The Illusion Of Light

By: A.C.

This report of a science experiment which tried to determine if people who are left alone with their own thoughts, for fifteen minutes, would rather shock themselves. The participants in this study knew that a small device fitted to the limb would give them a jolt if they chose to activate it. All the participants had to do was to sit for fifteen minutes with no distractions and just be alone with their own thoughts.

Amongst the many occupations I have done, I worked in the outdoors and sometimes for long periods alone in repetitive work which afforded my mind the chance to think of the world around me. I allowed my mind to focus or dream as I chose.

I doubt that anyone working solo in agriculture who could not occupy their mind for fifteen minutes would last very long. So I have a capacity or tendency toward being able to allow my mind to wander off in all directions. Focused day–dreaming, thinking, cogitation or meditation; call it what you want.

My parents had the perfect children’s toy for me. It was called the Public Library. When I day -dreamed and asked questions they would say “go find out”.

Did you know that Kingfishers, like Humming Birds are actually dull brown coloured?

I found this out a number of years ago, when I was searching for an answer to a question from a friend in the USA who had photographed a brown hummingbird in her garden. You can read all about feather structure and why birds get coloured feathers here.

Closer to home is the Kingfisher, which was mentioned in that delightful programme QI.

“Kingfishers may look bright blue, but they are actually a murky brown colour. This is due to the difference between pigmented and structural colouration. If we were to just see the light reflected directly from the wings it would be brown, but actually the light bounces around the structure of the wings, causing iridescent colouring.”

Kingfisher are not actually blue and orange coloured, but our eyes see the reflected iridescent light in the spectrum. We see the light refracted or reflected from tiny structures in their feathers. Hummingbirds are the same.

It is little facts like that that enable one to think beyond fifteen minutes without getting bored. In reading articles on Light Refraction, iridescence, birds feathers and such like, I learned also that we humans actually see the world as an old style camera would, except that our brain turns the world the ‘right’ way up.

Life is but an illusion…

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