The inappropriate use of a word is so much worse when
Albert Einstein once said, “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
The internet went mad over a dress that appeared white and gold to some and black and blue to others. Scientists cannot come to a consensus about the reason with the answer lying somewhere between the perception of the brightness of the surrounding light and the amount of blue cones in one’s eye, mostly outside of the fovea. But whatever the reason, our eyes and brains work together to do magnificent things in regards to our perception of the world around us. And for your information, I’m on team white/gold.
One of the main concerns regarding our perception of reality is that there is almost no evidence that our perception actually matches the reality of the world around us. We see colors, sizes, shapes, and even entire objects because our eyes and brains tell us what to see. For instance, we see the color blue in the sky because we have blue cones outside our fovea that allow us to see the color blue. Now, many people are color blind and cannot see colors, but what if that mutation can be taken in the other direction. How different would our species be if we could see energy like electricity or gravity? Air? 4-D? See, the world as we know it is defined by what we can see or touch. So, our world is thusly defined by our perception.
Look at a camera lens. A camera is limited to what the lens can see; a narrow field of vision, a specific color spectrum, and the limitations of movement. The evolution of the eye works the same way. When life existed purely underwater, the need to register light and color wasn’t as necessary. The majority of movement could be felt with water pressure and seen with the movement of shadow, but when life started to form out of the water, the eyes had to evolve. Eyes now had to evolve in order to turn and see movement and color to identify predators. And more and more eyes developed to help species see the world around them. Now, place our own eyes on that timeline of evolution, and you begin to see the point. What are our eyes not seeing? Could we be missing entire color spectrums that exist in reality that we are unable to see? Are we unable to see an entire visual field of energy? Perhaps the dress incident does not say anything about our perception, but it does open the discussion about perception and the effect our incredibly complex eyes have on it. This is the kind of question we need to ask ourselves when we see reality differently. It is not right or wrong, but why?
Back to Einstein’s quote. “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” Once we begin to question our perception, we begin to question our reality. How can we tell if whether or not our perceptual reality is not the fictive visual precept of a hallucination? Well, we can’t, but perhaps the world isn’t as white/gold or blue/black as we want it to be.