A Short Note on Optical Illusions
An optical illusion is described as a deceptive trick which makes us see something else, other than the reality we should see. I think, this description reduces this phenomenon, which exists and is real qua experience, and dismisses it rather naively. I categorized some key ideas on how people view optical illusions in following points and lastly added my own thoughts on the topic;
1- The first group ridicules optical illusions simply as mental tricks, something which is not real. This thought ignores that it is generated from the same trickster mind, to become this antagonist conclusion;
2- Second group argues that these are creations of mind, which is ‘programmed’ to process the information in a particular way. This is problematic too, considering that these illusions do not go away after we become aware of its programmed nature, nor can we reverse these mentally to reconstruct the real. We experience the same ‘illusion’ every time its looked at, even knowing that what we are looking at is a programmed illusion, or a trick, as discussed in 1. above;
3- Lastly, it is considered that the illusion shows what is real, i.e. its reality (is designed to) manifest only in this peculiar way. For example, when we are looking at a work of art, we are essentially looking at an illusion, we happily accept it as a thing of meaning. As such, this ‘thing’ includes in itself the real which is the canvas, frame, paints, time invested by painter etc., which is structured to appeal imaginative and symbolic associative constructs, represented as a work of art in this unity.
I think our understanding of optical illusions is marred by its simplicity presented in curved lines, grey shades, which don’t appeal to our otherwise romantic imagination and reduces this to less than nothing, an illusion. Then its disparaging name does not do it any favors, by calling it an illusion we associate it with something thoughtless.
Idea lies beyond immediate distorted appearance of being, it is only reached after mediating otherness back into itself. Do not dismiss the form, losing site of it to focus on the content limits the analysis which content cannot manifest through its own thwarted state.
You can see various types of optical illusions on the following links: