Reed's book is evidently a labor of love. It tells the story of a "distinguished dissident" who felt reluctantly compelled by the evidence he encountered in his research to question views that had been taken for granted for centuries. Reed tells us that the implications of Gibson's revolution have only rarely been understood.
"There are some 20,000 psychologists in this country alone [in 19661], nearly all of whom seem to be busily applying psychology to problems of life and personality. They seem to feel, many of them, that all we need to do is consolidate our scientific gains. Their self-confidence astonishes me. For these gains seem to me puny, and scientific psychology seems to me ill-founded. At any time the whole psychological applecart might be upset. Let them beware!"
Gibson wants us to go back to square one and to start again from the indubitable fact that we, like any other animal, do successfully interact with our environment, what biologists now call our ecological niche," by looking, listening, sensing, and moving. Instead of making this fact the starting point of their investigations psychologists had actually tried to prevent their subjects from gaining awareness of their surroundings.
The difficulties he presents and the profits he offers are of a different kind. What he asks us mainly to do is to unlearn. Our entire education has been geared to making us distrust our senses and slightly to look down on those who confuse their subjective experiences with objective facts.
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