The Looking Glass Club gruff davies New Scientist

"gripping and hugely entertaining... difficult to put down."

- New Scientist

amazon 4.5 stars

Perception or Reality (continued)

by Gruff Davies


10. Shepherd tones

You'll need earphones or speakers for this unsettling aural illusion.


You've probably seen Escher's famous Ascending and Descending woodcut in which monks climb and descend an impossible perpetual staircase.  Cognitive Scientist Roger Shepherd realised that it would be possible to construct an equivalent aural illusion with tones that appear to continually rise or descend.


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Click play to hear ever-ascending Sherherd tones...

Each sound appears to be higher in pitch than its predecessor and yet the overall sound never goes beyond an octave.


Try moving your eye up one step to a new monk with each note for visual and aural illusions together.

Illusions, Perceptions and Reality

Those are just ten of my favourite illusions - there are hundreds more.  To me, these are powerful examples that everything about the reality we experience daily - at the personal level - is an interpretation of a deeper physical reality, just as social reality is an interpretation of deeper personal reality.


In The Looking Glass Club, I've taken this concept yet one stage further.  What if the physical world that we consider to be fundamentally real, is itself simply an interpretation of something deeper?  Something that, given the right conditions, can change as easily as our perceptions of it.



9th March 2011

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