Tag Archives: pareidolia

Hymning to Myself, Letting You Listen

crow puddle tcrop

Some Vedic hymns or chants may possibly have preceded language, originating as something like the human equivalent of birdsong. We sang hymns before we had words. We worshiped before we had God. Worship as a behavior preceded the language and concepts our gods are made of, and may be prehuman.

God, the voice of, heard as form of pareidolia, in the chant, like the phantom phone heard ringing in the running water of the shower.

Per Kepler, we think God’s thoughts for him. Divine apophenia.

Saint Francis preached to the birds, not because men would not listen, but to incite the birds themselves as his fellow creatures to praise.

I know which to prefer:
The terror
of silent innuendo
just after
the blackbird stops whistling.

I rang sonorities on the soft bell
of yelps, sang hosannas
haunted by the glad pains
we took to erase all the psalters
of cacophony, bred crows
under green light
as a sacrifice
to my one bawd of euphony.

Caw, caw.

Random Photo: Swamp Pareidolia

wistful twisted crocodile swamp wood crop2 cont twkCaperton Swamp*, Indian Hills, Kentucky

A photo a day keeps the Doctor in play.

*Caperton Swamp is a small nature preserve between the Ohio River and I-71 just north of Louisville.

Steal This Meme: You Know Me


Etienne-Jules Marey Walking Face crop monstrum animo

“Monster in face, monster in soul.”

A foreigner who knew about faces once passed through Athens and told Socrates to his face that he was a monstrum — that he harbored in himself all the bad vices and appetites. And Socrates merely answered: “You know me, sir!”

Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols

As Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody, puts it, “The stupidest possible creative act is still a creative act.” Words to live by in the latter days of the Internet Age. Steal this meme. 

Image stolen: Walking, chronophotography by Etienne-Jules Marey


Random Photo: Talk to the Stone

falls o fossil face

A photo a day keeps the Doctor in play.

I captured this image with the lidless eye of my digital parasite whilst doing some slow parkour over the rocks at the Falls of the Ohio, one of my favorite haunts in the Louisville area. I identify the fossil cropping out of the limestone (with slight confidence) as Devonian period rugose coral Eridophyllurn. In the taxonomy of the lidless eye, I see it as a Pareidolian selfie.

Random Photo

floyds fork pope lick web leaf face shad

A photo a day keeps the Doctor in play. Only because it rhymes.

Tight crop on leaf “face”:

floyds fork pope lick web leaf face shad crop

Steal This Meme: Smiley Pareidolia

Crane no obligation universe

Meet galaxy cluster SDSSJ1038+4849. I saw it on, of all places, the local Fox morning news. The Fox News guy read off the words “gravitational lensing” and “Einstein Ring” and I revved the search engine. The gnomic Stephen Crane poem evoking a no obligation universe came to mind, and a meme was born.

This image was found by a woman sifting through the vast database of accumulated imagery from the Hubble Space Telescope. The database is so massive that not even the astronomers involved in the imaging have seen it all; NASA has opened it to the public and started a contest, Hubble’s Hidden Treasures, inviting the hive to crowd-sort it all.

Thus, in a little more than a hundred years, we have progressed from Edward Pickering of Harvard Observatory paying his female “computers” 20 dollars a week to examine and catalog the photographic plates from telescopic sky surveys, to people hiving up to sort the stars for free. We’ve come so far.

As this WaPo article points out, Judy Schmidt’s discovery of the cosmic smiley face is a prime example of pareidolia, the human capacity to instantly superimpose pattern on raw random sensory experience. For instance, on an unmedicated manic high during a particularly bright full moon, I not only saw the Man in the Moon, but saw him gesticulating at me as he spoke, though I could not hear what he said. I also on occasion hear voices in the falling water of the shower at times–audio pareidolia. The fact that we can see a face at all in the abstract circle, ovals, and curves of the Smiley Face is the sine qua non of directed pareidolia.

So put on a happy face, and steal this meme.