In the words of Monty Python fame, ‘now for something completely different’ how about the Kanizsa Triangle Illusion:
This illusion was first described in 1955 by an Italian psychologist named Gaetano Kanizsa. In the illusion, a white equilateral triangle can be seen in the image even though there is not actually a triangle there.
How this works is that our human mind groups objects and images together to form a whole. What happens is that we ignore the gaps and complete the contour lines; our minds fill in the missing information to create familiar shapes and images.
This same principle works with our perception, we see and hear things, and in our minds we interpret what we see and hear, add to that other information and together with our past experience form a conclusion, when all along that conclusion could well be built on our interpretation not on the basis of fact or reality.
Take a moment to look at these two images:
What do you see?
The first image offers us either an old woman or a young woman depending on what you see. The second offers either two faces or a vase, again depending upon what you see. Our perception strongly influences what we see. I don’t want to become too technical with these images and attempt to explain what happens within our thinking processes. Rather, we may use them as a reminder, that we each see things differently, one way is not necessarily right and the other wrong; rather they are different ways of seeing. It is important we learn to check out what is real or an illusion and not make decisions on what could be an illusion or an interpretation based solely on a perception.
Over the next few weeks we will be having conversations with our sisters and brothers from St Andrews Presbyterian, St Luke’s Methodist and Zion Hill Methodist Churches, we each will have different ideas, opinions and ways of seeing and appreciating what it means to be a Christ follower and part of a community of faith.
I find these images along with the Kanizsa Triangle Illusion a timely reminder to be respectful of our differences and to check out within myself, what is my perception, to make space within my own heart for the one who sees and holds things differently to me. I leave you with these quotes for your reflection:
The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. R. D. Laing
There is that in me…. I do not know what it is …..but I know it is in me. Walt Whitman
Through encountering each other as truly human we can both place ourselves in the world and glimpse God. Martin Buber
Meanwhile peace in our awareness of each other