What the eyes take in are waves reflected off of objects. What we see when we look at something is what our brain tells us it is. Some of that is based on what we’ve learned, what we’ve been told, what we’ve seen before.
When you look at an object you call an apple, how do you know it’s an apple? Because someone told you that’s what it’s called. And that’s what others call it. It’s our social contract. Let’s call this thing an apple.
But what if it’s not an apple? What if it’s a piece of wood painted to look like an apple?
Seth Godin recently wrote a blog post on how manipulation of photos and video can make things seem real when they are not.
Technology is making it ever easier to manipulate images and video. This has cool implications in some areas, and disturbing implications in others, especially if you’re one who values truth and presenting things as they are.
Even without manipulation, it’s easy to use images paint a picture of something that isn’t real.
You no longer need smoke and mirrors to pull off a ruse. Just some good quality stock images and decent copywriting can tell a story that lures people in. Examples abound.
You can’t always trust what you see.
And yet we often do — to our detriment.
Studies show that time on social media leads to depression. Looking at all of those images posted by others who seem to have life all figured out, who are living the dream, makes us feel worse about ourselves.
So when we see those images and they deter us, when our inner critics start with the story about how we don’t measure up, it helps to remind said critics:
Not everything you see is real.