Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

One of the most amazing books ever written, The Electric Acid Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe, stands the test of time by depicting what it was like to do acid, something this author experienced quite a number of times back in the late 60's. In addition to talking about the Merry Pranksters and the trip Ken Kesey and company take on a bus, Wolfe desscribes Neal Cassady's obsession about getting as close to the "present" as possible through gunfighting & LSD. To Cassady, matching the 1/30th of a second interval it takes to draw a six shooter from a holster gets one as close to experiencing the "present" as one can get.

40 years later, a researcher pursues the same goal.

"Changizi claims the visual system has evolved to compensate for neural delays, allowing it to generate perceptions of what will occur one-tenth of a second into the future, so that when an observer actually perceives something, it is the present rather than what happened one-tenth of a second ago. Using his hypothesis, called “perceiving-the-present,” he was able to systematically organize and explain more than 50 types of visual illusions that occur because our brains are trying to perceive the near future. His findings are described in May-June issue of the journal Cognitive Science."

The more things change, the more they remain the same. - Alphonse Karr

Addendum: Click on the Daily Galaxy eyeball to get another take on how the brain predicts the future.
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