Everyone learns to recognize patterns early in life: our mother’s face, behaviors that are acceptable, the turns in the road that take us home. We unconsciously look for patterns everywhere because it is a trusted method of learning. We also learn to assign intent or meaning to patterns, for example narrowed eyes, flared nostrils, and clenched teeth instantly signal danger. By developing informational patterns, we compile a set of self-proven facts that help shape our beliefs. We rely on the informational patterns to assess our surroundings and evaluate the options we confront when making choices. Particularly when challenged with the unknown, we look for familiar patterns—patterns we have identified as truths.
However, sometimes patterns can fool us. Ever look at a photo and initially see one image that suddenly becomes another? (http://www.optical-illusionist.com/illusions/rubin-vase-illusion) If the patterns we identify and rely on are wrong or misinterpreted, we make erroneous decisions, choices, and assumptions. In doing so, we construct a truth or reality that may be based on a variety of details having little to do with irrefutable evidence. Therefore, what we perceive as truth is colored by variables such as familial teachings, peer pressure, education, life experiences, and cultural reinforcements. Rarely do any of us studiously weigh the pros and cons of circumstances, and then choose the most logical and rational conclusion, especially if the logical outcome contradicts with previously held beliefs. Instead, we filter information through the personally biased, life-view filter of theories, assumptions, hunches, and prejudices we have amassed through learned informational patterns. We then sort through the body of data with that set of truths and select data that conforms to what we already believe, sometimes ignoring, or rationalizing away, those that are disconcerting.
There is nothing wrong with using our information patterns to make decisions or understand circumstances. It is the blatant disregard or rationalization of the information that does not readily fit our established beliefs that is problematic. Unable to recognize familiar patterns, claims of alteration, manipulation and fabrication became the mantra for some. Failing to see anticipated patterns, they imagine there must be sinister intent. The power of expectation then drives their choices. They expect alternation, manipulation, and deception. Subsequently, they find it.
However, not everything unfamiliar or not readily comprehended is altered or intentionally designed to result in ominous chaos. Sometimes there are alternate explanations, alternate explanations that are familiar informational patterns to others. This is why we must share information, and be open to new evidence. It enriches our knowledge base, and sharpens our cognitive skills. When that happens, we need to be flexible, incorporate the new information, and if necessary create new beliefs. This represents intellectual growth.
This learning concept can be applied to the Kennedy assassination. New forensic research should be incorporated into established informational patterns to determine accurate conclusions. We can now scientifically prove a single, front head shot from a location near the south end of the triple overpass. Yet, some researchers cling to the Grassy Knoll as the origin for the fatal head shot. They claim almost 50 years of experience prove them right. Those who have been researching the assassination for almost half a century without changing the theories or beliefs they established the first year they started are mired in the past. Maintaining the same information learned in the first year is not 50 years of intellectual growth or experience. It is just one year of knowledge experienced 50 times. In addition, in this case, believing something for 50 years doesn’t make it accurate, it just makes it old news.