that was entirely expected (a new new essays on human understanding).


The brain is said to be the creator of visions of our expectations. Our senses -- ears, eyes, and whatnot -- kick in to moderate those expectations. We watch waterfalls for long enough and everything looks like it is crawling uphill; stationary or not. I think it's called the Waterfall Effect, or something like that, where our motion detecting neurons get put into a sort of loop watching moving water for a while, so once we look away from a large moving field (water or otherwise, but something uniform), we only see things as moving. This overlap where everything does not seem as it is (i.e. where the majority of observers would indicate that all is stationary) is just the brain being pulled back, not to reality, but in line with a set of electronic pulses coming from our eyeballs. And that's the part that really sticks in my head: the part where our senses are at best backseat drivers and at worst movie goers yelling at the screen. 

It makes me wonder a bit about aesthetics and what we feel good about seeing/experiencing. It would seem that that which is most pleasant to see/hear/taste/touch/smell is what our brain expects -- our senses perfectly confirm and amplify that which was expected. Like two waves briefly overlapping while traveling in the same direction. It's as if a beautiful experience is when the brain is expecting a dollop of red paint, and we instead treat it to a room bathed in cadmium. The creativity that touches on this or creates this experience -- the creativity that pulls out a masterful painting, writes a piece of prose that seems to be drawn from somewhere on the first few pages of our instruction manual -- is something that reaches past our senses. In other words: part of creativity is touching on that which was never meant to be perceived by the senses.