Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Recognizing Optical & Cognitive Illusions


Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. An optical 
delusion of consciousness, a kind of prison for us. — Albert Einstein

The experiences described below revolve around the idea that a twofold illusion makes up humanity’s perception of reality, and manifests the imaginary-blindness of consensus-reality. A twofold illusion witnessed by the Sun’s position in the photo above and voiced in Einstein’s notion of optical illusions of consciousness. Comprehensible through an informed realization and embodied experience of how our perception of the sun rising is an optical illusion. An illusion paralleled by the illusory sense of reality created by our imagination and memory.

A problem that has preoccupied me for decades as I tried to make sense of mind blowing feelings of being the earth turning in space. And for most of my life, l didn’t understand how such a distinctly visceral experience is more in sync with reality than I understood. Yet approaching my 70th birthday, l look back with gratitude at recent advances that have enabled my pursuit of illusion transforming realizations.

Prompting me to suggest that our internet era contains the information that can transform perceptual illusions and break a consensus reality barrier to the progress of civilization. For example, you can watch the filmed from space videos of our earth rotating at NASA LIVE or visit a web page like unitarium.com/earth-speed where you can discover the speed the earth is turning at in your cosmic location.

To experience optical illusions and understand how the consensus-reality we create with spoken and written languages manifests our imaginary-blindness. For example, the sun appearing to rise above the Eastern horizon and descend towards the Western horizon is an optical illusion. An illusion caused by earth’s constant rotation as it creates our experience of night and day.

A fact we can prove to ourselves with the experience of an informed realization about a reality most people see, without understanding the cause of their perception. While a practiced embodiment of this optical illusion acts as a gateway to understanding the experience of imaginary-blindness. As l do here in Sydney, Australia while viewing info graphics like this one:

To help me comprehend the circular reality of time and understand why l have experienced a visceral awareness of earth’s rotation, as an adaptive realization about consciousness. Cementing an embodied awareness of how earth’s constant rotation informs my perception, through several months of contemplating the ever changing atmosphere and how and why the sun and moon appear to rise and move across the sky. Using this relevant information to improve my understanding of how fundamental earth’s rotation is to life's experience. My ground of being, philosophically speaking.

Practicing this illusion transcending meditation with an informed awareness that balances the naming of everything l see with adaptive realizations about imagination and memory. Balancing my memory infused description of the atmosphere with an attention + awareness of just gazing at the atmosphere’s elemental nature. As l practice allowing the elemental nature of reality to pour into my eyes while being mindful that ideas are the elemental nature of my mind. A meditation that confronts the perceptual paradox of projecting abstract ideas into the reality of what I see, creating an epiphany about the purpose of the ancient proverb about wisdom being excellent for seeing the sun. 

With this experience of attention and open awareness bringing a ‘not to name’ understanding of the meaning of non-duality. As a steady increase in my embodied awareness of the earth turning, made me more aware of the abstracted nature of my mind’s ideas. How my ideas about reality are forms of illusion that feels like the post infancy trance state consciousness R. D. Laing alluded to.

As l became more aware of how my mind maps reality with psychological projections, in my need to affirm consensus-reality and regulate anxiety. Reminding me of the philosophical phrase “a map is not the territory.” As I try to comprehend how I suffer from a subtle form of experiential blindness. As l contemplated the pre-mental form of consciousness, l must have experienced in my first year of life.

While the information that aided this shift in my understanding of non-duality and the illusory nature of consensus reality, is accessible on the internet these days. Information relevant to understanding my mind’s ideas as an illusion of knowing formally described as a reification fallacy.

Which l understand as the false sense of reality inherent in my mind’s ideas and the way l use language. Automatically using words to map reality and confusing abstract ideas with the elemental nature of reality. With this perspective on perceptual wisdom suggesting it requires a pause in the automatic nature of mental behavior to examine how our reification fallacy works in real-time.

