Monday, March 24, 2008

Real Illusions

Rainbows in the eye of the beholder

This is a photo Jim took of the back of my camera after I'd taken a shot of some wet rooftops that were shining brightly yesterday. His new camera has a supermacro mode which worked well - we had to shade everything with a cloth, like the users of really old fashioned cameras, to keep out as much external light as possible. He managed to capture the rainbow moire patterns that I'd noticed had appeared on my screen - they make it much more interesting than the original!

This week Carla's challenge is about "Finding Your Core". Leah mentioned another site, Creative Therapy, and they are on week 2, their catalyst this week is "A place you go to find your center. It can be imaginary or real or anything in between." So centre or core? Real of imaginary? Hmm... tricky one!

What if there really isn't anything in the core? Its all just an illusion showing up in everyday life? Like an interference pattern... That's how I feel today... and its not as negative as you might think! I'm smiling and happy as I think it. Or perhaps I should say the body that writes this has a smile on its face and a twinkle in its eye...

Carla suggests looking at peak moments - but there is no peak beyond now. This moment. All the rest is simply memory and from what I've experienced and what I've read about memories they are rather unreliable!

There was an interesting experiment after 9/11. Some memory researchers got various eyewitnesses to write up their experiences immediately afterwards. Then some time later they went back to them and asked for their accounts again. When compared the two naturally showed inconsistencies but the strange part was, the part the researchers didn't expect, was that the participants said their current versions were the most accurate! (And sorry I don't have a reference, this was on the radio one morning and I'm relying on my memory of it...)

In my own past I used to do what was called "knowledge acquisition" this was where we found out specialist knowledge and then formulated it in a way that a computer could use to make "expert" suggestions, decisions, analysis etc. Many experts were entirely unaware of what their expertise was really based on.

When learning how to do this I was told about the classic case in the development of a system that was intended to tell when a cheese was mature. The expert did this by pressing it and could then tell if the cheese was ready. The system developers made things with which to press the cheese and measure its elasticity, etc. Later it turned out that the expert was unaware that what they were really doing was sniffing the cheese - it wasn't touch that was important at all, except to release the smell!

So this exercise isn't really working for me today...

I'd got to this rather unsatisfactory point when I took a break.

I turned on the radio and the programme was about pubs called "The Black Boy" and the history of it as a name. With lots of theories mostly connected to Charles the Second and not the slave trade as one might expect. The programme ended up in The Black Boy Inn on Whiteladies Road in Bristol so bringing it as close to me as it could!

It certainly illustrated how meanings can be other than they seem and in this case the most likely answer really is a conspiracy theory - that of the royalists drinking a secret toast "to the black boy over the sea". A constructed illusion to deflect suspicion from them.

Looks like I'm going to have to sleep on this one!

4 comments:

Dru Marland said...

I listened to that programme too; the pub landlord referring to Lem Sissay's "ethnic persuasion" was unintentionally hilarious, I thought... my bogusmeter swung wildly on that story of the toast "to the black boy over the sea". Googling turned up no results, as opposed to plenty of hits for "the king over the water" and "the gentleman in black velvet" which were, of course, Jacobite toasts. I wonder... dodgy things, facts. I prefer truth, so usually only read fiction.

Caroline said...

Dru - Google now produces one hit - this post!

It was a strange programme all round... and as someone who used to live at "Blue Boys Cottage" I was most interested in the theories that involved being coloured by one's occupation. The story that went with the cottage was that the blue boys were dyers using indigo in the cloth industry in the Cotswolds and luckily there aren't any naturally blue people to muddy the waters on this one.

Though other meanings might well turn out to be the case... like all those pubs whose names are (apparently) corruptions of old phrases...

tinker said...

Many things are 'clicking' for me in this post - ideas I've been pondering as the result of Tolle's book: memories vs. experience - thinking vs. experiencing - peeling back the layers...like an onion, what do you get when you reach the center? Yet it all holds together...

Also the etymology of names and words - I just gave K. a book that was a collection of foreign words and phrases...then received a comment in a foreign language a previous post that had me tracking down the language to find the definition - so far I've only deciphered a couple of words though...

Another lovely rainbow you've found! xx

Caroline said...

Yes it all holds together even when there is nothing there... odd isn't it?