When I told her I saw monsters I could tell by the look on her face it wasn’t the thing to do. She thought most of my problems were alcohol related and truth be told there was a lot of wisdom in what she said. But drinking didn’t cause monsters and they were there long after the buzz was gone. She eased away from the crazy man and she wouldn’t be the last but the monsters were still there, and some even waved. I waved back.
Scientific American published an article many years ago proving you, yes you, and everyone else with normal vision, is in fact, hallucinating. The human eye, each and every one of them, has a blind spot in the lower field of vision. The human brain fills in these blind spots with whatever background is available so there are no blanks. What’s weird, as if the fact that we’re hallucinating every second of the day isn’t enough, is that given a chart with two bars on it, one complete and one with a gap in it, your mind will fill in the gap in the bar when it is placed in the blind spot, even if the subject being tested knows the gap is really there. Reality doesn’t mean a damn thing to your brain it only cares about its interpretation of the environment.
You cannot train yourself to see the gap you know is there.
If you hold your breath long enough you’ll pass out and start breathing as soon as that part of your brain that allows you do hold your breath gives out and that part of your brain that says, “Breathe you moron!” kicks in as it has every second of your life. You understand and accept that as a fact, no? So why is it sight gives you such a hard time when we discuss what your brain does with the light that comes into your skull from two very small holes?
If you close your eyes what do you see? You might answer “nothing” but does this mean your optic nerve has been disconnected? But even with your eyes closed you can “see” colors and shapes and movement. You know what you “see” with your eyes closed isn’t real, but when your eyes are open you would swear you saw it with your own two eyes. You have haven’t you? You’ve looked for something and then later found it to be sitting right there in front of you. Those of us who still remember looking for books in libraries remember going over and over a shelf and not finding a book then it magically appears after we return for a second glance. You walk down the street and there’s a store there that you know you’ve never seen before, when did that open?
When we forget names we go through some mental gymnastics that seem to make things worse, don’t we? We accept this as truth. Yet we cannot seem to acknowledge that our vision works on very similar principles even though it is the same organ doing the work. Not only does your mind create reality in a form that satisfies itself, but it does this of its own volition and there is nothing you can do about it.
We accept seeing is believing because both seeing and believing are being done in the same place. Both are equally fallible.
As a species of mammal, human beings realize their strongest sense is also one with its own faults and flaws. We know this. You know it. I know it. What you are reading right now is evidence that sight is something that isn’t perfect because I proofread this essay and found it to be perfect. Why did I not see that error you saw? If you went through it again would there be something you missed? But I belabor the point, if not for good reason. If we can come to agreement that some of what we all see isn’t there at all could we not also agree that some of us see what isn’t seen by most?
Remember my soon to be former girlfriend who began to ease away from the madman when he revealed to her he saw monsters? The next time you pass a car on the road look at the driver. Male? Female? Young or old? Your see this person for a second, maybe less, and your mind dutifully fills in the blanks as it does every second of every day. You may think you have seen this person before. That person may look like some actor that was in a really good movie, you know, the woman Kate looked at on “Titanic”, yes, she looked just like her didn’t she?
Sometimes I see monsters.
I see deformed and demented looking drivers sometimes. They look like mutants from a radioactive desert, or a cartoonish looking figure with a large forehead and madman hair. Okay, now some people may really look like this, granted, but at the same time, the filler of the blanks in my head is doing something just a little wee bit different than seems to be going on in other people’s heads.
I learned never to speak of this. I stopped saying, “Golly Dog! Did you see what was driving that car?” because no one else saw it. But there are consequences in this inaction because one day I rode by a truck and there was someone wearing a gorilla mask behind the wheel. I didn’t flinch. There were three other people with me that looked at one another, looked at me, and finally someone said, “Was that what I think it was?” And so it was. They asked me if I had seen it and of course I said so, but then someone wondered aloud why I hadn’t said anything at all.
My mind has a mind of its own. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that all of this bubbled up today while I was waiting for a train to pass, and on the other side of the tracks I thought I saw something unhuman behind the wheel of a car. The train passed and it was just a guy in a hat. But my mind asked itself why it did that and after that it was on.
That’s how this got here. That’s how I see the things I do in the things that I do.