As I do to examine how l confuse the word eye with the biological reality of this vital organ of conscious perception and confuse the word sun with the elemental reality of the sun, for example. Finding this self-cross-examination most effective while experiencing the real-time phenomenon of sunrise, as l pause the automatic activity of my mind to feel an adaptive realization about the spiritual wisdom of the ancient proverb about seeing the sun.

As I contemplate the reason Plato put these words into the mouth of his deceased mentor Socrates: “must there not be some art which will affect conversion in the easiest and quickest manner; not implanting the faculty of sight, for that exists already, but has been turned in the wrong direction, and is looking away from the truth.”

Meditating on an awareness of the optical illusion of the sun appearing to rise above the horizon, and the mental illusion within my idea of the word sun. A self-examination process aware of the subconscious orchestration and how automatic all my behaviors are.

With my early morning meditation bringing an awareness of the reification fallacy inherent in the way l use language, and how language creates an illusory form of consciousness. An illusory phenomenon inherent in the very idea that the two words of my name are a correct awareness of my reality, for example.

A perceptual problem that also manifests in the way l map the anatomical terrain of my face, as abstract ideas form into words like eyes and ears, and l conflate these ideas with the reality of these biological organs of consciousness. While this form of illusion transcending experience applies to what we see in the photo above, when we apply a reification-fallacy perspective to our psychological projections of words like water, face, land, sky, clouds and sun, for example.

Over a three-month period of filming the earth turning birth of each new day, l asked hundreds of people about their experience of sunrise, with only two aware of the optical illusion involved in the sun’s appearing to rise. Even acknowledging the flat-earth perspective of the sun’s apparent movement did not deter most people’s need to affirm a consensus-reality worldview or question the relative nature of their perception.

Providing a practical example of how we are social creatures who use our species’ capacity for adaptation to fit into social environments and why, as cognitive science suggests, nature’s fitness agenda overrides truth. As our social nature seduces us into a consensus-reality driven form of experiential blindness. A product of behavioral adaptation explored in this video: 

Examining our blindingly obvious sense of reality by asking perceptual wisdom questions about the blah, blah, blah, illusions of knowing created by  our group need to create a consensus-reality.

The video asks viewers to consider whether we humans are confused by a far too obvious sense of words and how this creates a 2-dimensional map of reality within our mind. And asks people to consider whether, as the most adaptive creatures on this planet, it is time for adaptive realizations about the subconsciously orchestrated nature of our behaviors?

With the further suggestion that rationality is a myth created by the naturally adaptive make believe function of our minds because of our survival need to communicate with others of our species. Asking viewers to contemplate the way their behaviors, including perceptions, are subconsciously orchestrated and how they became as automatic as riding a bike?

While the aim of this blog/book is to ask readers if we can practice becoming more aware of essential truths, not as facts but as realizations about the subtle illusions involved in our perception of reality. Practices based on Einstein’s injunction “no problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it,” and a desire to understand how our early life adaptation to a spoken language creates the reification-fallacy of consensus-reality.

While one method l use to experience the universal phenomenon of reification is listening to my smartphone, translate the words l used to describe earth’s atmosphere into several languages. Contemplating how l incorporated consensus-reality’s reified ideas, by imagining words like sky and clouds define the reality of these atmospheric phenomena. Trying to grasp a whole life perspective on the immersive nature of consciousness, l cannot remember, yet feel l must have experienced as a baby developing into an infant.

Using this meditation to feel a pre-mental awareness of transformations in my visual perception of the atmosphere and regain the more immersive sense of reality we must all experience during the first days, weeks, and months of our lives. As l contemplate my own psychological projections by wondering if people who speak an unfamiliar language see the same optical illusion of sunrise, even as they think of a different name for humanity’s star.

Wondering where this naming level of consciousness fits into Einstein’s levels of problem solving and Socrates’ advice about the need to realize our lack of understanding about the world and our own experience of being human? As l question my mind’s grasp of reality by reflecting on how the top five languages use these words, Sun, tàiyáng, रवि, Sol, and شمس, to reify — (consider an abstract concept to be real) — the central power in our solar system? Keeping Plato’s advice about perceptual conversion in mind, in my effort to gain an embodied sense of how much a reification-fallacy creates our perception of reality.

