Perception

Of our five senses we rely on sight and visual inputs the most; even more than auditory and tactile. The technology that we use on a regular basis- phones, televisions, laptops- utilise our visual cues to give us feedback. For example, communication with our devices involves reading and writing, much more than listening, and speaking to them. Basically, it’s easier for our devices to communicate to us via text, and alert us through notifications, rather than through auditory means, like ‘SIRI’, or ‘Google Now’. They have large displays to help us navigate and interact with them using sight. Tactile and Auditory feedback supplement, the primary visual responses.

With our reliance on such ‘monochromatic’ (figuratively of course), single-sense stimulating technology increasing, I fear that our other senses may weaken. Social media (Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook), and the exchange and display of photos and videos, stimulates our visual senses. The increase in ‘chatting’ and communication via mail and text, once again, revolve around sight. Our source of entertainment- Gaming, Youtube, Movies- also primarily use these stimuli.

Technology takes advantage of our visual abilities (or dis-abilities), that we fail to recognise that the millions of colours that we see on the computer screen, are in fact ‘false’, deceiving us everyday. They are just a result of three colours, namely, Red, Blue and Green. With varying combinations and intensity, these three colours, which make up the millions of individual pixels on our screens, use our eyes’ inability to see such minute objects, and inability to differentiate between the small and overlapping wavelengths, to give the illusion of millions of different colours appearing on our screen. We need to indulge our other senses, to prevent them from dampening and losing their abilities.

~A close up of the millions of pixels we interact with everyday. Where have you seen this before?~

(refer image below)

‘Visible light’- electromagnetic waves between the wavelength 390 nanometers and 700 nanometers consisting of rays from Radio to Gamma- individually, or in a combination make up all the 10 million colours that we perceive. For example, pink and purple are actually a combination of lights of different wavelength. Our entire perception of the world around us, and interaction with each other spawns from this very specific part of electromagnetic spectrum.

Our eyes have adapted to perceive this ‘visible light’ because this is the wavelength of light, emitted by the sun, that propagates well in water. (We developed our sight in water, before we evolved into terrestrial animals). But what boggles me the most is that visible light makes up only 0.0035% (yeah! that number isn’t made up) of the electromagnetic spectrum, ranging from 100 mega metres to 1 pico metre (10 to the 18th power!); such a vast range! So, whats scary is that our perception of the world (revolving around the visual, as already established) is so restrictive, that we see only 0.0035% of whats there to ‘see’. We can’t even perceive a ‘0.0036%’ because we don’t have the power, nor the ability to comprehend it.

In a more metaphorical sense, everything that we are exposed to is so unfathomable, that we can’t even understand what’s going around us, yet we narrow-sightedly make our opinions, pass our judgements and make our decisions without seeing the complete picture and understanding what exists. Just as we have developed tools to enable us to view and perceive the world through different ‘colours’ shifted to our perception, we must open our eyes and arms to our world and the people that surround us, looking beyond what we catch at first sight and stop being bogged down by ideals, stereotypes, and assumptions.

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By Krish Kurva

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