Struggling with Meaninglessness

searching meaning in meaninglessness

They all look the same?

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I have always been very fascinated with our human face. Think about it, we are all sharing the same features – eyes, nose, ears, mouth, hair and etc, but doesn’t it strikes you that each of us has our very own distinguished and unique look? I have been pondering for quite a while on this, and after some time, i got the answer when i watch a Hong Kong detective drama series. Basically, in one of the episodes, the witness was assisting the cops to catch a criminal by depicting his look using a computer program at the police station. The program depict the face based on the combinations of the witness’ account of the criminal’s face features. Does the criminal has big eyes or small eyes? Long face or square-shaped face? Broad mouth or small mouth? Combine all of them together, and voila, the face is right there.

I was astonished to learn that the reason why each of us has distinguished looks is due to the slight variation in our face features. One slight difference, and we will look incredibly different. We could easily see that from girls who went for eye surgery. By just enlarging the eye, she will look more or less different. Not to mention, she may gain some attractiveness too.

But how about animals? One thing i noticed whenever i watch a pack of dogs (in a family) is – they all look the same! Human usually differentiate dogs by looking at their fur colour, body pattern or their size. But if we put a pack of dogs who have the same fur colour, same body pattern and same size, it is not unusual for us to unable to differentiate them. A general human perception is – animal from the same species and breed have generic and monotonous looks. Basically, they all look the same!

I have not been reading much on evolution until recently. As i read them, i realised our brain is the pinnacle of humanity’s survival. Brain is basically our ‘weapon’ for survival purposes just like wings to birds and tough skin to ox. However, our brain is not perfect, just like a bird can’t travel thousand of miles in a single flap or an ox having a set of skin so tough it is impregnable even by laser. When something is not perfect, it will bound to have flaws – This is the law of nature. Since our brain ain’t perfect, therefore, putting it crudely, our brain is flawed, and ‘buggy’.

Ok, enough with my philosophical nonsense, back to the topic. Now, why do animals all look the same? For one simple reason – because we, human are not wired to see the tiny variation in animal’s face. Generally, we can’t detect the subtle details in animal’s face since it doesn’t bring us any benefits in natural selection. But our brain tells us that all the animals look the same! Why? Basically, our brain is imperfect. Our brain gave us the illusion that whatever we perceive with our eyes is real. As i have said, the brain is our ‘weapon’. Therefore natural selection will dictate our brain to develop an instinctive behaviour in us to have 100% faith on the ‘weapon’ to keep surviving. That’s the reason why, human ALWAYS believe whatever our eyes and brain tell us. It is instinctive.

I think it is the same for dogs. Whenever the doggies see us, they may just think that all of us look the same. They may differentiate us based on our physique features like size, hair-style, voice, etc. There’s no reason why dogs need to understand the details of human face.

It is not only between animals and human. Even between human and human this phenomena is happening too. Case in point – If you take a Chinese guy who has very little exposure of world culture and put him together with a group of Africans, he will certainly have hard time telling who is who and he may think all of them look the same. Same goes when you put an unexposed Aborigine in Europe. However, since we are human being, therefore, it is not difficult to adept and learn to perceive the face details of other races. Over time, unconsciously, our brain will slowly adept and wire us to understand the details.

Perhaps, a cat freak who spends a great deal of time with many cats everyday are able to different the cats? I’m not sure.


Written by elan85

November 27, 2007 at 7:35 pm

Posted in Evolution, Philosophy

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