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Optical Illusions or Illusions of Optics?

Updated on May 11, 2020

How We Turn Beasts into Princes

Once Upon a Time in Reality Land

Most any child sees artists' renderings of things that ordinarily scare them when they go to sleep at night. Until they are described in story books very differently. Then, they become lovable characters.

As they grow to their teens, they are already endowed with numerous fairy tale characters they've seen in their childhood story books. Their reading materials may advance to where a Frankenstein monster becomes an endearing character deserving of sympathy.

Even the ugliness of the Hunchback of Notre Dame becomes easy on the eyes when the right optics surround him.

Often it is difficult to figure out whether what we see presented to us is real or if it is just graphics on a TV screen.

Purple cows, green mucous that is a pest, armies of roaches getting what for from a spray can of insecticide, cars driven by dogs, cats with human voice overs and adults who dance with cartoon characters ala Gene Kelly in the movie "Anchor Aweigh."

How Powerful are Optics?

What we see has the most powerful influence over our lives. More so than what we hear. The reason may be explained in a proverb "I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand."

Clearly, we are more apt to remember what we see than what we hear. In science, this is referred to as visual vs. auditory memory.

The scientific explanation is that auditory memory is reliable for "immediate" recall whereas visual memory is more relied on for information stored in long-term memory.


It is possible to test this theory for ourselves. Try to recall what words to a new song you've heard two days earlier.

Now try to remember what your fourth grade teacher looked like.

Naturally, the human brain has a lot to do with what we see and why we remember for far longer than what we hear.

You may not remember a verbatim speech from your high school class's valedictorian but you remember the face in the cap and down delivering it.

The Power of Optics

There is more to the power of optics than we realize. For instance, the first time the movie Psycho's shower scene was seen, the optics were so powerful, some refused to take a shower when their house was unoccupied.

It should be stated that emotions are tied to perceptions and perceptions are often tied to what we see.


So when first we saw the shower scene in Psycho were we emotionally frightened by the savagery of the brutal attack? Or, were did we immediately realize what we perceived as a savage attack was just a pre-staged scene?

Actually, when all is said and done a steady stream of these type of realistic horror movies have, for some, become a steady diet. The effect to their senses of what they see, blood, guts and gore, no longer frightens but, rather, fills an inner need to equalize and justify internal, unresolved rage.

To support the theory that a steady diet of violence becomes a dystopian mental addiction, in 1997, the film Clockwork Orange, based on a novel by Anthony Burgess, the plot employs very disturbing, violent images intended to be a commentary on youth gangs, juvenile delinquency, psychiatry and other social, political, and economic subjects in a dystopian near-future Britain.

The optics of this film were so powerful that it is still banned in Britain. Such is the power of optics on the minds of the public.

When you compare the popularity of the book to that of the movie, you understand the power of optics in every scene of the film. The real differences between the book and the movie is the ending of the story, not seen on film.

How We Turn Beasts Into Princes

If it is possible to turn a vicious beast into a lovable prince charming, is it the optics or our perceptions of the optics created that alters the scenario?

Either way, what we see remains in memory far longer than what we hear.

There are those among us who have a vested interest in turning a progressively Utopian minded society into a dark, gloomy dystopian world where everything right is wrong and everything wrong is right.

They do this by refusing to face the optics in front of their eyes. We can close our eyes to the most horrific savage crimes and turn the perpetrator into a hero, allow this to be repeated over and over we build up an immunity to violence and savagery.

With today's social media, this is done with lightning speed. For example, when a group is unable to accept what they see infront of their eyes, inevitably it is a simple matter of claiming they never saw it.

So you do the Clockwork Orange style repetition of showing them what they know they saw over and over. They still refuse to accept what they see.

Where do we go from there? Ignore their mental instability until their behavior is justifiable societally?

This is their "optical illusion." Pretending they do not see what the rest of the world does. In their dystopian realm, it is their perception that it is not their illusion that is unreal but our optics.

Optical Illusions as an Instrument of Power

There is little that can be done to this type of mental aberration save regular professional psychiatric help.

Like Alex in Clockwork Orange, the contrarian cannot see what is real and what is imagined and so requires a group for support of that handicap. But also like Alex in the Burgess book, when their illusions are removed and only realistic optics remain, the group support dissipates and the contrarian is left alone to face the optics he/she pretended was an illusion.


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