I posted a photo of a rabbit last week, but it wasn’t a very successful one as the bunny’s colouring blended so well with the undergrowth. I gather that this blending into the background is crypsis (as opposed to mimesis when the creature disguises itself as something else).
Here, then, is a less cryptic rabbit:Camouflage hinders our seeing things that are really there, but our brains often trick us into seeing things that aren’t there.
If you want to know more about pareidolia – our tendency to recognise patterns and find significance where it doesn’t exist – you could check the Skeptic’s Dictionary or the BBC Magazine article Pareidolia: Why we see faces in hills, the Moon and toasties.
I thought seeing faces in rocks and tree stumps etc was a very human behaviour, but having loaded some photographs using iPhoto, I think perhaps computers can experience pareidolia, too.
At least, I hope that’s why the software has tagged “unnamed” faces on the photos. The alternative – that there really are people lurking unseen on the Common, is a little worrying.
There are plenty of examples of pareidolia in my poems, from the “tip-tilt,
star-gazey hare in the moon” seen in Just one More, to the dragons of Terror Incognita.
I think, though, that this is the most appropriate piece to close this post:
There are spies in the woods.
In the early morning I have seen
fine tripwires strung from tree to tree,
caught sight of silent messages
heliographed between rain-spattered leaves,
heard them signal to each other:
bird calls echoing through the mist.