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Your Brain Makes Stuff Up!

Nature abhors a vacuum. Likewise your brain needs to fill in the blanks, and it will. If the ‘facts’ aren’t available, it’ll just make stuff up. You have to watch it, keep your eye on this one. Most of what we know and most of what we see is actually totally made up by our own minds.

Don’t believe me? Close your left eye and stare at the left margin of a page of text. You are not conscious of the large hole in your vision about 15cm to the right of the margin. Keep staring with only your right eye and trace a finger along the line of print from the margin to the right. You will see the top of it disappear momentarily and as you continue moving it, it will re-appear. This is because we have a two-millimetre gap on the side of the retina where the optic nerve fibres collect in a cable that connects to the brain. This is normally called the blind spot, but this is a misnomer. If it were a blind spot we would have a dark patch on our vision. Even a blind person sees their darkness. It is a nothing spot. Our perception has discretely knitted up the hole in such a clever way that we’re not aware that it even exists. Other blanks and questions in our minds are dealt with in the same way.

So what does all this prove? Well, your mind does not like unanswered questions - it must have an answer and if it can't find one in its databank it will make one up. An example of this is if you ask yourself a question like, "why does this always happen to me?" when something doesn't go to plan. Your brain then searches through its databank and looks for evidence of 'this always happens to me' and comes back with the answer: "This always happens to you because you're a useless idiot." Is that the right answer? Well, not exactly.... it's a made up answer for a stupid question. Try to ask your mind better questions instead like, "how can I stop this happening again in the future" and you'll get a much better answer.

Now take a look at this and answer this question: how many white dots do you see?

optical illusion

Don't believe what you see - your brain makes stuff up!
If you want to see more optical illusions click here.

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