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The Moon was nearing fullness, a ‘waning crescent moon’, the sky was clear, inky blue, full of stars. The moon shone magnificently, a bright, dominating object in the sky, it followed me everywhere I went!
The Moon has always had an enormous impact on me. It is my friend to whom I would talk, confine my secrets, memories and feelings.
Sometimes the Moon is annoying, ‘full of himself!’ – shines brightly and pesters me, silently calls for my attention by tapping my head with its light when I need to sleep…
Nevertheless, I can’t help but look at the Moon and admire its glorious glow. When it comes out I welcome it with waving hand and say:
- ‘Hello, Moon, my friend!’
- ‘Ahh, you are so beautiful!’ – I say and it smiles back.
Sometimes, I want to be left alone and ask:
- ‘What, Moon? What now?’
And the Moon would just twinkle with its bright flare, playfully hiding behind a cloud. Sometimes when I stay up late, I watch it. It slowly cruises across the denim sky and lazily shifts its position over the hours. I can turn my head away for a moment and when I look again the moon has relocated. Sneaky.
Your Vision Is A Part Of Your Identity
Being an artist evokes in me an insatiable desire to observe the world at any time of the day… its patterns, colours, shapes and movement…,
I’m short-sighted and without glasses, my vision is really poor 👓, the world is blurred and all details are lost… I can’t see the moon in all its glory, its sharp contours or a vague image of its marble pattern.
It is interesting to say that the quality of my vision impacts the quality of my self-perception because I love taking in the world through my eyes.
In some ways not being able to see details helps me to be ignorant to unnecessary information, reduces the ‘information overload’ and expands my imagination. I switch into a more independent form of creating and I rely on my brain’s suggestions rather than simply using what’s in front of me. My work becomes more personal and original, that’s often how I create depth and rather interesting things are made under those circumstances.
“Nothing interesting begins with knowing, it begins with not knowing”
Whatever my mind cannot see, it tells itself a fairy tale story, imagines things, fills in the blanks…
I believe a good analogy would be spilling water onto a chalk drawing on a concrete floor. You allow the water to carry the pastel colours in different directions; forming a unique and never-to-be-repeated pattern. In other words, when some elements I deem important are missing my mind becomes a carefree stream of water and shapes the chalk drawings into art. My imagination is ultimately the paintbrush that adds the completing stroke of paint to my work.
However, not being able to see clearly makes me feel frustrated. I feel like I am missing out on very important and wondrous information about the world that makes this world even more fascinating…
“Our greatest fear is not knowing. Our greatest desire is closure.”
Reality is not what it seems – 3 images of the moon
I was observing the moon in 3 different ways:
- without my glasses,
- wearing my contacts and
- with my glasses on.
Every experience was different, the moon looked different every time.
This is the image of the moon I see with my glasses on:
The moon stands out clearly against the inky sky. The moon looks like a bright light bulb with two distinguished white flares coming out of its bottom and top edge.
This is the image of the moon I see with my glasses on:
In my contacts I can see another colour around the moon as if the blue splits into red and dark purple, then comes back to blue – it actually looks like an old fashion screen-print with colours being slightly offset when overlapping one another,
The image has the ‘colour bleed’ effect (from printing) – It’s the effect visible on screenprints by Andy Warhol.
This is the moon I see without my glasses
That image looks crazy: the edges are doubled or even tripled! They are actually so blurred that everything merges and becomes one big splash of light and there is one huge and multi-striped flare coming out of the moon’s bottom edge…
It’s almost as though my brain shouts ‘enough!’ as it tries to handle the brightness and intensity of the light piercing relentlessly through my retinas. My eyes may not be able to fully capture every contour or detail presented to it. At the same time, my eyes are not a Canon camera. They are not lifeless objects that can be manipulated by anyone to create the same image over and over again. My eyes – whether they are in focus or not – are part of my body, my conscious thought, they connect the world to the soul and often project to the world what I am feeling. They capture reality in countless ways and allow me to paint the Moon on my canvas in various shapes and positions. Almost like a model…
Which of these 3 images is the true representation of the moon?
The Eyes – Our user interface. The technicalities of seeing.
What my mind really sees comes from an electric impulse triggered by the light coming in through my eyes, the light comes in, hits the retina, igniting photoreceptors that turn the light into electrical signals. And so, the brain receives the electric impulse and projects the image…
Light = Vision = Colours
The images we see are made up of light reflected from the objects we look at so everything we see depends on light, especially colour.
In a way, we are surrounded by all colours. The objects you look at only reflect the colour that you see, the rest are absorbed.
What we are looking at is a specific wavelength of light, a combination of colours carrying a specific amount of energy…
In the darkness, becomes a black veil, there is nothing to hold on to, we feel lost and uncertain and ‘we project the meaning onto things we see based on our biases and assumptions.‘
What Is, Where Is The Truth?
Donald Hoffman’s philosophy is that firstly, we only see this much of reality as much we need to survive and that we all see the same thing or rather agree to seeing the same reality because we are all members of the same species and we all have the same user interface.
“We construct not only the specific content of what we perceive but the modalities themself, the whole shapes and organisation of our perception comes more from within than from without.”
This really helps me to answer the question I dedicate this post to:
What does the moon really look like? Which of the 3 images I see is the true representation of the moon?
I cannot see the moon clearly because my user interface, in this case, my eyes, is broken, hence, I am having to wear contact lenses or glasses to correct the error in my user interface – my eyes – ‘the sight device’.
I see the moon in three different ways looking through that device, depending on the enhancement to my device – glasses and contacts.
The very origin lens on my user interface is broken – and it is truly the user interface that is broken because my short-sightedness is not caused by the brain but – it is just a technical malfunction of my eyes – the device I use to look and see.
So, this logic gets me to the conclusion that the truest image of the moon is the one I see without glasses because the contacts and the glasses alter the image, hence, should not be trusted…
However, I said before that I don’t like not being able to have a clear vision. When my eyes cannot see they would tell themselves a story just to complete their interpretation and get closure.
Even though my eyes, my ‘device of sight’, is the same as yours, (you also have a pair of eyes that work in the same way my eyes work.) So, even though I have the same device to look at the moon and we all agree that the moon is there, I perceive the image of the moon in my own individual way and everyone perceives the moon in their individual way!
Without filters of glasses or contacts, I assume it is round and white and expect to see it this way, so I look at it and, due to the fact that I cannot really see clearly, my mind is adding extras, filling in the gaps with whatever my mind wants.
You are an individual expression of the whole Universe.
Each one of us perceives the world individually in our own way and each one of us holds our own truth.
What I see as the moon is in fact my own and only truth… The image I want to see.
The perception of our world comes from within rather than from outside. And that image at that moment becomes my only truth, the only truth existing at this moment…
It is my duty as an artist to notice and reveal to you the particularities and quirks of our perception.
We artists, we are creators.
We can manipulate space-time in some kind of interesting way… We can show you a perspective you never knew existed, something you never expected.
What it means is that I can show you an image of the Moon which is way different from the image you are used to seeing. I can show you the Moon being yellow or have flowers around or look like cheese and it will also be the true image of the moon because if I see the Moon in this way, then that’s how it exists – I am simply allowing you to step into and observe my Universe, the Universe of my mind…
Thank you for reading…
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Quotes used in this post: World Science Festival ‘The Reality of Reality: A Tale of Five Senses’