Did you know that the potato inspired deer to grow antlers? Neither did I. But apparently potato hungry deer began sprouting their own antlers after countless years of tater munching. And certain northern European tribes that roamed in tandem with these wild deer had a trophy to bestow upon only the bravest of wanderers: the heart of the spud.
This phenomenon has also been documented in the Americas where the heart of the cactus was also bestowed as a trophy of bravery.
Once there was a merchant who kept the strictest account of his business. He did the same with anything else in his life, actually. He would always say there was an order to everything and he meant his order. He knew exactly who was important to him and who didn’t matter. He knew exactly who offended him and who earned his respect. When anyone asked him for help or a favor, he had to assess the value in relation to the risk.
One day there was an accident and a complete stranger needed his help but it was easy for him to keep walking because it was all risk and no value, as he liked to say about almost everything that did not involve his profit. To get involved in such an accident would only be a threat to his well being as he saw it. This sort of thing happened before and would happen again and it was of no concern to him. Who was he to try and change the order of things?
And once there was a fool who kept no account of anything. If somebody needed something like the codpiece off his crotch, he’d give it. He had no real business to speak of except the business of life. It might’ve been a poor life but it was rich with friends who he made wherever he went.
One day, the merchant was busy running numbers in his head while he was crossing the road and a team of horses pulling a carriage galloped straight for him. And the fool saw what was about to happen and without a care pushed the merchant out of the way but was trampled to death instead. The merchant stood up and brushed himself off and cursed the man who pushed him as a downright fool who should’ve looked where he was going
Here we are. Property is more important than people in the US. The real looters on Wall Street never get this kind of lockdown treatment. How many bailouts have they gotten? But if somebody steals a t-shirt, call in the troops! Corporate America divides and rules us as record numbers of people go homeless. But hey, maybe I can afford a Tesla one day! Too bad there won’t be any open streets to drive it on, though.
Once there was a village of folk who poked one eye out soon after birth because they believed that two eyes bred dishonesty. The one-eyed people also believed that a person could only serve one role or have only one face, as they called it. Anyone caught with more than one face was executed on the spot in order to preserve their way of life. A child who showed the face of an adult too soon was given no mercy. Nor was a woman who also had the face of a man or a man the face of a woman.
And once there was a village of folk who believed in more than two eyes and actually grew another eye when they became adults. The rite of passage was called The Awakening and involved a journey in the woods where another eye would emerge out of their forehead. And it took them years to cope with all they could see because everything from the simplest thing that they took for granted as a child and the most familiar of people now looked entirely different, varied, and rich in appearances. Even the simplest person among them had a thousand faces. And the rich complexity of everything kept them in a state of wonder that provided them with a peaceful life.
The one-eyed people hated the people with three eyes because the awakened saw their one face as the mask that it was, suppressing their other faces in a way that damaged and hampered their consciousness. The one-eyed people could not accept this so they attacked their village. And the people with three eyes saw them as confused by their hunger for power and how they fought with themselves by making war with others. Ultimately, the people with three-eyes lost as they were too distracted by all the visions they saw and spent too much time on possible strategies.
The one-eyed people captured a few of the people with three eyes and killed the rest. Those who survived had to poke out two of their eyes in order to stay alive. But the survivors did not lose their more complicated vision because it had become a part of them in their mind. But they pretended as if they could not see anything but one face anymore and never spoke of their visions in order to stay alive.
One survivor asked the one-eyed people if eyes did not always deceive and if they should not poke out all eyes in order to see the truth. And the one-eyed people could not think of any argument against this for they hated eyes in general. And so they poked out their last eye and saw what the awakened survivors wanted them to see. They saw themselves not searching for the truth as they said but confusing it with their search for power. And they saw how they sacrificed the people with three eyes because they could not see themselves as fully as they lacked the courage to see within. They saw how they made problems for themselves but killed other villages to solve them.
The one-eyed people begged the awakened survivors to take over and show them the way. And they stopped poking the eyes out of children. And the survivors took them into the woods and performed the ritual that showed them how to grow their third eye.
Once there was an old man who thought he was young and there was a young man who thought he was old. The old young man challenged the young old man to prove who was the youngest and who was the oldest of all.
They agreed to hold three competitions. One to see who could row the fastest across a lake. Another to see who could outwit the other at a game of trivia. And the third to see who could woo a lady.
The first proved that the young man was much younger than he thought. The second that the older was a lot older than he had hoped. But the third ended in a tie because the lady could not be lured by the strange display of decrepit youth or stupid maturity. Of course, the young man was offended that she had called him stupid and the old man was also very insulted when she uttered that foulest of words, decrepit. After she told them that they had gotten her insults backwards, neither understood what she meant at all.
Furious at their unwillingness to admit the obvious, she lead them to her bedchamber and for a moment both men thought he was the winner. Instead, she stood them before a mirror.
The young man called her a witch when he saw a baby-faced reflection. And the old man called her a sorceress who commanded the dark arts to conjure up such an image of a frail and haggard old toad.
Thus, the competition solved nothing because fools only try to prove what they believe at the cost of rejecting a simple plain truth.
What do you see in these shadow figures? I see the Egyptian queen Nefertiti! It has this heavy mythical weight for me even though its just a silhouette of rock formations somewhere in Utah.
Pareidolia happens when I see something like a face in a cloud that actually doesn’t exist. In this sense, when pareidolia occurs, I am seeing my own mind displayed before me.
In this vein, I make other art I post on Instagram (@oneroundcorner) that employs a random process of multiple exposures and mirroring to produce pareidolia effects like the one below. Zoom in and look at the absurd figures that appear. I’m constantly surprised by how mythical and spiritual they feel while being randomly made.