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Where do the stars hang out during the day?
We don’t always see everything.
This week we went planet gazing, and the stars aligned, literally.
Jupiter and Saturn shone clearly in the southeastern sky without clouds or atmospheric noise. With no moon to brighten the heavens or neighbor’s spotlights to obscure the view, two planets pierced the darkness, and thousands of twinkling lights glistened in the inky sky.
“Wow! Look at all the stars!.”
They showed up that night, but in reality, they never left. Stars, planets, and galaxies hold their places in the universe on the darkest of nights and brightest of days. What changes?
Our ability to see them and our desire to look up.
The same holds true for much of our world. We don’t all see things exactly the same way. Don’t believe me? Try watching a baseball or football game where umpires and referees call plays that my sports aficionados will claim ridiculous.
“How can they make that call? Can’t they see the ball is in the strike zone?”
Who’s right? I know better than to agree with the umpire, but sometimes after watching the replay, especially from a different camera angle, my fans might reluctantly respond with, “Well, maybe.”
We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are. *
Neuroscientists continue to research and learn more about how the brain and vision work to create perceptions of reality. For example, how is it that even the best proofreaders miss errors? We don’t always notice things that are right in front of us because the brain is wired for efficiency trying “to simplify the vast amounts of visual information that our eyes capture.”
Can some of the mystery hidden within our gray matter explain why we don’t see eye to eye on life, politics, or the outcome of a football game?
Vision scientists at UC Berkley continue to research these phenomena noting, “We assume our perception is a perfect reflection of the physical world around us, but . . . each of us has a unique visual fingerprint.”
The next time you look up at the stars, dispute the call of a play, or disagree with your neighbor, you might consider asking a couple of questions.
What else do I need to know?
How can I look at this differently?
As the scientists and we try to figure this out, Beau Lotto, in Deviate: The Power of Seeing Differently, cautions that while “the neuroscience of perception — and indeed evolution itself — offers us a solution,” the most important innovation lies within.
What is that superpower?
“It’s a way of seeing.”
* Original origin unknown but has been attributed to Anaïs Nin, H.M. Tomlinson, Stephen Covey, and others.
Some poetic advice for letting go.
In his TED Talk, Beau Lotto, a neuroscientist, challenges our perceptions using optical illusions.
“The world exists, but we don’t see it — the question "What is real?" has plagued humanity for millennia.”
Find a little wonder this week, and don’t forget to see, really see.
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