17 October 2009

What Am I Missing?

When Christopher Columbus hit the Americas, he anchored his ships off shore and landed a few rowboats on the beach.  Natives that met them on the beach wondered where they had come from.  Columbus and his crew pointed out to sea at the large wooden vessels that brought them across the ocean.  Curiously, the natives saw no ships, only open ocean.  Given the task, because he was known as a 'seer', the shaman of the tribe spent long hours staring out to sea to try to see the ships.  After apparently days, he eventually saw the ships and through his coaxing influence on the tribe, was able to get other natives to see the ships also.  Heard this story?  The going idea is that they couldn't see the ships because ships were so far from the natives concept of what was real, their minds rejected the image completely.  Some kind of survival mechanism.

(Interesting concept, but there is no proof this actually happened, and is probably an exaggeration of log entries by Captain James Cook, not Columbus, that talked about natives not having fear of his ship while most newly contacted humans did.)

Still, an interesting concept.

I'm a great fan of "Where's Waldo?" and the Sunday comics section, "Find Six Differences Between These Two Pictures."  Being a veteran of this "What's Different?" game, I've noticed that while searching for a difference I almost always get a strange feeling about a section of the picture before I find the specific difference.  But I know it's there.  Does this mean some part of my mind saw the difference before my conscious mind did?  How many times a day do I get 'feelings' about something I see?  Would I remember?  Would I even notice if I wasn't told there was something to find in the first place?  How much of my daily focus doesn't allow for anything else?

Watch this video:

Apparently advertising takes advantage of this.  Skulls and naked women airbrushed into ice cubes of some alcoholic drink.  Mostly a forgotten issue in the media, me wonders if this isn't still going on.  I remember a commercial break during a news cast just before the Gulf War.  A split second of jet fighters flying maneuvers in-between commercials happened.  A half second or less.  I thought, "What the hell is that?"  A mistake of the master controller at NBC?  No jet fighter footage appeared in the rest of the broadcast so it wasn't an already cued tape.  Four days later, we were at war.  Not saying anything, just reporting.

So, what am I really seeing?  How much control do I have over these subliminal images?  They must be everywhere.  Very few are intentional, most unintentional.  All the time you have your eyes open.  Do I have a bad day if I see more graffiti and trash, and have no idea why?  Is this why people are obsessed with keeping a clean car?  Your eyes aren't the video camera you thought they were, but there is a lot that's being recorded you aren't aware of.

Maybe that's why your dreams are so strange.

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