October 2, 2007

More Depth Than I Thought

Here's one of those forwards we all get a gazillion times apiece, created by Aude Oliva, PhD. of M.I.T.'s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.

Look at the pictures of "Mr. Angry" and "Ms. Calm" close up. Then stand back a few feet and look at them again. They will appear to have traded places. (I discovered this also works when you look at the images from a side angle.) The email asks, "Does this prove that things (or people) aren't always as they seem?"

I was ready to simply delete this email yet again, but something prompted me to research the picture, if only to assign proper attribution. When I did, I found Dr. Oliva's website of cool hybrid images, including the hilarious "Marilyn Einstein," at http://cvcl.mit.edu/hybridimage.htm.

According to Dr. Oliva: "Hybrid images change interpretation as a function of viewing distance. Hybrids combine the low-spatial frequencies of one picture with the high spatial frequencies of another picture producing an image with an interpretation that changes with viewing distance."

You knew I was going to find something analogous to The Work here, didn't you? Here goes: everything we think we know is an interpretation of what is real. Inquiry is a way of stepping back from what we appear to see, or know. Questioning what we believe and turning our thoughts around provide us with a different perspective, in which both the original perception and the new one could be equally valid. Let's say I think I'm Ms. Calm. I look at the gentleman on my left and I perceive him to be one angry dude. Is it true that he's always angry? Yes, I have proof, look at that face. Can I absolutely know that it's true? I've just stepped back from the "I know" mind. No, in fact, I can't absolutely know this; he doesn't appear to be angry any longer. How do I treat him when I see him as angry? I feel separate from him. I can't meet him where he is.

Turn it around: "He is angry" becomes "He is not angry." Turned around to the self, I can see where I am angry sometimes, especially when I am judging "Mr. Angry." I turned out to be just like him, and with some perspective, I am able to see that he is not so different from me.

Cool, huh?

©2007 by Carol L. Skolnick; all rights reserved.

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