Gestalt, Gestel, Posture

There is a difference between what is and what is perceived. And perception depends on the make-up or focus of the receiver. I, for example, do not see color or facial expressions in people. The form of an object impresses itself. For example, the spouse’s long bowed legs.

That is the gestalt. What the word means in psychology, I do not know. I do know that in German “gestel” refers to posture that signals agitation or distress (unwarranted) to an interested but dismissive observer. In English that is subsumed in the less judgmental “body language.” The German imputes intent. Perhaps Germans are less aware of instinctive behavior. EuroAmerican law largely gives instinct and impulse a pass. Is this an example of condescension? Without intent there is innocence. But then innocence is not a positive, is it? So, innocent victims actually deserve what they get because they did not “know better?”

Is posture intentional or instinctive? I suppose in the actor it is intentional. In the inattentive person, it is probably the result of habitual muscle engagement. That is how partners come to resemble each other, by mimicking facial expressions. Children and parents, too.

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So, gestalt psychology is focused on the nature of the perceived, rather than the capabilities or functions of the perceiver–what is seen, rather than what sees. That what one sees depends on who sees seems not to have been considered. Were all these original (male) thinkers unaware of themselves?