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Perspective and Illusion

36 37 conTexTual clues seeing what youre looking for It is not easy to see things as they really are. The mind continually attempts to overlay the safe and predictable reality it expects. Take the words in the picture opposite top try and repeatedly read aloud the colours of the type, rather than the words. Confused Look at the white triangles below, except there are no white triangles. Can you see a face in the rock opposite lower left If youre not careful you could start seeing faces everywhere. How many interpretations of the archaeological survey opposite lower right can you find And what about the image below centre Once you have seen what it is, your brain will never cease to remind you when you look at it. Why do we look for patterns quite so much From childhood, patterns of materials, shapes and functions sink in, so that years later when we see a ceramic bowl, we know it will hold soup, smash if it is dropped, and can even imagine the side of it we cannot see. Our roles in life, choices of friends, enemies, partners, political parties, tastes and personal habits are all limited by illusory patterns we have reinforced with our experiences. Above Quickly say aloud the colours of the words, not the words themselves. The automatic nature of pattern recognition gets in the way. Below left This natural rock near Chermoog in Armenia shows the face of the 5th century Saint Vartan from Simulacra, by John Michell. Below right The brain continually hypothesises about what the eyes see. Here various possible huts from one survey after Richard Gregory.
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