Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Orange Kangaroos from Denmark

There seems to be something wrong with my brain. Well, I mean other than all the things that everybody already knows are wrong with my brain.

I've been watching Brain Games on National Geo TV. Interesting program. Quite often, I follow the correct pattern. In other words, the trick they play works.

Of course, it doesn't always come out that way. Today's program, for example, just isn't working out. A rather elaborate series of steps were supposed to lead me to think about an orange kangaroo from Denmark. Only it didn't. It led me to think of a red ichthyosaur from Dubai. No problem, I suppose. Except that they seem absolutely certain that I would have thought of an orange kangaroo from Denmark. Apparently everybody does. Everybody except me.

Next they asked if I, the viewer, would prefer to go to an ice cream store with only three flavors or one with many flavors. I chose the site with many flavors. Then they give a list of the choices available in that store, and asked what I would order. I was supposed to have found the first decision easy and the second decision hard. Only, the second decision was not at all difficult. I knew exactly what I desired without hesitation. I did not like most of the flavors which were offered. And even with a number of choices left, I simply chose my particular favorites.

So what's wrong with me?

It is not the first time this program has presented a situation which didn't seem to have the right effect on me. An earlier program asked me to count the number of ducks I saw a shooting gallery. I didn't see any. Then they asked me how many bunnies I saw in an identical sequence. Those I counted. Turns out I was supposed to see the figures as ducks the first time and the same figures as bunnies the second time. Only I never did see any ducks.

Then there was that that whole business about the strange room which makes people look different sizes than they actually are. We viewers were then asked to identify which woman was the taller of the two, and I correctly identified the one who was. They proceeded to claim that the two women were the same size. They then had the two women stand next to each other to prove it. In spite of their denial, the one I had identified as taller was was clearly at least half an inch higher.

Mind you, almost all of their deceptions have been effective with me. I usually make the same errors everybody makes. It's just that on a few occasions I can't even understand what I was supposed to see.

For now, I'm going to push play and see how the rest of the program works out.

Later: This show is really proving to be a bust for me. Maybe I am proving to be a bust for it. The next sequence showed a picture of one girl and the picture of another girl. You're supposed to pick the most attractive. Then they swap the pictures and most people apparently don't even notice. I find that extremely odd. Both of the girls were very pretty, but one was more attractive to me. I couldn't have mistaken one for the other.

This is especially strange for me, since I have massive problems recognizing faces, even those of people I know very well. By the way that's a confession. I don't lightly make it, as I find this disability extremely embarrassing, but it is the truth.

There was another sequence in which you had to choose among women. Although it wasn't the point of the program, I found it interesting that in both cases I chose a woman that was least likely to be chosen by the average person. In one case I was in a 30% minority in the other I was in a 20% minority. I am not certain what it means, but it's interesting.

Actually, I think I do know exactly what was going on to create the conflict between me and this particular episode. The point of of the program was that we make many of our choices on what I refer to as autopilot. Then, if we find ourselves forced into a wrong choice, we rationalize it and convince ourselves that it actually was our choice all along.

Since the conflict between our rationality and our rationalization is a particular philosophic obsession of mine, I expect the reason I wasn't so readily fooled by the tricks played is because I'm a bit more conscious of the reason I make decisions. After all, most of the time I'm tricked just like everybody else. It's just that every now and then, I manage to avoid that.

Which brings me back to the whole situation that started me writing today. Before I picked ichthyosaur, I considered indricothere. That would've led to an interesting situation. If I hadn't changed over to ichthyosaur, I would've ended up with a mental image of an ecru indricothere from Dubai. Orange kangaroos from Denmark, indeed!

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