By Fatjona R. Lubonja©
How would we recognize our own face if the mirrors were never invented? That was all she thought when the lights went out and the dark took over in a selfish power. Do we really recognize our own face or we are just used to the illusion or perception created from our brain? Can we vision our face if the lights are out? She continued asking questions that she thought were the key to understanding the mind’s visual perception of “self” in a visual world. The struggle to understand irritated and excited her at the same time.
If we can vision our face when it’s dark, then the brain relies on other information rather the eyes, she continued her monolog. If that is a path, then the brain would use such information regardless the light or the dark environment it is presented. Her argument followed logically while she lighted a candle, knowing her pupils would change size. Suddenly the view around her was imprisoned within the perimeters of the neurotic candle light. She was at the neuroscience lab for hours and all she could get that day was a dark room with a candle as the only source of light. An angry storm had caused electricity problems. Although she had no obligation to stay, she did not move but sat in front of the computer screen looking at no reflection.
Yes, she mumbled, that’s what we see, the reflection of our face, distorted sometimes from the light. A perception reconstructed in our brain and completed by the light source.
Lately, she had lost face recognition ability. As a mother, the lamentation was emotional when she could not recognize her own children’s face. Her face was even stranger to her own self. Yet she was not blind and could recognize every other object. To her, it was as if the brain was playing hide and seek with faces.
Other than a mother she was a researcher and the idea that the brain has dedicated a small fraction of its precious space to face recognition, was even more fascinating. It all began with her mother’s face. A small detail of surviving mechanism and she was born with it. Any disturbance in the brain could have affected her ability to see faces, as a whole, with all the sensors together. But did our brain use the same path when seeing ourselves as seen by the others?
Looking at faces was not as easy as others thought. At least from the brains perspective, she thought. It underwent through so many neurons and pathways just to visualize the nose and then the eyes, the lips, cheekbones, and so on, tirelessly. She used her perception to visualize reality. Such “reality” could have been easy for others to see, but not for her. To complicate things even more, seeing in motion for her was different that seeing in static. The idea was so abstract and unreal but true.
Why do you move around in the circle every time you talk to us? – her children asked.
So I could see your faces she answered blindly and emotionally. The world of static was faceless to her. It was like that dark room she was standing. To her, the motion was the light source of recognizing the faces of her children.