Tuesday, 15 November 2016

don’t know much geology, don’t know much psychology

In Chichibu Japan there is a lovingly curated collection of stones that resemble faces—and not just your usual run-of-the-mill pareidolia either but specific celebrities—amassed over a half a century.
I know that the forces that shape evolution and stuff that looks like things is very different and human agency is limited—though bias is magnified—in both, but taking a brief tour of this museum made me think of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos and his particularly convincing though gentle as one arrives at the conclusion all on one’s own of the fishermen and the samurai crabs of the Heike clan. Haunted by superstition and ancient lore, people were compelled to toss back any of their catch whose shell resembled a human face and over the centuries, human intervention helped select for this trait. What do you think? It’s interesting how we will automatically prise out patterns.