Modelling

Reality

We model reality to suit our requirements to survive and reproduce. As well as advantageous, this gives rise to anomalies and 'illusions'.

The eye is often described as an amazing structure that enables us to discover the world around us. Unfortunately it is a pretty poor camera and the image produced is also pretty poor. The incoming light source can be distorted by the so called inverse problem. The source of the photons and reflectance can alter the image pattern and imprint on the eye an imperfect picture. There are no filters accept the dilation of the iris to dampen these distortions. Humans only see a very small range of the light spectrum which is unusual because we are a visual creature. We are a creature of the day and we rely a lot on colour to give us the pattern cognition of which we are very good. This means we have a lot of cones near the forward looking part of the eye – the fovea. The other rods that allow us to see in low light are on the outer part of the retina and are quite sparse. Rods are more sensitive to light because they use a many to one neuronal system. Rods are black and white sensors and have been favoured by nocturnal predators and their prey. The poor quality that is cast on the retina is also only two dimensional in a three dimensional world, object shape, depth and distance can be improved by using binocular vision but the area of vision is limited. The clarity is centred on the fovea in the eye and vision blurs as we move away from it.

We use symbols like an apple or a car, these objects can both have the red property but have no other similarities. This shorthand allows life to build up the world around us in to an environment that makes sense to us. Our brain has no direct access to the external world, the closest one being sight which is channelled through brain neural tubes but still requires an intermediate optical organ. It could be said that the more complex the brain gets, the more it divorces us from the real world. Quantum Mechanics states that we can not measure any particles/waves without observing them. This means that we only see a snapshot of what is happening, even a recording is a series of snapshots. We live in a world of probabilities and not actual fixed objects. An electron does not move around an atom nucleus in a nice circular motion but can be anywhere within an atom’s influence

After the big bang, particles became to form as the energy levels fell through the expansion of the Universe. At first they all travelled at the speed of light but another boson was formed and another force. Both are mainly named after Higgs and they are important because they are one of the things that create mass. The Higgs field is like a syrup that slows down particles and enables them to be attracted by others. The Higgs Boson is an obstacle that heavy quarks have to avoid. This causes them to zig-zag through the syrup and this increases the slowing effect. Photons are too small to be affected by the large boson and keep their velocity. Mass makes matter but matter is measured by the attaction and repelling phenomenon that acts on them such as gravity. This means matter is variable but mass is the content of a particle and is invariant. There are other factors such as gluons which attract quarks to each other and form atoms and the things that surround us.

Quantum entanglement is a physical phenomenon that occurs when a pair or group of particles is generated, interact, or share spatial proximity in a way such that the quantum state of each particle of the pair or group cannot be described independently of the state of the others, including when the particles are separated by a large distance. The topic of quantum entanglement is at the heart of disparity between classical and quantum physics, entanglement is a primary feature of quantum mechanics lacking in classical mechanics.

Society

One could venture that society is one of our defining attributes in becoming the living apex of our modern world. After all it more than just a pack or group of humans living under a collection of relatively tight rules. Of course the desire to live together is no way unique to us as even the lowly bacteria form colonies. Many species have adopted the advantage of the colony for both mutual defence and the power of mass attack against prey. This has to outweigh its disadvantages such as having to share food and basically putting up with others who get on your nerves. This sharing of duties also demands a level of communication that reflects the sophistication of the species. Rules also come into existence to serve the community as a whole and override the natural resentment of individuals. Hierarchy also arises as a way of keeping the group together, usually against their wishes. The reason it works, is that anarchy is a great T-Shirt but not a long term strategy.

Although many organisms have complex sexual and population groupings, none of them have the depth and range of humans. Having children that use great resources to bring them to maturation demands both great and extended care. No other animal has such a long learning curve and no other animal has the advanced cognition that humans possess. The whole involvement spins off many different and involved rituals and requirements that can be so complicated that their true reason can be masked. Marriage for instance is used to protect offspring, to wield power associations and some times true attraction. It is said that romance in humans is a two to four year near insane relationship that is chemically induced to get the child past a certain level of dependence. This is a very important activity and should not be underestimated. A child learns more in its first two years than it does for the rest of its life. Also it starts losing about half of its neurons at this time. The neurons with the best dendritic network survive, the rest are replaced by Glial cells that can nurse the neurons through the rest of your life. If life is all about passing our genes on, this is it in practice. All our suits and fancy frocks, high paying jobs, power and influence are all about getting your genes out there. Obviously we cannot be just defined by our genetic desires, as we above all animals can think abstractly, we are more than slaves to our genes. Our wonder of creation and to seek the answers to our existence, is a joy to behold. No other organism sits under a tree and studies the meaning of life, our place in it and why did that apple land on my head.

Virtual Reality

VR is a bit of a misnomer since we already perceive a virtual experience. The acts of illusion have mainly played on the disconnection of the right and left eye, which is used to simulate distance and object relationships. From ancestral artifices to modern electronic lenses, the reality modification by the brain has been ‘hi-jacked’ to produce a result that is not consistent with the actualimage of the world.

The more immersive abilities of the present VR machines has not only led to the use of more realistic gaming but psychological studies and therapies that can help overcome fears and learning. Clinical psychology is generally perceived as a face-to-face interaction between therapist and patient. However, thanks to technology developments, this picture has been changed. The massive innovation of Information and Communication Technologies has brought a revolution to the view of psychology and also the way how psychotherapists work. Especially, the application of virtual reality and augmented reality has given an important contribution to mental health. >Such disorders, phobias (e.g., specific phobias, social phobia, agoraphobia, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) , eating disorder, addiction to nicotine or alcohol etc. Furthermore, VR and AR have been used not only for clinical intervention but also for promoting healthy lifestyles or well-being, for example, the reduction in stress, treatment of pain in oncology patients, or pain management for variety of known painful medical procedures. In all these studies, the use of these ICTs has supported psychotherapists and researchers to reach the best results for patients. Thanks to the technological advances, it is possible to reproduce virtual environment where people can move as they are in the real world, or having some mobile applications which can enlarge the world around us and facing specific phobia. Of course it implies that psychologists have to open their mind and co-work with engineers and other professionals who have different backgrounds. Psychologists and engineers have to find a way to cooperate and to integrate their knowledge, a cooperation that till now has changed society exponentially. A related recent phenomenon is augmented reality which may have an even more important use in the future. The ability to enhance perception by including an extra dimension of overlaid or added information used to supplement our visual acumen, is a whole new paradigm in our futures. This has been eagerly taken up by the military and is reaching into medical and the sports arena. The art is not too overload the participant with too much information.

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