Home Illusion – writing the play

illusion (n.)
mid-14c., “mockery, scorning, derision;” late 14c., “act of deception; deceptive appearance, apparition; delusion of the mind,” from Old French illusion “a mocking, deceit, deception” (12c.), from Latin illusionem (nominative illusio) “a mocking, jesting, jeering; irony,” from past-participle stem of illudere “mock at,” literally “to play with,” from assimilated form of in- “at, upon” (from PIE root *en “in”) + ludere “to play”



Dr Ornstein on human perception


auto-generated transcript

It’s not only strikingly similar it actually is a virtual reality i know it’s difficult to think about it that way but i’ve tried to boil down what i think is the essence of a lot of modern psychological work a lot of modern neuroscience work as well as philosophical traditions and religious and spiritual traditions to the point that they meet and that is in christianity or whatever people say well shun the world or the world is an illusion etc in neuroscience it’s deals with the complexity of the computations by which we simplify the world the simple fact is the world is trillions of times more complicated than we experience it and in order to get through the day in order to avoid cars or previously presumably avoid tigers we have to cut it down and every organism has to cut it down to a manageable entity wherein we can work and that’s why every organism including us have a virtual reality well there’s a trillion word that i’m struck by because of course we’ve heard about the iraq war but you early on in the in the book say only one trillionth of reality makes it to consciousness and in fact uh you say we’re immersed in this tiny chamber of self-delusion the mind is all about well the job of the mind is survival but it’s also about illusion well it has to be because if you saw and experienced everything when you were crossing a street you would never get across the street for instance there’s a lot of information in the air that you never experience that you know exists because we have radio waves we have the microwaves that color cover television we have lots of sound waves or pressure waves that we never hear every organism gets tuned differently by design to the niche of the world that it’s supposed to inhabit ours is greater than most but let’s put it this way one trillionth of the information that hits your eye actually gets transmitted to the brain and we cut it down much much further so it’s way way more than uh less than a trillionth of reality that we exist in we have to do it we have to focus on those few things that are important to our survival and that’s where the world is an illusion comes from it’s an illusion but it’s an illusion that we’ve all constructed so that we can live but we’re not our mind you see did i say that yeah [Laughter] show me uh we’re not our mind um really um we’re uh a concomitant of a lot of different forces uh some of which happened long ago in biological evolution some of which happen in social evolution and some of which happen every day you can think of it this way as i did at the beginning of the book trying to introduce it as sort of a first book think of it graphically as and michael frayne who’s the famous playwright also uses this in one of his new books think of it as two overlapping circles one is the circle of the world and the second is the circle of us where they overlap which is a very very thin ellipse is the world that we live in and we we don’t really see the world as it is think of it as you’re listening to this you’re not paying attention say to the weight of your body against the chair while you’re listening to this even if you’re driving you’ve blinked probably um 60 times a minute but there’s no interruption when you blink now stop noticing you’re blinking if you’re driving now but the world doesn’t get interrupted so we obviously project some sense of a continuing reality when we don’t really have it we’re like magicians then yeah yeah i think that’s right it is an illusion but it’s not a complete illusion that is it’s more of a selective illusion we pick out those aspects that we need by we i mean all organisms and us in general we got to avoid a car we have we had to avoid tigers we had to find food we had to find shelter we had to mate so there’s a very radically simple way that we look at the world which is why i thought in modern terms the idea of a virtual reality makes much more sense it is a virtual reality it’s just that’s the reality that we live in

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