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Our Ears And Eyes Deceive Us

1211 words - 5 pages

We have eyes to see with, ears to hear with, why then do we err?

We have been blessed with five senses that we are expected to survive with. But as technologies improve and our knowledge is broadened, the more we realize that our senses are not as glorious as previously thought. Indeed, man has been blessed with eyes and ears, yet he still errs. What he sees before him, is it correct? What he hears and what he is told, is it inaccurate?

Our perception of our world has been shaped by centuries worth of studies, and recently with the help of technology. We believe what we see in textbooks, we nod in agreement to what we are told. This computer before me, why is it called a computer? How is it made? Why was it made? It is called a computer because that is what Konrad Zuse decided to call it. It is made with the help of other technology, and it was made to help with research. I am able to answer these questions because I believe what I read in a textbook and I believed what I was told. Yet similarly to how a computer often errs, humans err in their understanding of the universe.

It is well known that our world is strange and perplexing. Despite a huge growth of knowledge in recent decades, we are still confronted by an enormous array of ambivalent beliefs. Many years ago, it was believed that the world was flat. The sailors setting out to sea were not looking at the whole picture, and therefore made errors in judgment. Millions of people read the world was flat, they heard the world was flat, and they believed in it with all their heart. But they turned out to be false. The human brain, said to be the most powerful and complex thinking tool in the world, deceived them.

What we see or hear is immediately processed by the brain and stored in two categories: believing, or disbelieving. The Mercator map projection looks correct, and so we trust in it. What we don’t see as quickly are its many limitations. The relative size of the land masses is distorted. Greenland and Africa seem to be about the same size, but actually Africa is fourteen times bigger. Europe’s size is exaggerated, and placed in the center of the map, which is also untrue. But most importantly it is based on the convention that the Northern hemisphere is at the top of the world, and the Southern hemisphere is at the bottom . Such an assumption is made mainly out of habit, but it is also a topic of contradictory ideas.

It is inaccurate to assume that the Northern hemisphere should be on top, for depending on which angle one looks at the Earth, the Southern hemisphere is on top. This is illustrated by another type of map projection, known as the Hobo-Dyer projection. Although the shapes of the continents are distorted, sizes are reflected accurately. Many people find this map faulty due to the habitual way of thinking that north should be on top. We only believe in this because we have heard this all our lives, and we have seen it in textbooks and read about it. But...

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