Perception and Negative Space

25 Apr

Another interesting conversation today, this one much more productive than the last.  This one centered around the book “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”:

I have never been much of a graphic artist, or any form of visual artist – my tendency leaning more toward the  performing arts.  So naturally, I have always wanted to be able draw but never had the patience to sit down and practice.

Anyhoo… that is not what I wanted to talk about today… the lesson I learned from the conversation was that of Negative Space.   The handy-dandy did not go beyond ‘negative’ … alas dictionaries are limited in conceptual matters…. sigh.  So, I turned to Wikipedia, which – despite nay-saying academic disdain – I find to be a rather wonderful tool for basic information.

On this subject, the definition is quite straight forward – negative space is “the space around and between the subject(s) of an image” (for more info: but what I really gained was a concept of looking beyond rationality.

I posted a quote in a reply to a comment that I want to now put on the front page.

“The greatest strides in scientific knowledge occur not through an additive process, but through fundamental changes in basic assumption.”

— Rudolf Dreikurs
Are Psychological Schools of
Thought Outdated?

What I would like to do with my thoughts on Self-Concept is challenge some basic assumptions – not out of rebellion or disagreement – but as a way to understand from  the ground up.  I would like to use the concept of negative space to do this.  I have challenged myself to find the negative space of my own Self-Concept – I am not really sure how I am going to do this, but somewhere in brain this makes sense… it is almost clear – and I didn’t want to postpone posting this thought until it became clear (see Lost in my Mind) so… apologies for the half-formed idea, but I will stay on this train until it reaches its final destination….

(I was on the train of thought… it was moving… I got a phone call…I missed the station and it was gone…  BUT… I am back on the train and looking at the map)

It is now 1:36 am and I am once again sitting outside of a closed coffee shop, so I am going home to bed.

I found these two websites that I want to better explore before commenting, but I wanted to share them, both are very interesting.

Hope all is well,



Posted by on April 25, 2010 in Confessions


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2 responses to “Perception and Negative Space

  1. Fionna Larcom

    April 25, 2010 at 2:45 PM

    Most definitely… all those who think outside the box are destined for the loony bin at one point or the other. It’s not so bad, they give you the nice sweater that lets you hug yourself aaaallll day long!

    I like the idea of skin separating me from everything that is not me, but my question to you – perhaps the subject for a guest blog?? – how does that apply to emotions? I can’t really speak for the rest of the world, but I know that I have experienced emotions of such magnitude that they seem to gain mass and physicality beyond the boundaries of me. Does that make any sense?

  2. Richard W Scott

    April 25, 2010 at 4:15 AM

    Fionna, this is an experience–or perhaps an understanding–that we share.

    I have two illustrations I use to describe negative space–illustrations I must add, which are neither widely accepted nor well understood–but here they are:

    Take the Taoist symbol, “Taijitu”, or “Yin and Yang”, the symbol for balance. If you remove either component of the symbol, the hole made is precisely that of what was left. In other words, either side creates the other.

    The other idea, and this is the one that rankles a lot of folks, is this. Your skin isn’t what keeps your body in. It is the border between you and the Universe. Like with the Taijitu symbol, you form negative space in the Universe, or perhaps another way to say it is this: “You ARE negative space in the Universe formed by subtracting from it everything that isn’t you.”

    OK, now do I qualify for the loony bin?

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