An embodiment need l find best practiced each dawn by contemplating the atmospheric change in my perception of color, as the planet’s constant turning gives birth to another experience of light, we call a day. Practicing a global sense of embodiment by using my smartphone to become mindful of the different names English, Chinese, Hindi, Spanish and Arabic have to describe the experience of the dawning of the light. As l contemplate the automatic dynamics of behavior and perception and marvel at the way we humans unwittingly conflate the symbolic nature of language with reality, in our attachment driven need to affirm the abstract nature of consensus-reality?

Wondering how the memory of the language we learned during childhood fits into Einstein’s levels of consciousness and R. D. Laing’s hypnotic trance induced during early infancy? “Is humanity’s historical need for a society organizing consensus-reality nearing the end of it’s adaptive function, in an era of globalization,” l wonder. As l think about the paradox of well-being that finds no reason to examine personal experience and maintains an unwitting barrier to humanity’s problem solving progress.

A barrier transcended by examining how our ability to speak, read and write makes us conscious and what role the recognition of names plays in our perception of reality. And although it’s no substitute for experiencing the birth of a new day and imbibing the steady color change within the elemental nature of earth’s atmosphere, we can compare our own naming experience with words the top five languages use to describe what is seen in the photo below.

Noticing how these words exemplify the symbolic nature of language, in the way they ascribe meaning to the same phenomena in the photo. As we examine the subconsciously automatic dynamics of naming different phenomena with the consensus-reality informed ideas of five different languages. A conventional level of consciousness, we can explore further by being mindful of dictionary definitions of what the word language means:

1. a systematic means of communicating by the use of sounds or conventional symbols. 2. a system of communication which comprises a set of sounds and written symbols which are used by the people of a particular country or region for talking or writing. 3. audible, articulate, meaningful sound as produced by the action of the vocal organs. 4. a means of communicating ideas or feelings by the use of conventionalized signs, sounds, gestures, or marks. 5. the means by which animals communicate.

As we examine Einstein’s notion of reality as a persistent illusion and a delusion of consciousness that imprisons us. By noticing the reality mapping function of our own mind and the possibility that the symbolic nature of language creates persistently subtle illusions within our conscious perception of reality.

Illusory in the way we impose our capacity for memory onto the elemental nature of reality through a process of psychological projection. When we don't realize that this subtle process is not only subconsciously orchestrated, it is as automatic as riding a bike. While this twofold perceptual illusion requires a self-contradictory question, typical of lived wisdom's adaptive realizations.

The need to question our experience of being human that cuts through the self-deception inherent in behavioral adaptation. With the deceptively simple question of ‘how.’ How do you walk and talk? Because paradoxically, no human being can describe how they walk and talk. Even though we can all describe what we are doing whenever we are walking and talking, we cannot describe how this quintessential human behavior is subconsciously orchestrated or how it became so behaviorally automatic, quite early in our life.

Walking and talking are species-specific behaviors we are born ready to adapt to. Which seems to be a self-evident truth about behavioral adaptation whenever we take a whole of life perspective on our experience of being human. An adaptive perspective on behaviors and perceptions that underpins the unbelievably deceptive simplicity of the ancient proverb about truly perceiving the sun. For even people born blind can feel the timeless truth of that wise proverb.

A proverb that, like many ancient sayings alludes to universal experiences of being human and our perception of reality. Like the universal experience of our biological conception, our birth, our vital organs of consciousness and the conscious development of a consensus-reality, for example. From Einstein's levels of consciousness perspective, the adaptive realization this post is fleshing out is simply that our ideas about reality are not reality.

Which we can comprehend by taking a whole life perspective on how the essence of every word we have learned to use for describing reality is essentially an idea within our mind's. With this perceptual wisdom perspective exploring reified optical illusions of self and nature in the next post/chapter.

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