Thursday, September 06, 2007

Class story

I've been discussing an article about visual illusions in class this week. (It's not the same as an optical illusion.) You can see an example of the visual illusion here. It looks like the tower on the right is leaning more than the tower on the left. But really, it's two identical photos side by side.

© 2007 Kingdom, Yoonessi & Gheorghiu (Read more about these illusions here)

When we finish reading the article and comprehend it, I ask, "So if your senses can deceive you, what exactly is reality? If we all share the same perception, does that make it real?"

We've all heard things that didn't really make a sound. I mean sometimes I think spouse has called my name and I answer, "What?" And then he tells me that he didn't say anything.

Then we talk about the expression, "seeing is believing", and the oft repeated business axiom, "Perception is reality." It's made for some interesting conversation.

Until.

I had a (fervently religious) student who exclaimed, "This is philosophy! I'm here to learn English."

That certainly popped my soufflé. So I sighed, and moved on.

20 comments:

Vila H. said...

Spoilsport!

Dantallion said...

God forbid a person should ever expose themselves to ideas that differ from their own...

Ed said...

I've always heard don't believe anything you read and only half of what you see. Yet, I don't know which half to believe. Fascinating picture. There is the same amount of blue on each side and yet they look different. Mindboggling. Tell religious student, you'll learn what I teach you if you want to pass this class.

CoffeeDog said...

Some people minds are so closed.

Patricia said...

too bad for him. most of my best teachers were the ones who not only taught me the "stuff" but modeled - and therefore helped me learn - the skill of critical thinking.

Lemuel said...

Your student's perception was shortsighted. Language - even English - is a tool to communicate and to discuss such things as philosophy. He/she needs to sharpen his tools and expand his/her world.

In addition, language affects Weltanschauung ("world view"). When another language is properly learned we have insight into how differently various cultures view reality and how that view is expressed via language.

Frank said...

This is poop-free!?!

mainja said...

the weirdest part is that even if i look at the pictures seperately the one on the right still looks like it's leaning more. the eye/mind is a wierd thing.

Jason said...

Oh, oh... jihad in English class.

GayProf said...

I mean sometimes I think spouse has called my name and I answer, "What?" And then he tells me that he didn't say anything.

How long have you been hearing these voices in your head?

Chunks said...

Make the fervently religious student sit through a poop story next time! Then tell him there are about fourty ways to say poop and he needs to find all of them before next class!

Stupid little souffle popper!

Lewis said...

Man, are you messing with my head here? You been smoking something? Drinking heavily? What do you mean those pics are the same??? Oh, they are, aren't they?

dirk.mancuso said...

Okay, that picture thing is just weird...

Snooze said...

I'm with the student. I used to go insane in French class when he had really heavy topics. It was always l'avortement or la peine capital. Spanish class was always, "What was the happiest day of your life?" We still got the grammar covered...

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Man, that illusion is freaking me out. I should have hit all that acid.

David said...

Some would say religion is philosophy at its extreme.

As for the illusion, it took me a moment to realize they were the same photo.

madamerouge said...

"where there's smoke, there's fire"

Daniel, the Guy in the Desert said...

The language that we speak defines the content of our thought. Hebrew is capable of expressing thoughts of which English is incapable of expression, and vice versa.
No doubt your very religious student still believes the quaint notion that there exists some "absolute truth" which the human mind is capable of expressing.

dawn said...

fucking religious people! ruin everything.

Rebekah said...

It's an advanced class right? Advanced topics.

Just a thought.

Heh.

Get it?

Thought?