What do you see? A matter of perception and memory

5th July 2013
Look at this photo - it is in the Woods where I sometimes get the opportunity to walk. Can you see a face? A big long nose and two round eyes? There is an open mouth, too, below the nostrils. It's a giant - quite a kindly, good-natured giant. And of course, once you have noticed the face in the tree, you always see it, every time you pass. I do.
old rugged tree in woods
Now, before you start wondering just what kind of magic mushrooms I was gathering at the time, let me remind you that there aren't any mushrooms in spring, and that in fact we all of us see patterns in things. We see them around us every day.

Perception and memory

It got me wondering, that maybe once we get a fixed idea about things, about perception and memory. It can be very hard to let go of it or to react in other ways - believing that we can understand or dismiss or judge accordingly. The kinds of music we don't listen to, the kinds of books we don't read - the kinds of people we don't like. Once the picture is set in our consciousness, we see it every time we look. And so we have opinions, political, religious, social opinions and biases concerning the world. But those opinions, those perceptions and memories might not be any more real or rational that the face we discern in the tree.

Beneath the tree, by the way, you can see lots of wild garlic. So there was plenty of seasoning to go with the giant's supper, he said, as I passed quickly by. I think I had a lucky escape, don't you! (Or maybe not ... not really)
Authored by Robert Stephen Parry

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