We humans are social creatures who depend on our ability to recognize others. It is not hard to imagine how ancient Man stood a better chance of survival if able to diferentiate friend from foe. Over the millenia, our brains became hard-wired to search for other people’s faces, analyse their features, and to identify the person, all done on a neurological fast track that prioritizes the process of facial recognition.
We became so adept at this that our minds overlay facial features upon random patterns or textures of inanimate objects. Our minds can play tricks on us and the name of the game is pareidolia. Wikipedia defines it as…
“…a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant. Common examples include seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon or the Moon Rabbit, and hearing hidden messages on records played in reverse.”
So, strictly speaking, pareidolia is not limited to visual perception, but for the purpose of this post, we’ll concentrate on this one sense because I found it devilishly difficult to capture sounds, for example, with my camera and I so wanted to include a couple of shots I’ve taken over the past week to liven up this post a bit.
As it turns out, not all of these photos were taken in the past week. While looking through my archives for photos for another project, I came across the Batman in the Orchid photo and was reminded that I have a bunch of other shots that might go well in this post. In fact I was going to just take cloud pictures and post them so all the others, except the alien reflection that I now take for granted because I see it several times a week, were just sitting on the hard drive collecting digital dust.
Before we get to more pictures, I want to assure you that these shots are all pretty much as I shot them. I’ve done some global tweaking to make seeing the hidden faces, etc., easier to see and to make the images a bit more pleasing to the eye and I’ve cropped a couple to get rid of distractions. None of these images are faked in any way.
Most of us are familiar with The Man in the Moon, but did you know that in some cultures they see The Moon Rabbit using a large mortar and pestle to pound rice into rice flour?
To finish off this post, I am including this short animated video clip from South Korea about a young monkey asking his mother what the Moon Rabbit is doing. The mother doesn’t know so she asks a rabbit named Mashimaro what the Moon Rabbit is up to. Turn up the sound to get full enjoyment from this classic clip. Don’t worry, the dialogue is not in Korean!
I welcome your comments and links to some “head in the cloud” pictures of your own!