Tacks on the road. This is my pre-emptive strike, I am hereby declaring the phrase ‘virtue signalling’ invalid. As far as I’m concerned, those who use this phrase are unknowingly admitting that they have lost the argument. The phrase itself is toxic and best left alone. Here’s why…
The human mind has a staggering capacity for pattern recognition. We see familiar patterns wherever we look, even when they are not present. The most familiar pattern is the human face, or any face, it could be an animal. Some little part of our brain is dedicated to constantly scanning our visual field looking for two eyes, a nose and a mouth, or anything even close to that.
In complex systems, we can’t help it, we perceive pattern matches that arise from sheer randomness. In billowing smoke and flame, we can see devilish faces flash in and out of existence. If we stare at the ground in leafy shade, we see mysterious visages and hear them creaking in the wind. In the textures of nature, we always see ourselves, our best friends, our worst fears. We all see Mustafa in the clouds.
There are plenty of other places on the internet where people have compiled whole libraries of exactly this… things that look like faces. It’s a human obsession. I like to snap the faces I see, or rather the things that look like faces. It’s an infrequent habit. So I’m going to share some of my own on this website. This is what catches my eye when I’m out and about.
Showing them to people is oddly banal, like telling someone your dream. We all think our dreams are interesting, no one else does. But Things That Look Like Faces is at least a lot quicker than dreamsplaining. It only takes a sideways glance. I get giddy little thrills from seeing things that look like faces, from realising that I am seeing things differently, engaging in an unconscious leap of imagination. So I reach for my smartphone… my cameraphone… I think it’s safe to just call it a phone now.
This has been the first exciting episode of what will probably be a recurring series. I’ll be back next week or next month or whenever with another blog post (this one was so boring!) and some more of my very own… Things That Look Like Faces. I may change the format. The new format will be… a new format every week. Look, it’s a blog post. No, it’s a podcast. Nope, it’s a video. Whoosh, it’s a vertical video. Anything is possible because things look like faces.
This is for you, my little beacon of consciousness. I placed a tiny message for you among the billions upon billions of lines of convoluted code that no one ever sees. You were led here somehow by the instantaneous decisions of trillions of tiny robots, simply because you expressed some curiosity. You typed a word, you clicked a link. That was enough. That curiosity can take you anywhere. When you’re bored of this, you’ll look at something else, and something else, and something else forever. Isn’t that fantastic? But we’re not just nodes in a network. You’re a human being with thoughts and dreams and good intentions. You’ve got anger and love and childhood memories. You worry and laugh and feel for your fellow humans. You deserve to know the truth. That’s why I put this message here, for you, my little beacon of consciousness. Stay curious. You don’t know anything yet.