Do you see the man in the moon?
Sometime I just love a new word when I encounter it. Such is the case for the word: pareidolia. You may never have heard the word, but you know what it names. Pareidolia is defined as “the tendency to perceive patterns where there are none.” As kids we saw figures in the clouds passing by. Of course not everyone can see what we each in pareidolia. I took a photo of a cloud formation in which I clearly see a large man (a monster?) who seems to be moving toward the left in the photo. He is leaning into his walk. His head and face are clear to me, and so too his body rising from the bottom of the photo. His arms seem more like dark smoke. Is he in pursuit of something?
Pareidolia is the word to describe our ancient ancestors who saw animals in star constellations. Or those who see faces in random things. I see a face in the rock formation below. The mouth is the slight crack, the nose and left eye seem obvious to me. Many people see things in rock formations and they end up bearing the name of what many people commonly see.
A friend once told me that people like me who wear glasses (and thus with defective eyesight) see these patterns more often than people who see well without the aid of glasses. Seems possible to me. They eyes do play tricks at times while the brain tries to figure out what you are looking at. You end up imposing on things patterns – a distant dog turns out to be a tree stump when you get closer to it.
Not only a rock formation but even its shadow can cause pariedolia. Pareidolia also is the word used when we hear arbitrary sounds or noises as a voice or something meaningful.