Saturday, August 25, 2012


Today I'm going to talk about illusions, hallucinations, and other tricks of the mind. Have you ever heard something and been so sure of it only to find out you were the only one to hear it? Perhaps see a shadow in the corner of your eye only to look and nothing is there. While we perceive many things in many ways for now I'm sticking to sensory perception.

The mind is interesting in many ways. One interesting thing is that people tend to find what they're looking for, even if it's not there. If you want to see a face enough you'll start seeing it in random things. The slight bumps on a wall from paint, or some leaves in the trees, or any other place you can or can't think of. This can go even further into focusing so much that you become blinded to other things. This object blindness or selective perception interestingly has a counter part of perception manifestation in which your mind can completely see feel and sense an object in it's entirety. You want to see something so hard to the point you mind can literally create it for you. Though others may not recognize it at all it's interesting how real it can actually be. I've come across this once where I wanted so desperately to see an old friend that she happened to appear at the hospital I was in visiting a friend while she was there under the pretense of eye surgery. We caught up and spent the day together. I even held her hand, gave her a hug, and could remember the strong smell of her shampoo. When I went to visit her at her house a couple days later I found out she'd been dead for over a week. I was just in time for the funeral. Interestingly enough there was someone in the room at the hospital I thought she was in and they were getting an eye surgery, information I didn't really have prior to coming back to find out who I'd been talking to. Turns out I had been reported as talking to myself all over the hospital. Though I think that's only because this was before the age of cell phones and I was a very scary looking guy at the time. Moving on.

Object blindness or those of you interested more on the subject look up semantic agnosia or visual agnosia. Without going into the medical side more along the lines of the human side of it, the experience if you will. Opening a cupboard looking for perhaps a spice or a can of something moving things around looking everywhere for it, and yet you just can't seem to find it. Then someone comes over and picks it up from right in front of your face. Interestingly I've found this happens to more people when dealing the fridge, and in particular mustard or ketchup / condiments. Not sure why though. In that case I'm not talking about it's just back deep in the fridge where you actually can't see it, I'm talking about it's in the door or right in front of the milk right in the front and despite the fact you can clearly see it your mind does not. This also happens when you're simply distracted, perhaps lost in conversation you can easily walk right into a door, a wall, a pole, or just about anything really. Not really sure where I was going with this so I'll simply move on again.

Relating back to the mind seeing what it wants to see comes illusions. The intentional manipulation of senses in a calculated way to cause perception of illogical events. The idea being usually for entertainment showing how the mind can play tricks on itself.  This is also a common tactic of thieves interestingly. While you're busy watching the action, or whatever is right in front of you, you're missing the subtle movements in the background. The idea is to deliberately cause you to focus so hard your mind starts to ignore everything else, like the moon dancing gorilla. I know that's not what it actually was, but I also did post what it was in a previous post, object impermanence I believe? Basically you're busy watching the movements of various people, maybe counting how many times the ball is passed between people with a specific color shirt what have you, and in the mean time someone in a suit walks right through the action and you end up not seeing them at all because of your focus. It's worth considering the next time it seems like something is trying to take up all your attention as to whether or not it's actually covering up for something else going on that doesn't want any of your attention.

Today's blog is in dedication of my dear friend who died of leukemia.

1 comment:

  1. So sorry to hear about your friend.

    But this also explains why the Bloody Mary trick works and why it continues to work. The mind just starts seeing faces and distortions in the mirror.