Is the human gaze a physical force?

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2021/01/04/is-the-human-gaze-a-physical-force.html

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I believe some folks proposed that some EM radiation does leak out from the brain through the eye sockets and that some people might sense that leakage but that’s a bit of a stretch considering.

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Interesting, but the belief as described seems to come from a misunderstanding of the reaction to the gaze. Some get the idea that there are beams directed at them because they feel heat. The heat’s not coming from the sender, it’s coming from the receiver.

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I can’t reveal too much, but let’s just say those goats won’t be coming back to my yard any time soon.

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It doesn’t seem to ever have been proven in a lab, but I do feel like there is some feeling you get when being watched by someone.

Look intently at someone in public - they will frequently turn their head (sometimes all the way around if you are behind them) and look at you.

It could just be that your subconscious is really good at noticing some vanishingly small visual cue. But it is a thing, it seems like.

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On the contrary, it has been demonstrated ad nauseum that no such effect exists. It’s trivially easy to test, after all, so it has been tested lots.

This is confirmation bias. Human beings turns their heads constantly for all sorts of reasons, and also just randomly. If you are thinking about this question, you will register and remember the times that a head turn seemed to correlate with you staring.

To be clear, clickbait headlines aside, what they are studying is how people react emotionally to being stared at, when they know they are being stared at.

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I’m gonna go with…

avengers-thor-nope

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image

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Stare into my eyes and you may begin to see just how mad I am.

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Ray tracing software is based on the same theory. Not because CG programmers don’t understand light – quite the opposite – but because it turns out to be orders of magnitude more efficient to pretend we shoot vision rays from our eyes, rather than to dogmatically look at all the light waves in the universe and work out which ones happen to hit our eyes. Recently, software does exist to use the physically-correct approach, and it does look better, but it’s literally millions of times slower.

Which underlines that science isn’t about winning arguments over Right and Wrong, it’s about what model is useful in a given moment.

Likewise, of course looking at someone doesn’t affect them in some causal, physical way, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a sin to reason as if that were the case, if that is useful in some context. Like, if you were modeling driver behavior or non-verbal communication or something. You don’t need to explicitly account for the quantum mechanical picture of vision, as long as you’re not directly contradicting it.

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I did not realize that! I understood that the tracing was based on the first person perspective, but didn’t connect that it was solely generated for it. Makes sense that the opposite (how all light behaves) would be profoundly more complicated. Thanks for the… perspective ;~)

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It’s an instinct behavior, precisely the reason birds and squirrels react to inanimate objects with fake eyes, and African ranchers paint eyes on their cattle’s behind - the direct gaze of a predator is an indication that you might be its prey.

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The Greek theory is puzzling, it’s hard to make any sense of how that could possibly make sense to someone unless the relationship between vision and light sources is ignored or maybe very different from how it’s thought of in the contemporary context. Suppose though that could go some way to understanding magical and spiritual connotations given to sources of light that were available at the time, sun, moon, fire, gnostic sparks etc.

in the past people did not understand anything about light refracting through lenses or creating images on surfaces, much less that that was going on inside of people’s eyeballs

they knew about light and shadow

they knew, for somebody to see something, light had to be shining on the thing, and their eyes had to be shining on the thing at the same time

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The thing that seems like it would have been apparent even to people in that time is that if the source of light was extinguished then the vision granted by the illumination would cease - given our present state of knowledge that seems like a clear indication that the state of affairs is cause=light-souce, effect=vision - it seems like a clear violation of Occam’s to suppose that it might be the other way around, and just geometrically awkward, (I know he hadn’t arrived on the scene yet, but the principle is timeless). The ancient Greeks certainly weren’t dummies - if anything logical reasoning was their specialty, and geometry was right up their alley too - so it’s just kind of interesting to imagine what kind of concepts of the world must have been at play for this to seem reasonable. For this to work in a logical sense I guess it could be that all so-called “light sources” are actually light attracting vortexes, similar to @bobtato’s ray-tracing universe - and human awareness is the phlogiston-like substance that is being sucked out through the eye-holes and splattered onto the world - (which presumably back-reverberates into the brain). Not totally unlike Kilgore Trout’s theory of mirrors.

I got really high one time and it became apparent to me that consciousness is generated by a “percepton field”. The ramifications, apparently, are many: conscious beings gazing at an object emanate “perceptons” which are met halfway by free-perceptons in the object and its surrounding, and is what translates photons into meaning. When you stare at another human who stares back, you engage with their active perceptons in a different way: instead of discerning rote meaning, there’s a negotiation – a back and forth stream of percepton interactions – which opens up a potential communications channel.

Also, you can train yourself to focus your perceptons out the back of your skull, and that way, you can detect people observing you from behind. It’s very difficult however.

Human skulls are specially designed lenses for perceptons; if you stare at a skull, your perceptons can cause a resonance inside the skull, which bounce back at you in unxexpected ways.

Of course, upon sobering up, none of this makes any sense.

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095

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