Perception is Everything

Posted on July 14, 2009

Whew, it seems like there has been such contention in the forums lately; a little more one-sidedness, a little less understanding. There’s more of "my way or the highway" and less of "can we talk about this and maybe get somewhere?" I’ve seen name-calling, words dripping with sarcasm, and someone keeps singing a song I don’t know. . . something about kumbaya. Is that like gumbo? I reckon it must be the heat doing this to everyone, eh? We’re not really that kind of people, are we – you know the ones who won’t listen to a thing and use brown-shirt tactics to shout others down? I cannot believe that. Fiddle dee dee – I just won’t believe that we have come to that!

I’ve come across a few little games that you might be interested in playing. They are a great way to pass the time on a break at work, or at home and all you have to do is watch them and think. But I believe you might learn something as well. This first one – well, you’ve all heard of Left Brained and Right Brained thinking, haven’t you? It’s not bad or good to think left or right brained – and if you sometimes think with one, then the other hemisphere – that’s okay, too!

I hope that helps you understand a bit about our differing opinions. Its not necessarily that one or the other of us are’right’ or ‘wrong’ all the time – we may well just be thinking with different hemispheres of our brain, and so different things become most important – or stand out to us.

Another thing that might explain differences of opinion or perception is the point of view from which you are viewing the object, or the concept. An example of this can be see in an anamorphism. Anamorphism is a distorted projection or perspective. An early example of this is seen in the next video. In 1485, Leonard da Vinci painted this anamorphism, called Leonardo’s eye. Can you see how at first – with a full view of the painting lying flat – it appears to be just some lines. When it is rotated into the proper perspective; however, we all can easily see that it is an eye, seemingly peering out at us from the canvas. This is called a slant anamorphisis.

This cute litte zombie, whose head appears to move about and who seems to be watching you from every direction in which he is turned is another example of that. Some anamorphs use a conical or cylndrical mirror placed on a flat object to transform a flat, distorted image into a three dimensional picture that can be viewed from many angles. In the case of the little zombie, his head is drawn flat and then pasted into a cone, which in turn gives his head the illusion of moving and following us about. Isn’t he cute?

Last, I give to you a really neat phenonema. It’s called a Necker cube. It’s an example of ambiguity and object reversability. Necker cubes are used in epistemology – the study of knowledge. It counters naive realism – also known as direct or common sense realism. Y’all know that argument about naive realism – that the way WE perceive the world is the way it REALLY is? Necker cubes disprove that thought – while we see the lines as a cube – they are not really – they are a drawing of some lines on a flat paper – two dimensional. This negation of naive realism supports a theory of representative realism. Now, this becomes a weighty subject – it has been debated for many centuries back to Aristotle himself and is a philosophical concept equivalent to the accepted view of perception in natural science. I have no wish to argue, nor debate such weighty issues in this heat. Anyway – I am just a humble woman as you all know and quite unworthy of such a feat. Suffice it to say – all of my little tricks here – this little bit of magic, this small excusion into the realm of neuroscience is only to serve as fodder for thought for all of you real intellectuals. I offer them up, humbly – much as I would a bouquet of blossoms, some tea and biscuits or even drinks were you visiting me – only for your edification and enjoyment. I do; however, hope they prove thought -provoking.

Having said all that to say this – I want to leave you with this really beautiful video about Carl Sagan’s thin blue dot. Perhaps if you consider my little offerings…and then think of what a small and wonderful place we are all crowded into – you can see why I hope it’s only the heat causing all this contention – this fanatical clinging to one way of thought, when in reality there are so many different perspectives on anything – even on that thin blue dot.

Perhaps then, you’ll realize – in the words of Mitch Albom, " that each affects the other and the other affects the next, and the world is full of stories, but the stories are all one."

[Just the thoughts of one humble southern woman on a hot summer afternoon . . .


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4 responses to Perception is Everything

  1. Wait, are you talking about our forums? Are there like a hundred hidden posts that I don’t know about? Francis, are you hiding things from me???

  2. No, she means the forums on the "Daily World" website.
    We are pretty peaceful here.
    Mind, that will probably change one day.

    The video on the "pale blue dot" is spot on.
    My sentiments entirely. In fact, I think an awful lot of my outlook on things is summed up by that little video.
    I tend to think it’s partly a matter of "horizons". How far do people look, in space and time?

    Good write, Missy Katie.

  3. Actually, it was DA forum…but what does it matter? I am convinced that whereever you get too much testosterone pumping in close quarters…well – it ain’t pretty. And they say women are …..? Yeah right!

    Allright, you two…which way did she twirl for you? That’s what I wanna know!

  4. She went both ways; first one way, then the other….?

    Does that make me….gay? Weird? or just dizzy????

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