Friday, August 10, 2012

"God Doesn't Play Dice", ...well our brains sure do

Hey Folks,
  I know I've gotten a little off into deep profound topics as of late.  Well today I just want to have some fun.

Since I've been a child I have always been fascinated by optical illusions. I like them so much that even now my wonderful mother usually gets me an optical illusion book as one of my Christmas gifts.

I'm not obsessed with them. It's just one of those things I think is fun and interesting.

One of the reasons illusions interest me is because it shows me that the main instrument I use to function in this life (my brain) isn't perfect. As a matter of fact it can be pretty ridiculously bad at times.

And that isn't a reference to judgment. My brain makes errors a lot of time before I even make it to the judgement or decision stage. What I mean is my brain isn't perfect in it's analysis of data phase.

For example my brain perceives the lines in this picture :
to be very very unparallel. Well in fact they are indeed parallel.

 So when I am faced with a decision about the world I not only lack access to full complete 100% Moral Truths (see yesterday's post :, but I'm also not even able to feed perfect data into the imperfect machine. Jeez. What chance do I have? Hahaha

I take solace in knowing that apparently I am not alone in this. I am actually just like every one else. Whew! We ALL have bad brains. Doesn't that make ya feel good? Well, at least that explains some of the silly things we all do at times.

I also take solace in the fact that although some of these illusions show us how our brains are lacking (and therefore skew our perception at times), other illusions actually show how amazingly adept our brains are.

These latter types of illusions are actually my favorite.

I'll show you a list of pixelated , blurry pictures below. These images look like blobs. They aren't even close to approximating the actual subjects, yet our brains can instantly fill in the gaps and construct the correct picture.

Check em out

These images are just blurry pixels. But our brains are able to decipher what was intended (in case you have even worse brains than the rest of us, it was pictures of: Elvis, Bill and Hillary, Martin Luther King, Jr., Conan, and Einstein respectively)

I love it. I also like that if I cross my eyes (giving my brain less quality data) it actually helps it determine what the picture is of. Isn't that peculiar!
There may be a deeper life lesson in here after all.

Sometimes we don't need to focus on every stinking tiny detail in our lives. Sometimes we need to take a step back (literally and figuratively) and understand the general, blurry concept of our situation. I have no doubt that having less data often actually helps us reach a better conclusion.

Anyway, It's just cool to me how the brain works. I wrongly tend to think of it as a computer. I imagine my brain crunching numbers with exacting precision, but in actuality it's way sloppier than that. As these illusions illustrate, our brains are only dealing with a portion of all the data. Our brains miss. Our brains miss often. But at the end of the day our brains work remarkably well for us.

It's remarkable our brains work so well since it seems they are just shooting dice. Our brains are just playing the odds most of the time. I imagine my brain at the craps table , "7 come 11. Baby need's a new pair of shoes".

To me that's what keeps life fun and funny.

And hey, when your brain misses all you can do is laugh at the situation it's gotten you into. Don't worry, your brain will be back at the craps table immediately.

The beautiful thing about our brains is they don't waste time dwelling on their misses. If they kept dwelling on the misses they wouldn't be able to be processing the next "roll of the dice". And they LOVE rolling the dice. They thrive on being part of the action.

So hand your brain the dice,  roll with the punches and have fun.

One more illusion before I go:

This one has even less information than the pixelated ones above yet I bet your brain deciphers it.

"Winner!Winner! Chicken Dinner"

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