What if some illusions are necessary ?

Not quite philosophy discussions, debates, various thought experiments and other topics of interest.

What if some illusions are necessary ?

Postby henriette on August 6th, 2017, 4:19 am 

Illusions are opposed to reality. Hence because everything may be illusory (like in Calderon's "La Vida e Sueno") we may not be sure to perceive reality. But in reality our capacity to abstraction yields necessary illusions, a class of illusions that are thus real. Necessary illusions differ from phantasmagorias because the latter are contingent. Necessary illusions come as consequences on the perception of some concepts like the "whole" or the "unity". In this field abstraction has a feed-back consequence on perception that necessarily triggers an companion illusion. An example of which may be the necessary black oval border of your field of view, a lovely oval that deserves a global and steady attention because it's a necessary illusion.
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Re: What if some illusions are necessary ?

Postby mitchellmckain on August 7th, 2017, 12:48 am 

When I look up "necessary illusions" on Google, it gives me Chomsky's book on thought control in democratic societies. In other words this frankly looks like the word "necessary" is an excuse for deception and it is used for power and manipulation. But mostly that just means that this phrase is dominated by the title of this well know book.

But I think we can imagine there could be situation where behaving according to an illusion may be more advantageous. In fact, this is the suggestion of a character, Death, in Terry Pratchet's "The Hogsfather" (both a book and a film), where he says believing little lies like the tooth fairy and Santa Claus (actually the Hogsfather in his fictional story) are practice for believing in the big lies like love, justice and freedom.

Of course, I would put it a little differently. I wouldn't call these "big lies". I would call them "ideals" that we strive for because it doing so makes life better. In fact, the objectivity of science is another one of these ideals. The point is to strive for it rather than expect science to be perfectly objective all the time. The same would go for the ideals of a free society which I am touting quite often.

But you will also find the following in my usual list of reasons for believing in spiritual things.

I have considerable sympathy with the sentiments of the eastern mystics that logic is stultifying trap for human thought and consciousness. The result is that even if I found no other reasons to believe in a God or a spiritual side to reality and human existence I would very much see the need to fabricate them for the sake of our own liberty of thought. We need a belief in something transcendent in order for us transcend the limitations of logic and mundane (or material) reasons to give our uniquely human ability for abstraction more substance and life.


So I guess instead of saying "practice believing little lies helps us to believe in big lies," I am suggesting that we need a belief in something beyond the mundane in order to improve our ability to grapple with abstractions. And you can connect this with other things I have said about language and objectivity, which suggest that this ability is important for both the power of human language (and thus for the human mind), and for our ability to go beyond the subjective apprehension of reality to the objective.
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Re: What if some illusions are necessary ?

Postby henriette on August 10th, 2017, 1:13 am 

Dear mitchellmckain,
Thank you for the comment. Alas I know nothing sustainable about Chomsky...

e believing little lies are practice for believing in the big lies like love, justice and freedom.


This is an ethical or a political issue, isn't ?
My topic differs and is more about the status of illusion in discussions about reality. My argument is that some particular illusions are necessary components of the perception itself in subjects that have abstract ideas. Those illusions do not result from an interpretation, they are somewhat real, it is no sense to be deluded from them.
This is what may happen when you consider the unity and the totality of the perception in a process that is opposed to paying attention to any particular component of it. The oval black border of the field of view, that you may observe steadily once you consider the whole image at a glance, is an example of such necessary illusions. This notable part of the perceived image is observable (one can describe it) but has not been sensed by the eye.
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Re: What if some illusions are necessary ?

Postby mitchellmckain on August 10th, 2017, 2:54 pm 

henriette » August 10th, 2017, 12:13 am wrote:Dear mitchellmckain,
Thank you for the comment. Alas I know nothing sustainable about Chomsky...

e believing little lies are practice for believing in the big lies like love, justice and freedom.


This is an ethical or a political issue, isn't ?
My topic differs and is more about the status of illusion in discussions about reality. My argument is that some particular illusions are necessary components of the perception itself in subjects that have abstract ideas. Those illusions do not result from an interpretation, they are somewhat real, it is no sense to be deluded from them.
This is what may happen when you consider the unity and the totality of the perception in a process that is opposed to paying attention to any particular component of it. The oval black border of the field of view, that you may observe steadily once you consider the whole image at a glance, is an example of such necessary illusions. This notable part of the perceived image is observable (one can describe it) but has not been sensed by the eye.


So, you are not interested in the broader philosophical issues implied by your title but only in this specific example of your OP?
....very well....

You have not established that that this optical illusion is necessary rather than a feature of an inferior system of processing visual data. Why should I believe that another visual system cannot do better -- that a better one is impossible.

... But ok, what if it is necessary, however doubtful it seems to me? If you are not interested in the broader philosophical issues then what are you interested in exactly? What implications of this are you imagining? Are you suggesting something about the development of mechanical eyes???

henriette » August 6th, 2017, 3:19 am wrote:Illusions are opposed to reality.

Illusions are a part of reality.

henriette » August 6th, 2017, 3:19 am wrote:
Hence because everything may be illusory (like in Calderon's "La Vida e Sueno") we may not be sure to perceive reality.

If everything "is an illusion," then the distinction it refers to is nonexistent and the word "illusion" becomes meaningless.

henriette » August 6th, 2017, 3:19 am wrote: But in reality our capacity to abstraction yields necessary illusions, a class of illusions that are thus real.

If an illusion is not real then what is it? Not an illusion? Nothing?
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