The magic of optical illusion

It was a Friday night, and my mom was on one of her mad iPad splurges, surfing web forums and giggling at YouTube videos. I was tired and bored and mentally complaining to the life gods of how uneventful my life was until suddenly my mom placed the screen in front of me, and asked me what I saw.

It was an optical illusion. A grey and black checkerboard that had two boxes labeled, “A” and “B,” and a simple question below the diagram that asked whether Boxes A and B were the same color. Slightly confused, I looked at my mom and shook my head no. The boxes were evidently different shades of gray since Box B was in a ring of white light while Box A was in the shadows. A promiscuous smile curled around the edges of my mom’s mouth as she told me that they were actually the same color.

A bit mind blown and ready to defend my argument, I looked back hard at the optical illusion. However, after a long steady gaze I realized that, in fact, they were the same color. The reason they looked different was due to the difference in colors of the squares Box A and Box B were surrounded by. The white squares caused Box B to look lighter, while the black squares around Box A made it look darker. My eyes took this observation and influenced my brain to think that these two boxes were different colors because it’s seemed to be that the human mind was trained to think a certain way until contradicted by newly discovered specifics. And the fact that a certain shade or color could totally change the feel or perception of an object surprised me; how certain objects surrounding the main subject could cause us to assume things based on our habitual perception.

This sudden defamiliarization gave me a totally new outlook. Habitual perception usually set our minds to think a certain way, to believe that our brains are not capable of going beyond the usual thinking and that we were limited to believe a certain set of standards that were only set in stone. However, this simple optical illusion allowed me to understand that what I thought, believed, or saw was not exactly everything that was there. It taught me the harmony of colors and the limitless perception that the mind was capable of if only trained and taught well. And how each detail individually was different, but as a whole put together, they created a piece that was harmonized.

I applied this ideal in my art and my everyday life. It allowed me to train my mind to think more openly and freely and see things in different perspectives.

I started to believe that there were no limits when it came to anything.

Evan Kwong

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