Since we want to talk about the nature of our world, whether it is real or a deep illusion, let us start with a simple experiment. Consider the attached figure, those lines seem unmistakably slanting, but what if you knew that – in fact – they are perfectly parallel? Do you doubt that information? Well, you can use a ruler to make sure it is completely parallel without a single mistake. You can also try to cover the gaps between parallel lines with any image editing program.
This is a variation of what we call the “cafe wall illusion (1)”, but the most striking is undoubtedly the “chessboard illusion (2)”, designed by Edward Edison, professor of optics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 1990s. The chessboard squares are a different color only according to their position on the board, meaning that there are two squares of the same color, your eye will see them in two different colors because of their different positions! (Consider the elbows video and design). https://www.youtube.com/embed/iYb2hOVLXAQ?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en-US&autohide=2&wmode=transparent
Philosophers use optical illusions for a variety of purposes. For example, to justify the difference between seeing something and “seeing it as”, meaning that we realize that there is a difference between seeing something and recognizing it, but what is most striking is undoubtedly when we contemplate the reason that leads us to see things as they are not true. The point We can start with a simple question: Can you notice the movement of your eyes as you move between objects in front of you?
Our eyes move on average four times per second. If we imagine that our eyes are a camera that takes four pictures every second, and it is really like this, there is a very small time distance between each picture that you take. We mean during that movement from right to left, for example, where You go that distance? Why does the world seem so clear to us that it does not move and we do not notice any breaks between our eye movements between its components?
Let us at that point contemplate what we call the “stopping clock illusion” (3). Certainly it happened once that you moved your eyes to notice that clock hanging on the wall, and you may have always been surprised that the moment you look at the second hand, Just at that moment, it feels as if the second hand has stopped working for a short while.
The reason is that your brain, during the transfer of your eyes to the second hand, catches a very special thread and connects the two pieces of reality – the previous and the next – so the scene in front of you becomes complete, this happens unconsciously, but because there is already a period of time elapsed during the transfer of your eyes to the second hand, It is a very small period during which the brain does not receive any data, it adds it to the next scene directly, so it seems as if the second hand has stopped for a while.
To better understand that point, let’s go to the South Korean city of Busan. We are now in May of 2012, very close to that historic moment when the famous Australian player Samuel Groth set a new record that no one has been able to break until today. He fired his service on one of the strikes in the Busan Professional Tennis Tournament at a speed of 263 kilometers per hour (4), which means that in just a third of a second that Groth ball can cross the entire tennis court, which is a tremendous speed for a car on the highway For example, as well as for the human brain.
We know that the speed at which the electrochemical signals flow in our bodies (5) is about 430 kilometers per hour, which leaves us about a tenth of a second to complete a perceptual process such as vision, meaning that in order to realize that there is something in front of you, that sentence that you are reading now, for example, it takes At least to a tenth of a second for the light-receiving neurons to form an image of the sentence and transmit it to its perceptual areas in the brain.
The problem that Groot’s opponent faces in that match is that – to realize that there is a serving ball coming towards him – he needs a tenth of a second, but in that short period, with a simple calculation, we find that the ball will have traveled a full 7 meters, which means that it will be It reached him before he realizes its existence, then how can he stop it ?!
In the same way that the brain used a little while ago in the case of the second hand, in his book The Brain: The Story of You, David Eagleman, an American neuroscientist at Stanford University, explains that idea, saying that our human brain knows that there is Separating the event from its perception, so this player on the opposite side of the tennis court will actually jump before the ball reaches him to hit it, but he will not hit it in its position, but rather in the position it is expected to reach after ten seconds, this happens unconsciously, opponent Growth won’t realize it. Our brain doesn’t know the “present” in the understandable sense, but it pushes you to treat its expectations as the present.
Our brains are trapped inside a skull that resembles a dark cave, communicating with the outside world through sensory tools, such as touch, hearing, and sight, but you mistakenly think that the brain’s function is to read this reality only as it is accurately reaching a number of photons or sound waves, as if printing a file. Word “or just take a picture and print it inside as it is, except that the brain’s job is not to present reality, but to interpret it in an easily digestible form.”
To understand this idea more deeply, we can consider the hypothesis developed by Hermann von Helmholtz (6), a German physician, physicist and mathematician, nearly two centuries ago when he said that the brain is a “guessing” machine. In a clearer sense, what we perceive about the world is not the world itself. In fact, our brain’s best guess about this world, it brings us back to optical illusions. When you look at the optical illusions that we presented previously, the visual information coming to your brain confirms that the “A” and “B” squares are of the same color, and confirms that the two lines are parallel, but your brain does not try to rely on that data alone, but rather uses its experiences to create an integrated image that interprets Reality, and in some cases, his guesswork outweighs the data coming from outside.
