Word Search

Pareidolia and Signifying the Insignificant

On the role of chance in pattern recognition
of 2
All materials on our website are shared by users. If you have any questions about copyright issues, please report us to resolve them. We are always happy to assist you.
Related Documents
  !"#!$#!%& !(!) *+*,-./012/, ,30 4/53/67/35 89. :3;/53/6/<,38 = >9. ?-11@273 A,/2*,5. ! 16 B988C;D##E-11@273-,/2F1-5#B"!%#!"#<-/8/<;C,5.#*,-./012/,G,30G4/53/67/35G89.G:3;/53/6/<,38 !  OCT 2019 Issue " Donate Critics Page Pareidolia and Signifying the Insignificant OCT 2019 By Jessamine Batario  By chance, the interiors of sliced bell peppers look like screaming faces. A cloud can resemble ananimal, an Imperial Destroyer, or Godzilla looming over Tokyo. Pareidolia, or the perception ofpatterns in natural phenomena, can be lighthearted and imaginative.Signs play, and we recognize patterns by connecting images we perceive to forms we alreadyknow. We assess and act accordingly. What does one do with this visual information exceptchuckle and move on, or keep scrolling? Some forms of pareidolia fail to register beyond temporaryamusementThe philosopher Richard Wollheim made a distinction between what he called “seeing-in” asopposed to “seeing-as.” We see in a sliced bell pepper a screaming face, but we would never see abell pepper as a screaming face, never confuse a vegetable for a human. (First of all, the scale isall wrong.) In this case, seeing-as is an obvious mistake, a comedy of errors. But what if we think ofseeing-as not in terms of a visual error in pattern recognition, but as more of a general means ofmaking meaning of signs we perceiveConsider pareidolia on a cosmological scale. Humans before us looked at the array of stars in thesky and saw images in them. These images solidified into constellations, and they acquiredsignificance when we named them. For some, chance resemblance and chance circumstancesthen combine to signify a world view. Astrology tells me that the arbitrary timing of my birth hasmuch to do with my personality traits. As a Taurus, I am told that I am prone to being stubborn. Imight reflect on all my experiences and remember all the times I was unyielding, and agree. But inthat process of filtering through my memories, I might discount all the times I conceded. This isconfirmation bias at work. I see what I want to see. Nowadays, if I want to see a screaming face ina sliced bell pepper, I will see it.Why, in our eyes, do things that are not alike look alike? The answer might lie in the stars.Returning to cosmological scale—and scale is everything—Carl Sagan reminds us of our puny,insignificant existence relative to the universe. There are more stars out there than there are grainsof sand on earth. Human history on the cosmic calendar corresponds to the last minute onDecember 31. The magnitude of this scale can hardly be felt; comprehending it is humblingenough. The remedy, according to Sagan, is this: “For small creatures such as we, the vastness isbearable only through love.” What is love but connection? We counter our own relativeinsignificance through the act of signifying and making meaning, through likeness.To consider the chance play of signs in the wide expanse of our meager lives is to engage in  !"#!$#!%& !(!) *+*,-./012/, ,30 4/53/67/35 89. :3;/53/6/<,38 = >9. ?-11@273 A,/2*,5. B 16 B988C;D##E-11@273-,/2F1-5#B"!%#!"#<-/8/<;C,5.#*,-./012/,G,30G4/53/67/35G89.G:3;/53/6/<,38 constellational thinking. Its effect on our conception of reality has less to do with the signsthemselves, and more to do with us who perceive the signs. We register the signs as real in theprocess from perception to conception, from seeing to seeing-as. It only happens if we make it so.In the face of our relative standing in the cosmos, any meaning will do. Contributor Jessamine Batariois an art historian who lives in Maine. She is currently the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the LunderInstitute for American Art at Colby College.
Related Search
We Need Your Support
Thank you for visiting our website and your interest in our free products and services. We are nonprofit website to share and download documents. To the running of this website, we need your help to support us.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

No, Thanks

We need your sign to support Project to invent "SMART AND CONTROLLABLE REFLECTIVE BALLOONS" to cover the Sun and Save Our Earth.

More details...

Sign Now!

We are very appreciated for your Prompt Action!