychology was introduced by Max Wertheimer  in the late 1800s. The  first fundamental is:  we perceive  in organized  groups or wholes.

In the pictures above are mostly black and white  blotches. we see a chalice faces or a saxophone player through a holistic process called  “insight”.
are eyes  take in the black and white undefined shades,
This stuff is compared with our memory, expectations and the rest of the biology of our brains…
reificationand  we organize the images into the form of Faces, Jazz men  triangles that we see in these images.

If you see a Triangle in the left image, you will note that the three lines of triangle are not even in the picture.

A very simple way to explain  this holistic process of forming  the “gestalts” in these images are:

This simple graph of how we perceive…
becomes more complicated if as we try define “expectation”, “Biology”, and “memory” and learned behaviors separately in this graph, also if we represent conscious and subconscious with circles. Express this entire over  a period of time, a graph can be quite interesting.

just for fun try the following:
Red,  Black,  Yellow, Green, White,  Orange.

Quickly  say the Color of Each word… (not what the word spells out)



Find this difficult to say the right color?  supposedly this is because  are stored knowledge of learning colors,
is in a different part of the brain than,
where the brain stores the learned knowledge of language. This creates a conflict when trying to communicate whats observed.
What a complicated process perception is!