Archive for October, 2011

Akiyoshi’s illusion pages.

Visual illusions occur when what the eye sees and how the brain interprets it, differ. Prof. Akiyoshi KITAOKA creates visual illusions to show us the difference between reality and what we perceive.

Our minds are very tricky places. if we don’t pay attention to what is going on around us, it is likely our perception will mislead us. Our senses are designed to help us understand the world we are experiencing. they are all taking in information at different rates of speed, and that information is being processed in different parts of the brain. What this means is that in a split second, an event will occur, and our senses take it again. The information is processed in corresponding parts of our brain, then, consolidated, all in that same instance, to offer us perspective.

Years ago I read a short, sweet, simple book by Stephen Batchelor entitled Buddhism without beliefs. A story he relates is useful here.

One day he goes to his garden shed in the backyard. He needs to get a rake. when he opens the door to the shed and peers into the gloomy darkness, he sees a snake laying on the floor, coming towards him. In an instance, his body comes alive. Adrenaline pours through his system. His flight or fight response is activated. His ancient amygdala signals fear, and readies him for the worst. In the next moment he recognizes the snake is only a rope laying on the floor. He takes his rake, and walks to the garden.

I think it’s important we understand it’s the power that our minds have in our lives. I think it’s important that we understand that what our perception of something is, is not always correct. Optical illusions remind us that our brain sometimes plays tricks on us. It’s not a malicious kind of playing, but instead, it is doing what it is designed to do.

It is us who are designed to use discernment. We must learn to question our perceptions.

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