About Illusions

The Penrose TriangleWhile the ‘real’ world is out there, all around us in physical form, ‘our’ world is contained within the amazing structure we call our brain. Whilst we can process, interact with and interpret the events and objects around us, our brains are guilty of playing tricks on us if we do not keep a close eye on them.

Our brains are amazing things, I think we can all agree on  that. But they are also capable of making the simplest of mistakes. Take a look at the image above. Each angle looks like a perfectly plausible part of a three dimensional triangle, but as you move from one angle to the next, it becomes clear that the object we perceive is, in fact, an illusion.

Our brains are programmed by evolution, to make sense of partial information. Being able to recognise a Sabre-Toothed Tiger from just a small part of his outline would be a very valuable asset to pre-historic man. But being able to recognise a scenario from a handful of unrelated, or even imagined mental clues, can lead us right up the garden path, to completely the wrong conclusion.

Imagination, illusion and our Fundamental Darkness are all facets of real life, but beware of leaning too heavily on one or all of these when you are piecing together your next mental jigsaw puzzle, you might find you are confronted by an unpleasant picture that is wholly inaccurate.

On What Ifs

What If?Sometimes, we find ourselves in situations, or potential situations, were we are a little unsure of what the outcome may be.

Our minds race, we mull over the possibilities, the what ifs, the maybes, and it can be all too easy to form ideas in our minds as to how things will pan out.

That’s fine, and perfectly normal, as long as we don’t let these expectations run away with us. Having a notional or preconceived idea is one thing, but pinning our hopes on that idea is a recipe for disaster. Things rarely, if ever, go exactly as we imagine.

So the trick is to keep a level head, let events unfold as they will, and be tolerant of the inevitable differences between what we expect, or would like, and what actually comes to pass.

But as someone once said ‘Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it’. Conversely it has also been said that ‘That thing you wished for, the thing you never got, might have been the most fortunate moment you could ever imagine’.

So muse away, daydream to your hearts content, but remember that at the end of the day, the truth of the situation will become clear soon enough.

Not All It Seems To Be

The Penrose TriangleWhile the ‘real’ world is out there, all around us, in physical form, ‘our’ world is contained within the amazing structure we call our brain.

Whilst we can process, interact with and interpret the events and objects around us, our brains are guilty of playing tricks on us if we do not keep a close eye on them.

Our brains are amazing things, I think we can all agree on  that. But they are also capable of making the simplest of mistakes. Take a look at the image above. Each angle looks like a perfectly plausible part of a three dimensional triangle, but as you move from one angle to the next, it becomes clear that the object we perceive is, in fact, an illusion.

Our brains are programmed by evolution, to make sense of partial information. Being able to recognise a Sabre-Toothed Tiger from just a small part of his outline would be a very valuable asset to pre-historic man. But being able to recognise a scenario from a handful of unrelated, or even imagined mental clues, can lead us right up the garden path, to completely the wrong conclusion.

Imagination, illusion and our Fundamental Darkness are all facets of real life, but beware of leaning too heavily on one or all of these when you are piecing together your next mental jigsaw puzzle, you might find you are confronted by an unpleasant picture that is wholly inaccurate.

Ifs, Buts and Maybes

Ifs, Buts and MaybesSometimes, we find ourselves in situations, or potential situations, were we are a little unsure of what the outcome may be.

Our minds race, we mull over the possibilities, the what ifs, the maybes, and it can be all too easy to form ideas in our minds as to how things will pan out.

That’s fine, and perfectly normal, as long as we don’t let these expectations run away with us. Having a a notional or preconceived idea is one thing, but pinning our hopes on that idea is a recipe for disaster. Things rarely, if ever, go exactly as we imagine.

So the trick is to keep a level head, let events unfold as they will, and be tolerant of the inevitable differences between what we expect, or would like, and what actually comes to pass.

But as someone once said ‘Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it’. Conversely it has also been said that ‘That thing you wished for, the thing you never got, might have been the most fortunate moment you could ever imagine’.

So muse away, daydream to your hearts content, but remember that at the end of the day, the truth of the situation will become clear soon enough.

Home Again, Home Again …

Home Again, Home Again ...You know there feeling, you’ve got a closer look at a possible problem, and the closer you look, the more nerve wracking the challenge becomes. So it was with my ride back to Poole today. Having done the journey hundreds of times in the car, I got an ‘up close and personal’ look at all the hills on my way up to Bristol on Friday, so I knew what was now in store for me on my way home.

I had wondered about taking a slightly different route back, going via Salisbury instead of Shaftsbury and Blandford Forum. But upon reflection, that seemed a bit like cheating. I had enjoyed flying down the hills on the way there, so I would repay the ‘debt’ by cycling up them on the way back.

The more I thought about the route, the more I seemed to focus on the difficult sections on the ride ahead. But with my confidence buoyed by the ride on Friday I said my goodbyes to Hannah and Stanley and set off just before 8:00am.

The morning air was rather fresh, particularly on the downhill stretches, but the Bristol area is anything but flat, and soon I was nicely warmed by some pretty steep inclines into Keynesham. The ride through Saltford was busy but easy, then I came to Pennyquick Hill, leading up to Haycombe Cemetery.

Although it has a cycle path, the surface is rough and loose in places, and as Rob had mentioned, it is really rather steep. But I dug in, concentrated on the next meter, then the next, then the one after that, and pretty soon I was at the top.

Haycombe CemetryThe ride down the other side is a real treat, but then you hit Whiteway Road, and in trying to negotiate a grotty surface I lost all my momentum. The walk up to the cemetery, to a point where I could safely get myself going again was a real disappointment.

But, blowing my own trumpet a bit here, that was the only time I walked with the bike. Some of the hills on the A350 were really tough, but I was determined and my legs were working well. Even Midford Hill and the twisty lane through Kingsettle Wood leading into Shaftsbury were conquered.

Shaftsbury Bus StopEntering Shaftsbury I decided I deserved a short rest, so I made use of the bus stop I had sat in on the outward journey. A few swigs of isotonic drink, to replenish the salts I had lost, a post on Facebook to let people know I was still OK, then an Orange energy sachet, a couple more swigs to wash it down and I was off again.

Apart from a short shower at Blandford Forum, which was actually rather refreshing, the rest of the journey was rather uneventful. Anyone seeing me ride through Upton and into Hamworthy must have thought that I was some escaped lunatic, the grin on my face was from ear to ear.

The trip had taken me just over five and a quarter hours, three quarters of an hour less than Friday and although I am nicely tired, I am non the worse for the experience. Another example of defeating the doubts that The Dark Passenger puts in my head, and maybe another step further along the path.

Have Patience

Have PatienceIt is said that patience is a virtue, and indeed that is a fact.

Having patience with someone, something, or with a situation can make the difference between causing, or solving problems.

When you are just about to run out of patience you should take a deep breath and carry on trying to be understanding.

Sometimes when our patience runs out, it is because we don’t have the full picture. Having a partial understanding of a situation leads us all to try to fill in the missing parts from our imagination. Our fundamental darkness will relish the chance to invent the details for us.

As anyone who has been to the dentist, and I guess that’s pretty much all of us, the waiting room, the fear of what might be in store, is often far worse than the reality when we finally sit in the chair.

So it is with most situations in life. So stop imagining, take that deep breath, and find a little more patience. It will be worth it in the end as we turn yet more poison into medicine

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