Monday, June 24, 2013

Brain Games

National Geographic's Brain Games is topping my list right now as a new summertime fave TV show. It's described as "chock full of interactive games and experiments designed to mess with your mind and reveal the inner-workings of your brain. Delving into topics like focus, fear, persuasion, decision-making and neural fitness, Brain Games turns your mind’s eye inwards for a profoundly entertaining and revealing journey into the three and a half pounds of tissue that makes you...you."

Last night as we were watching the episode Illusion Confusion (all about how your mind perceives the world), I realized how easy it is for our brains to be fooled by what we see. A cardboard dragon that looks like his head is moving, a plate of food that is actually a flat piece of paper, and a pocket-sized teddy bear that looks huge were some of the examples of how our minds are tricked into thinking an object looks one way but in reality it is quite different. It's all about perception and angles.

 


This made me think: if the way we look at an object is all about perception, angles and lighting, and we can be made to perceive a flat piece of paper as a plate full of food, then wouldn't it be quite easy to perceive other things as real when they are false, or to even distort our own reality? Like how we look...or how we look compared to that beautiful supermodel on the pages of a magazine?


Creating a beautiful magazine spread is all about a distortion of reality, and whether it's a big distortion, with the use of airbrushing, or a relatively smaller one, with the use of lighting, make-up and angles, it's still all about creating an illusion of perfection. And it's one that we buy--hook, line and sinker. When we take that illusion of perfection and compare it to what we see in the mirror, and add to it the possibility of our minds being trained to think a certain way, with certain expectations and assumptions, then you have the elements of a perfect storm. One that creates self-doubt and esteem issues, and that could possibly lead to obsession, disorders and depression.

It's easy to believe the hype--after all, we are fed a steady diet of "what is beauty (and what is not)" from sun up to sundown--but it's not our only source of direction. When we start seeing the lies for exactly what they are--lies--then it's possible to then start sorting out what to believe and what not to believe.

God's word is the ultimate origin of truth, and I'm learning that beauty isn't just an outward treatment--the source comes from within (1 Peter 3:4).
 

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