It’s remarkably difficult for us to perceive change, because of the relative poverty of the brain’s processing power compared to the sheer volume of information is has to deal with. This causes a failure to notice changes that we might think would be obvious, and so we consistently over-estimate our ability to detect change.
This, I argue, in Living as a River, is one of the reasons we think that we have a static self. If we can’t notice something “obvious” changing, like a building being there one minute and gone the next, how are we going to appreciate less tangible changes on our own being?
Here are a few examples showing how hard it is to detect change. In each of these movies, two photographs will alternate, separated by a blank slide. It’s surprising how many times we have to compare the two photographs before we can see the change. (Warning: these photographs are strobe-like. They give me headaches and I’d hate someone with epilepsy to have a seizure as a result of viewing them).
Fascinating, isn’t it?
You can see more of these examples here.