It was the merit of Gestalt psychology to make us aware of the remarkable performance involved in perceiving shapes. Take, for example, a ball or an egg: we can see their shapes at a glance. Yet suppose that instead of the impression made on our eye by an aggregate of white points forming the surface of an egg, we were presented with another, logically equivalent, presentation of these points as given by a list of their spatial co-ordinate values. It would take years of labour to discover the shape inherent in this aggregate of figures - provided it could be guessed at all. The perception of the egg from the list of co-ordinate values would, in fact, be a feat rather similar in nature and measure of intellectual achievement to the discovery of the Copernican system.

It was the merit of Gestalt psychology to make us...
Michael Polanyi

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