Hermann von Helmholtz’s idea develops in a contemporary way to become the so-called “Bayesian brain hypothesis (7)”, to imagine that someone lived in a dark cave all his life, and his parents were conspiracy theorists and were terrified of an upcoming nuclear war, so they decided to keep him away in the forests adjacent to the city. Then, for some reason, part of this cave collapsed, so our friend went out into the world and saw, for the first time in his life, the day of the Earth. It is an enchanting sight that cannot be believed, our friend wished that this would happen again, so he could enjoy it as much as possible.
With sunrise and sunset on the first day, our friend had a 50% chance that the sun would return to rise tomorrow, and he did not know anything about the future of something like this, and then it actually happened that the sun rose on the next day, so that confirmed to him some degree that the sunrise It is a continuous process, and every additional day was an additional update of the information that confirms that the sun will still shine every day, of course that is not completely certain, but the chances of the opposite happening are less than that we care about the matter.
The probability in this case, which is called the Bayesian statistic (8), expresses a certain degree of belief in an event, the belief that can change whenever new information is added. In the beginning, this person’s belief that everything is possible, but little by little developed in him A conviction – based on the experience he gradually gained – that the sun will rise tomorrow, this is also, according to that hypothesis, what is happening in your brain. For example, when you wear a new watch, the same thing happens, its weight in your hands remains a feeling you pay attention to for a while, but your brain over time adds the load of the watch in your hands to its experience little by little.
Our brains are guessing machines, this is done with the potential to participate in 90 billion brain cells, that is their best mechanism for adapting to this world, in fact it cannot easily perceive the tremendous adaptive capabilities of our brains, but for a close understanding let us imagine that you wore (9) very special glasses. I put optical lenses in it that cause everything that lies below to flip to the top and vice versa, in which case you will look in front of you to find everything upside down, your friend who talks to you with his head down and his feet up, the bed on top, and the lights on the ceiling below https://www.youtube.com/embed/MHMvEMy7B9k?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en-US&autohide=2&wmode=transparent
For a while, you think that you can never bear glasses like that on your eyes, you will immediately stumble and fall on the ground, this is really what will happen in the first days of wearing glasses, but after two weeks of wearing them you will be able to ride a bike and draw, and with time you will be able to write, it happens. This is because not only is the information coming from outside what determines your cognitive abilities, but your brain uses the experiences it has developed over your entire lifetime to interpret that information in a holistic manner that is easy to digest.
Imagine that the brain is a skilled engineer, making the structure of a huge building that depends on the rules of time, place, pressure, force, etc. in this world, a ready-made structure that has developed with your age in the same way that our friend developed his ideas about the sunrise a little while ago, with every packet of data entering it Your brain changes in that structure based on the data entered into it, but it remains a whole structure whose parts are all together. From that point of view, the goal of the brain is not to obtain information, the goal is to create a reality that is easy to perceive and to set aside what is inconsistent with that.
At that point, let us consider one of the most famous – and surprising – cases of perceptual delusions, it is what we call the “McGurk effect” (10), which indicates that what we hear is influenced by what we see. You may be surprised at that, because you often feel that there is this clear interval. Between sight and hearing, if someone – as you will notice in the attached video – utters the word “Bar” regularly and then you watch his lips move like someone uttering the word “Bar”, then we will realize that this is the word “Bar”, the matter is simple, but when the same word is pronounced while the movement changes The speaker’s lips are as if he is uttering the word “Far”, you will hear “Far”, do you want to make sure of that? Close your eyes while the speaker’s lips appear to be saying “Far”. https://www.youtube.com/embed/G-lN8vWm3m0?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en-US&autohide=2&wmode=transparent
This happens because our brains, as we talked a while ago in the case of optical illusions, always try to guess the best possible complete picture of the scene, if a conflict occurs, and this conflict is within a smaller set of possibilities, they may displace it directly, and although the spoken word is inevitably Bar, entered through your ear to your brain like this, it will perceive “Far”, despite the real data!
Well, that must be really interesting and questionable, what we see around us – simply put – is nothing but the way our brains interpret what is actually around us in a form that we can easily digest, but although what we perceive is not reality, it cannot be Never fully realize this reality out there, because what we perceive is the closest thing to a distorted reality that we all agree on!