Don’t (just) believe your eyes:: heuristics + complexity = guesswork

The perils of making assumptions about the integrity of an object, individual, entity, etc. are beautifully summed up in the familiar expression “never judge a book by its cover”! Despite this knowledge, I will guarantee that we have all done it, regretted it, learnt a (sometimes painful) lesson and moved on. But that still doesn’t stop us from making misjudgements again and again in our daily lives. It’s human nature. Heuristics is a very useful ally to marketers as they can exploit it to “mask a multitude of sins”!

We need to be aware of our own limitations when it comes to dealing with the highly complex. And it doesn’t get more complex than the human body or the digital world of molecular engineering and nano technology. Hence the brief science lesson:

In excess of 99.9% of the “Electromagnetic Spectrum” (below) is outwith our visible spectrum i.e. it is hidden or “invisible” but it is there and it contains information that could, literally, make the difference between life or death!

electro m_spectrumYou may or may not already know, that Electromagnetic waves travel at the speed of light in a vacuum

The electromagnetic spectrum is a family of light-like radiation that has both a particle and wave nature. This family includes: gamma rays, X-rays, ultraviolet, light, infra red, microwaves and radio waves.

The list graphic shows the most energetic, with the shortest wavelength, first to the least energetic with the longest wavelengths.

They are measured in nanometre (symbol nm),a unit of length in the metric system, equal to one billionth of a metre.

high frequency = short wavelength = high energy = more dangerous

The properties of light are also true for all members of this family; the speed is 3 x 108 m/s, reflection and refraction still occurs. Light will reflect off a glass mirror and a gamma ray will pass through the mirror, therefore these forms of radiation are invisible to the human eye.


Too often, in the absence of information that we can understand and trust, we make assumptions based upon what we are TOLD and the outer appearance i.e. what WE see.

Our senses form part of our very own in-built risk management system! But we don’t KNOW as much as we would like to think 

What do we do when it comes to really big decisions…when we don’t have the opportunity/tools/expertise to establish the FACTS for ourselves?

We seek out the knowledge of those who are suitably trained and equipped to provide insight and understanding that supplements our own knowledge. These “experts” come in a wide variety of shapes and forms: from Doctors to Financial Advisors, Economists to scientists.

Smaller decisions may not immediately affect our health or wealth but, over time, can have huge significance upon the near-term wealth and long term health of fellow global citizens, who, whilst living thousands of miles away, are nonetheless connected to us. So we should be aware, not so much of the power of advertising but of the impact of well-practised ambiguity!

This is why TRANSPARENCY is and must remain so high on the change agenda…otherwise vital information remains hidden.

Do you really think that, if the Food & Pharmaceuticals lobbies weren’t so monied and, therefore powerful, we would still have to scrutinise the (very) small print and misleading ‘marketing-speak’ on everyday items in the Supermarkets? We are facing the huge healthcare costs of an ‘obesity epidemic’ – much of it induced and fed by man-made interference with foodstuffs, that increases margins for the Corporations who promote over-production, over-consumption and excess, because it brings them and their naive shareholders the returns that they, apparently, crave above all else.

Knowing what we know now, would your kids believe how long the tobacco lobby held-out? Can you believe it? Same with insurers and Asbestosis? So what about peak oil and global warming: fact?; fiction?; worth a gamble?

So, even in the current economic climate, where a counter-intuitive flight to quality is evident, we need, if not expertise then, insight. The ‘more discerning’ or savvy consumers seek out marks of authenticity, traceability or quality assured. Sadly though, too often, the integrity of quality stamps (such as Fairtrade) have been compromised – should that be corrupted? – by the influence of big business, intent upon furthering their own ends…at any price.

Without access to detailed information we TRUST experts and organisations that espouse VALUES we identify with, to act in our best interests. To provide insight from their subject knowledge (based upon information that have access to that we do not because it is hidden or deliberately obscured) to aid their or our decision-making processes.

Ontonix are able to equip business owners with the tools to see the unseen and to develop expertise in a subject dear to their heart (and wallet!)…their own business:


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