If you're not knitting, the terrorists win

(My mostly on-topic ramblings about knitting. And life in general. My life in specific.)

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Location: Indiana, United States

I'm a middle aged mother of 2 grown children and wife to a man who doesn't seem to mind my almost heroin-like yarn addiction. I spend my time writing, knitting, and generally stressing out.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Neurophysics and Ghosts

Have you ever seen something in your peripheral vision that just kind of took you aback? Like, you're looking at something else, but out of the corner of your eye you see a man in a hat standing in your hallway?

Creepy, right?

I was watching this show the other night that claimed the human eye doesn't really see as well as we think it does. According to this show, the eye really only sees the center of its vision really well. Everything else is kind of crappy vision. But our brains interpret those crappy signals to make it seem like we're seeing well. The brain draws upon what it knows from past experience and whatever crappy signals it gets from the eyes, and then uses that information to interpret what you are seeing there.

This predictive nature of the brain is really kind of cool. And it works most of the time. But sometimes, you see a guy in a hat standing in the hall. Bad brain. Bad.

Seriously, why does the brain think it's acceptible to give you something like that? I assume my brain realizes my mom has been gone for 28 years. So why would my brain make me see my mom out of the corner of my eye? Or a grey cat (which I don't have) running down the hall?

And, for that matter, what is the deal with ears? The other night, in the middle of the night, plain as day I heard R say "Hey Dad?" from right next to the bed. I shot wide awake. (Seriously. I always wake up whenever one of the kids makes a noise, no matter that they are adults.) My eyes snapped open, but no one was there. So I listened carefully to see if I could hear R at the bedroom door, or walking down the hall, or whatever.

Let me clarify here, that if there had been any indication of distress or urgency, I would have answered right away. But since it was a very calm "Hey Dad?" I decided to wait to see if I heard it again. My grandma used to tell stories of dark things that waited for you to acknowledge them. It gave them some sort of power. (According to my grandma, those things are always there, by the way, just waiting for someone to see them.) So, having been emotionally scarred frightened as a child, I like to wait to see if I hear it again before I answer.

I didn't, of course. Creepy.

My nose has the same sort of neural misfires. Today, as I was sitting at my desk, I smelled my dad's cigarettes so strongly... Now listen, my dad smoked for 40 years. Smoked unfiltered Lucky Strikes. The smoke is very acrid and sharp. It's very distinct.

I was home alone.

Yeah. That's why I just keep telling myself it's just neurophysics.


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