Saturday, April 4, 2009

Illusions and Reality

A direct link to the above video is at

Here's a link to an article published yesterday at it talks about fascinating new research being conducted at MIT regarding the ways our senses interact with each other.

Have you ever thought about how much our brains are synthesizing the input that comes in from our senses into one coherent whole? With sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste we perceive not five worlds but one. Adding other senses, like equilibrioception (balance and acceleration), thermoception (heat and cold), proprioception (relative positions of the parts of the body), and nociception (physiological pain), only makes us appreciate that much more what a complex set of data is coming in, to be knit together into one experience that becomes our conscious and unconscious observation of the world around us.

The surprising information this MIT study reveals is that it shows how one sense can trump another in surprising ways, as part of the synthesis process we're talking about here. It demonstrates this by using a variation on what's known as the waterfall illusion, which you can read about in the wikipedia article on motion after-effects. The waterfall illusion occurs when you watch falling water for a minute or so, then look over at the rocks and they appear to be slowly rising.

Here's a YouTube video called "LSD Trip" that provides another nice example of motion after-effects:

A direct link to the above video is at

Back in October 2008, in Predicting the Future (Here Come the Aliens), we talked about other optical illusions that demonstrate how much our minds are responsible for what we see around us. A few weeks after I published that entry, there was another article at called "Optical Illusions: Caused by Eye or Brain?", which talked about microsaccades - the tiny involuntary motions of the eye that help us to see the world around us by continually providing very slightly different input. I talked about microsaccades back in August 2007 in a blog entry called Constructive Interference. Amazingly, without microsaccades, it turns out that we would quickly become blind to any stationary objects around us unless we were continually moving our heads around.

By the time we're thinking about the unbelievably complex amount of information that we are processing instant by instant throughout the day, I've proposed that it's really not that big a leap to think that there could be some multi-dimensional awareness of our non-local universe which each of us already possesses, and that experiences like instinct, intuition, deja vu, simultaneous inspiration, creativity, the power of music, empathy, and even much more supernatural concepts than that might all be indications of our ability to perceive and process information which comes from beyond the already complex "now" of any particular moment in spacetime. Mind boggling? Sure. But like most of the concepts we play with in this project, if we take these ideas one at a time and enfold them together, seeing how one can be encapsulated within another, we can work our way back out to the biggest picture of all, where all of this happens simultaneously as part of the enfolded symmetry state which Gevin Giorbran called SOAPS, the Set Of All Possible States. As we discussed last time, physicist Tim Palmer is now calling that biggest picture of all The Invariant Set, but mystics, philosophers, and scientists have all come up with other ways of thinking about exactly the same thing.

Speaking of mystics, last time we looked at a video by artist Charles Gilchrist, who I've really become a fan of. Here's the next video in that same series of his about sacred geometry, another way of thinking about the parts of our reality which exist outside of spacetime. Regular readers of my blog will recognize a lot of the same themes that I am constantly playing with in Charles Gilchrist's inspiring work.

A direct link to the above video is at

Enjoy the journey!

Rob Bryanton

Next - The Time Paradox

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