Be skeptical: The McGurk effect and other musings of perception

If magick and the occult is on the List of your interests, then it is wise to be very skeptical. But, then again what does that mean and include? Here are some nice examples of the way our brain works. this automatically raises and answers the question “what is reality”.

The first example comes from the area of reading. If you are proofreading, one of the
the most common errors that you will miss, because youre minds fill in the details, for instance, is when the word “the” is repeated at the end of one line. Did you get it? No?

Along this line, where youre brain makes the world as it should be rather than it is, I found the most awesome example the McGurk Effekt as shown in the following Video:

As this shows, there is obviousely a hierarchical structure of the senses within our brain. What we see overrules (if in doubt) what we hear. Here is another example of our brain just correcting what it perceives:

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabridge Uinvervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the litteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a ttoal mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is besauae ocne we laren how to raed we bgien to aargnre the lteerts in our mnid to see waht we epxcet to see. The huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but preecsievs the wrod as a wlohe. We do tihs ucnsoniuscoly wuithot tuhoght.”

So “Reality” is what we make out of it, even on this measuable level … oh great.

For my magical work I came to use a multisensual method, always combining more senses to my experiments (Visualize in combination with certain fragrances and some tactile stimulator). This is not only good for magick but also for the more “normal” topics. Here is a great article “Multimodal Instruction” as you can read in the Linked article the sense of smell is different to all other senses (which is why I think it is important in magical work):

Think for a moment about your favorites smells. The smell of freshly cut grass or a live Christmas tree, baking bread, the ocean, a fall bonfire, sour beer… all can conjure up an involuntary memory of a special moment, perhaps from childhood or of a once familiar place, which just for a moment is poignantly and clearly remembered.

This occurs because olfactory information has a direct connection with the amygdala, which enables animals to experience and express passion, desires and emotion, it adds the emotional spice to life, both positive and negative.

All sensory signals must go to the thalamus before being directed to other parts of the brain. This is true for all senses except one, namely smell. Odors enter the nose and proceed to the olfactory region right between the eyes, which is the size of a postage-stamp. The nerves then proceed directly to the amygdala and to the orbitofrontal cortex, the decision-making area of the brain, bypassing the thalamus.

It is as if odor is saying, “ My signal is so important, what are you going to do about it?” How much of a hurry is the sense of smell? So much so that nature decided the olfactory receptor cells didn’t need a protective barrier! The cornea guards the visual receptor neurons and the eardrum shelters the hearing neurons. But there is no protective guardian between the olfactory region and the amygdala.

So as you can see, it is very wise to be skeptical about youre own work. It is not only wise but also fun to combine different senses within your meditation/work/ritual/whatever. You will be surprised to learn that you will be able to arrive at a desired state of mind by using any of the afore  combined and “learned” stimuli.

Open and combine your doors of perception!

Also read “Minds are like Parachutes” which revolves around similar thoughts.

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~ by Otto on May 2, 2011.

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