Honoring My Mother | Pare, dula ta!

I learned a new word today, Pareidolia. It’s that psychological phenomenon wherein one perceives seeing a familiar image in daily visual patterns, say for example, finding faces or figures in cloud formations. Knowing it had a name is quite a pleasant surprise, because, I remember as a kid in grade school, my classmates and I would to lie down on the soccer pitch in Matina and watch an imaginary array of animals parading before us in the clouds above.

Growing up, this has become a fave pastime to cure boredom for, like say, you’re waiting for an hour in the doctor’s clinic and you instinctively look for figures or faces in the abstract painting on the wall. That works for me. Millennials, I guess, have it good. They have cellphones and tablets to while away their time.
However, while I treat pareidolia as a harmless, childhood carry-over fancy, I observed how many treat it like portends of doom or manifestations of religious miracles. I hope some researcher could find out how many of the population indulge in pareidolia these days. Pictures of angels or the face of Jesus in the clouds appear regularly on Facebook, inviting others to post a thousand Amens. Other images show cities in the clouds that hint at a heavenly kingdom or an alien portal. Then, there are the UFO enthusiasts who, in wanting so much to believe, see signs of life in close-up photographs of the moon. Poor me, I only see Winnie the Pooh (and Spongebob sometimes).

Alas, comparing my childhood pareidolia with that of my now-near ancient self, I have realized how my perception of things have changed these days. True, the writings on the wall are still there, but their appeal appears to have lost a bit of luster. The same feeling comes in the realization that, all along, you might have been looking at people, places and things from a sentimental or romantic lens. Like pareidolia, this phenomenon sucks major major.

However, I still maintain that fantasy and reality are not opposites, but merely different perceptions by a mind in transition. That said transition to the older version of you makes all the difference, especially at how we look at the world and the clouds and interpret them according to our own fancy.

To be cheeky about it, the fantasy world is also a reality in itself, where anyone can thrive and wield their wild imagination with childlike abandon. Reality, on the other hand, is more brutal, where the search for the legal tender is a major objective towards that quaint and intangible goal labeled “happiness”.

So, pares and mares, let’s play! What do you see?

Posted in Opinion