There is more going on in reality than meets the eyes

Selective Attention–You Cannot Trust Your Eyes For All That Is Real

# 65 on my, 99 Life Tips–A List is: You cannot trust your eyes for all that is real.

“So I give you my eyes, and all of their lies

Please help them to learn as well as to see”

~ Grateful Dead: Black-Throated Wind

One of the best examples of this truth is this video, known as the Monkey Business Illusion.

How did you do?

Selective Attention is a thing

We have eyes only on the fronts of our heads. This means in order to see something, we must face it. You can only see in the direction you’re looking. Does this mean that nothing exists in outside your field of vision? Of course not, but it means you must look for and look at something in order to see it.

Add to this the fact that it is not the eyes that see. It is your brain. Neuroscientists know that the brain create and feeds an image of the world into our conscious perception of reality. It generates a moment-by-moment hallucination. How weird is that? The ramification is that we’re always playing catch up to the present, and that what our brains show us via the openings in front of our heads is the best-case prediction of what the next millisecond ought to look like.

And even within your field of vision, as the video linked above shows, about 50% of viewers don’t see something even if it happens in the direction they’re looking. I didn’t the first time I watched the video, which my children could have easily predicted. They’ve known for years the easiest way to hide something from me is to hide it in plain sight. We won’t see what we aren’t paying attention to, or if we are distracted by giving attention to something else. For me, that’s often a book (which means I can’t hear, either).

But I’ve had the belief for as long as I can remember that there is more going on in reality than meets the eyes. Of course, we know that to be true scientifically. The fact that you cannot see in the infrared spectrum doesn’t mean bees cannot. They do in fact. And they see well into the ultraviolet spectrum, well beyond human visual capability.  It’s speculated that venomous snakes see infrared as heat signatures as well, so be careful out there.

The point of my tip is that our eyes are not the final determinants as to what is real. Without a long harangue about metaphysics and the nature of consciousness and reality in general, suffice it to say that, while you can trust your eyes for the tasks they’re well suited for, you cannot trust your eyes for all that is real. 

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  1. Pingback: 99 Life Tips – A List : Greg Proffit Writing

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