I Don't Believe in Seeing Anymore
Yesterday, at work, Jesse told me about a strange phenomena in which an optical illusion(The video above shows the illusion she told me about--it's funny, even though I know the illusion, I can't get my eyes to see a concave mask.) is shown to schizophrenic people and mentally "normal" or healthy people. Odd conclusion: Every single "normal" person was fooled by the illusion. Every single schizophrenic person saw the image is at truly was. What does this mean about what we call "normal?" If a schizophrenic person sees the truth, does a schizophrenic person also hear the truth, while the rest of us are sort of paranormally "deaf?"
This makes me think of how limited we are by our senses. We make conclusions about what is true, real, relevant, etc., based on our five senses: sight, scent, touch, taste, and hearing. But should we always trust our senses explicitly? It occurs to me that the phrase "seeing is believing" has become obsolete. Certainly at one time, it was true. If you saw a great feat, it was true even if unlikely. But now--Now perhaps we can not always believe what we see.
Take Gollum for instance, in the Lord of the Rings movies. If seeing was indeed believing, we would be forced to conclude that that creature is real, alive, and existing in the universe. Of course, humans have been drawing likenesses and representations of fantastical animals and beings for many hundreds of years, and I am not tempted to consider them real. There is a question of realism and context.A sketch of a griffin or a hippogriff is clearly something created by a human. It is not, as an individual, a real creature. I can tell this because it is two dimensional, it does not move, and though the image is recognizable as a representation, it is not exact.
Gollum, relative to his landscape, in the context of the movie scene, satisfies many of my requirements for reality. He looks realistic, he appears to be solid, he interacts with the things and people around him, he makes sounds, appears to have thoughts and needs.
The only reason I know Gollum is not a real creature is because I have been told that he is fictional, that creatures like him do not exist. I have been taught which things are real and which are fantastical. But had I not been taught these things, I would certainly believe in Gollum. I have been deceived by talented artists and a clever computer program.
But now that I know such deception is possible, I must distrust anything I perceive with my five senses. Logically. But human beings are not, by nature, logical. We are emotional, often driven by what we want rather than what we need. What a human needs for survival and procreation is very simple: food, water, safety, moderate temperatures, and other humans. But our emotional, illogical natures allow us to suppose, to plan, to question, to imagine those things past hunger, thirst, safety, and sex. And as soon as we have thought of these kind of life-accessories, we are not satisfied with what we have. Survival is not enough anymore. We must also be happy. We have built a world to satisfy our curiosity and make ups happy. Sometimes the things we do backfire on us, and we end up destroying much that we've created. But our mistakes are inevitable, and the fact that we may learn from them makes us human.