I have learned something over the past week. Twice now I have made faulty observations on the internet. Once I looked at a picture and thought I saw something I didn’t (I was actually viewing a different type of car instead), and just yesterday I saw a comment made by one person and it was actually made by another. I apologized in both instances and that’s no big deal when it happens every now and again, after all even Holmes and Spock made occasional mis-observations. It happens to everyone. Haste, distraction, lack of full information, wrong information, lack of proper focus, these types of things work against everyone on occasion and inevitably (if not corrected or compensated for) lead to human miscalculations.

But two such mistaken observations in so short a time period out of a well-trained observer?

I am an astute and accurate observer on almost every occasion, being long trained for just that.

I have however apparently found a noticeable fault or defect in my observational skills. One which I must learn to compensate for.

By long practice going long periods of time without sleep barely effects my observational skills to any detectable degree. I have learned through habit and practice to let my focus drift easily through tiredness and exhaustion but when it is really required then to for brief periods of time sharply focus my attention on my target to compensate. Even if exhausted or having gone through long periods of sleeplessness I generally hold a certain part of my consciousness in “reserve” so that when it is needed I can call upon it to make accurate observations regardless of how tired I might be. I’ve been able to do that since I was a kid. And I’ve honed that skill over time until it is instinctive and reflexive.

When I am in pain I have over time learned to use the pain itself as a focusing and observational tool, running my observations down the length of my pain to sharpen my focus, when needed, of a person or a situation. The pain itself becomes a line of focus which will actually sharpen my observations and intensify my sensory perceptions. This is an especially useful ability when sympathizing with a victim or analyzing a crime scene from the victimological point of view. Pain allows me to sharply focus my observations along the same basic lines as how the victim must have likely viewed a situation as it occurred. So pain can actually be very useful for me as an observational tool in those types of situations.

Usually though I face exhaustion and chronic pain as separate entities or occurrences, not a sort of “combined force.”

But apparently long periods (a week or so) of chronic pain coupled with sleeplessness (in this case because my injury makes sleep difficult – I am not suffering insomnia as much as pained sleeplessness or foreshortened periods of rest) has both such a dulling effect upon my focus and such a distracting effect upon my senses that it skews my observational capabilities. Badly.

I begin to see things that are not there, or to be more accurate I tend to “displace people, actions, objects, or events from one source to another.”

Apparently this is similar in some ways to my mind fighting a two front war. One war is against exhaustion (the sleeplessness which dulls my observations), the other against distraction (the chronic pain displacing my attention and focus from one thing to another). This is the conclusion I have reached anyway and it seems a logical one to me. The evidence (of how my observational methods and skills have been recently skewed) seems to support the hypothesis.

Now, being forewarned and having made a probably accurate diagnosis as to the cause, I will need to discover a method to compensate for such a set of circumstances in the future. More rest and the reduction of chronic pain being obvious lines of resolution, however there may very well be times in the future where I face this same set of circumstances in a way I cannot immediately resolve through either pain alleviation or accumulating rest. So I should figure out a method of compensation, just to be sure.

And now that I am aware of this observational defect I am also aware of the limitations (or a chief one in any case) on my observational capabilities. Forewarned being forearmed.

Nevertheless, at the moment, I still don’t have an effective or real solution to this defect and limitation.

Maybe in time I can now devise one.

We’ll see.