Chapter 1 - Introduction:
|A Random Illusion
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That the ancients sensed the existence or possibility of optical illusions is evidenced by the fact that they tried to draw and to paint although their inability to observe carefully is indicated by the absence of true shading. The architecture of ancient Greece reveals a knowledge of certain optical illusions in the efforts to over come them. However, the study of optical illusions did not engage the attention of scientists until a comparatively recent period. Notwithstanding this belated attention there is a vast scientific literature pertaining to the multitudinous phases of the subject; however, most of it is fragmentary and much of it is controversial. Some of it deals with theory for a particular and often a very simple case. In life complex optical illusions are met but at present it would be futile to attempt to explain them in detail. Furthermore, there have been few attempts to generalize and to group examples of typical phenomena in such a manner as to enable a general reader to see the complex fabric as a whole. Finally, the occurrence and application of optical illusions in various arts and the prominence of optical illusions on every hand have not been especially treated. It is the hope that this will be realized in the following chapters in so far as brevity of treatment makes this possible.
Undoubtedly, thoughtful observers of ages ago would have noticed optical illusions, especially those found in architecture and nature. When it is considered that geometrical figures are very commonly of an illusory character it appears improbable that optical illusions could have escaped the keenness of Euclid. The apparent enlargement of the moon near the horizon and the apparent flattened vault of the sky were noticed at least a thousand years ago and literature yields several hundred memoirs on these subjects. One of the oldest dissertations upon the apparent form of the sky was published by Alhazen, an Arab astronomer of the tenth century. Kepler in 1618 wrote upon the subject.
Philosophers of the past centuries prepared the way toward an understanding of many complexities of today. They molded thought into correct form and established fundamental concepts and principles. Their chief tool was philosophy, the experimental attack being left to the scientists of the modern age. How ever, they established philosophically such principles as "space and time are not realities of the phenomenal world but the modes under which we see things apart." As science became organized during the present experimental era, measurements were applied and there began to appear analytical discussions of various subjects including optical illusions. One of the earliest investigations of the modern type was made by Oppel, an account of which appeared in 1854. Since that time scientific literature has received thousands of worthy contributions dealing with optical illusions.
Chapter 1 - Introduction:
Optical Illusions Are Everywhere
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Chapter 1 - Introduction:|
Understanding Optical Illusions
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