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Showing posts from March 6, 2013

Seeing Through the Grand Illusion

Cognitive scientists, like Professor Dan Simons of Illinois University, have documented what's called "inattentional blindness:" we spend much of our existence in a kind of daydream, failing to notice the subtle changes occurring in our perceptual field. Show someone a photograph of a building, have them look away for a moment: when they return to what seems to be the same photograph, most won't notice that a large tree has been removed via photoshop. We believe we're aware of change, but much of the time it has to be inescapable before we notice; we are overloaded with stimuli.
Now consider this: For a very long time people believed that each individual owned a unique soul, a lasting "me," an identity or persistent observer of life that lurked at the core of the mind. This belief was based on appearances rather than close observation, similar to how the Sun appeared to revolve around the Earth (it required close observation by Galileo and others to pr…