Saturday, 11 October 2014

From Here To Obscurity

After a difficult time and conversation yesterday, my lovely friend in a lathe beginning with H whose brilliant blog will be linked to if they want wisely and correctly decided that the instantiation of happiness would be engendered by the posting of pictures of small mammals like this:

and this:

I can see the appeal of these, and that it tends to be centred around big eyes, faces, smallness and fluffiness, most of which makes sense to me and I can relate it to babies of course.  There's something hypnotic about those eyes which draw one in and in fact I just found myself leaning towards the screen.  The one thing about them which is a bit of a mystery is the fluffiness, because although my brother was fluffy when he was born, that's the exception rather than the rule, but there it is - there's probably another explanation.  Nonetheless, and I'm almost ashamed to admit this, I find the animal magnetism of these cutesies rather weaker than many other people seem to, and I think it's to do with the way I see faces.

I seem to be mildly prosopagnostic - I don't recognise people by their faces as much as most other people appear to.  This has once again got weaker recently.  Another common phenomenon which people have in general, and which I do share, although to a lesser extent than many, is to see faces where there are none, such as here:

A red eye, a pink eye, a nose and a mouth (thanks for the stuff by the way to the respective former owners) is not what I see before me here.

One way in which this seems to influence my perception of the Universe is that I don't think Cynthia has a face.  If I look at this:

not only can I not see a face of any kind, but I can't even imagine how someone else might be able to make a face out of that series of plains and craters.  These are apparently what some people are able to do with it:

(According to Wikipedia).  I can just about see the lower one if I think about it hard.  The upper one is completely obscure and fanciful to me.

What I do see in Cynthia very clearly though is what a lot of other people see, which is a small, cute fluffy animal, namely this:

(again, courtesy of Wikipedia).  In other words, a rabbit.  To me, this pattern is so clear I cannot but see it at a glance.  This pattern is also seen by Native Americans, Chinese and Japanese, and other peoples apparently see a horned frog, which being a quadruped with a pair of long cranial projections is effectively the same thing.  Incidentally, this is a horned frog:

 (it's a lizard, not a frog), and this is a rabbit:
They don't look that similar I realise but the first one looks more Selenite than the other to me due to its cragginess.

My response to stressful situations, where I go for relief, is not small furry mammals.  I worry too much about their exploitation and how enmeshed they are in the current mass extinction.  That's my rationalisation.  Instead, I "look up", and see things like this (I'm going to post five because I love them so much):

To be perfectly honest, and this makes me feel a bit pathetic, the only one of these I've actually looked at directly in reality is the last, but that's mainly because my eyesight's so bad I can't see the others even through a telescope.

It's possible to see patterns in these too, such as these eyelike ones:

I personally find this last one amazingly like an eye.

To me, these heavenly images are more appealing and stress-relieving than bunnies because unlike bunnies they don't appear to be vulnerable to suffering and death at the hands of humans.  Instead, they seem to be vast, beautiful and indifferent, and dwarf my worries and the petty little things we do as a species like wipe the species out in a nuclear holocaust.  That eye above me, which is not part of a face I recognise, is going to look down indifferently as the mushroom clouds blossom and we all die in horrible agony, and I find that very comforting.  Unfortunately the animals depicted in the earlier pictures won't be indifferent to their fates and that is not at all comforting.

Just one more thing.  We look up at those nebulae and see a crab, eyes, a horse's head, a rosette and so on,picking usually living thngs on our own planet subconsciously.  What happens when an alien looks at them?  When we look at the hourglass nebula, we see an eye at the centre of an hourglass.  What if someone on a spaceship orbiting the planet Bellerophon looks at that and sees the face of its mother?  We could be looking at the spitting images of aliens and we'd never know.