By Brenda Black
Perspective artists use optical illusions to fool your perception and make you believe that a painting is actually 3D. Angles, color, and shading are all employed to mislead the mind. While most artists use optical illusion to make their art more believable, others take it to the next creative step with the intentional purpose of duping the onlooker. Often, there is more to the image than first meets the eye.
Artists M.C. Escher created his piece Relativity with that in mind. His picture challenges the brain to see different versions of the painting at once, including people going both up and down stairs at the same time, indoor and outdoor scenes tag-teaming, and mind-boggling trickery that leaves you wondering where to look first and what to believe. His skills as an artist and illusionist helped him master the impossible by changing perspective, creating implausible scenarios and incorporating 3D, all into one work of art. It goes to show how easy it is to get fooled with information you take at face value.
An old adage says, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Artistic illusion is entertaining. Intentional deception – not so much. It is unethical and potentially devastating. Our world is filled with both and it behooves each of us to take a second look before we venture our emotions or invest our savings into anything.
I don't know about you, but I am weary of empty promises and underhanded agendas from two-faced politicians. I long to be able to trust charitable organizations that purport good intentions. And I sure don't want to be duped by a business that sells me a bill of goods rather than a good product. Lately, I've wondered where are the ethical? And why are we so ridiculously gullible?
Is it our own greed that has us elect someone to office who promises what we want to hear? Is it our indifference that keeps us from finding a worthy cause to support? Is it ignorance that prevents further research before we purchase?
Warnings abound concerning the 2010 Census – “Be careful how much you divulge,” “Look for credentials,” “Don't be duped!” That in itself tells you which way our moral compass is pointed – S - for “SCAM”. Maybe it's time we take a second look.
At a time when Haitians are devastated and in desperate and legitimate need, we'll need to be wise where we contribute, but don't let fear keep you from helping. There are credible missions and worthy organizations getting your generosity to the right places. Ignorance is no excuse for bad decisions in elections or matters of charity. Step back and view the scene from every angle. Distinguish reality from fantasy, truth from fiction. Don't let your mind be tricked by smoke and screens. Get the facts, all the facts, before you fall prey to deception. Then follow your heart, knowing it goes forth in wisdom.
When it comes to more tangible investments, remember just because something looks good, doesn't necessarily mean it is good. I recently purchased a phone. I was told it was new. When I got it home and began personalizing features, it was apparent that someone had been there before. The vulgar song title for the first ringtone choice made me suspicious. But it was the smell of cigarette smoke that permeated the little electronic with a big stink that settled the matter in my mind. I was a little ticked at both the purveyor and myself. How could I be so misled and why would they be so deceptive? I'm still searching my own shortcomings, but I'm pretty certain that their motivation was dollars and cents.
I'm a little wiser from the lesson; I've erased the song and the stink has disappeared and life goes on. I've gained perspective.
When we get the right perspective, it is empowering. We're equipped to make right choices.
“This is what the Lord says: 'Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.'” (Jeremiah 6:16)
Open your eyes, engage your brain, enlist your senses and embrace sound judgement. You don't have to be fooled. You can be certain.