Friday, April 12, 2013

The Moon Illusion

The Moon Illusion * has never been explained despite many studies from various disciplines of science and psychology.  I like to think of it as more evidence, as if any were needed, that our collective brains and behavior are overwhelmingly determined by ancient genetic codes so that, regardless of what we think we know, much of what we see, feel and do is beyond our intellectual control.  There are some relatively rare individual exceptions (mutations?) but together, our species overwhelmingly responds to the immediate over the future, regardless of the consequences.  Much appreciation to commenters at Nature Bats Last for linking to the video and this poem:

~ W.S. Merwin
with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow for the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water looking out
in different directions.
back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you
looking up from tables we are saying thank you
in a culture up to its chin in shame
living in the stench it has chosen we are saying thank you
over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the back door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks that use us we are saying thank you
with the crooks in office with the rich and fashionable
unchanged we go on saying thank you thank you
with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us like the earth
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is
(from his 1988 collection, Rain in the Trees)


  1. Eaarth's moon is a truly fascinating thing. Have you ever read Isaac Asimov's 'The Tragedy of the Moon'?

    I often wonder what part the Moon had to play in the development of human intelligence. (Or, as it's turning out, lack of it.) In fact, I began working some years back on a novel in which this was a central theme. The novel is in limbo: my latest procrastination excuse being that there's really not much point completing it, if there'll be nobody around to read it...

  2. That's no excuse! Write it anyway!


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