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The characteristically unequal emphasis in human visual perception on a figure, which stands out against an undifferentiated background, which merely contributes to that perception. This unequal emphasis is found in the distinction between a word and its context between an organism and its environment or between pattern and chance. There are many visual examples of figure and ground reversals which are the equivalents of paradoxes. cybernetics has synthesised the paradoxes arising out of this alternating emphasis by the construction of systems of interacting subsystems in which each is simultaneously a figure in its own right and part of the background for the other subsystems. (Krippendorff)
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