Seeing and Believing

Let’s make this perfectly clear – seeing and believing work together.

There is a fairly widespread myth going around that we see what is there – that our eyes present a true picture of the world around us.

Yet we know from experience with optical illusions that this is not the case. Our eyes often trick us. My question is, “why?”

That’s where belief comes in. According to Dobromir Rahnev, a psychologist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, we see what we want to see – literally:

“We feel that our vision is like a camera, but that is utterly wrong. Our brains aren’t just seeing, they’re actively constructing the visual scene and making decisions about it.”

Maybe Seeing IS Believing

Did you catch that bit about “actively constructing the visual scene?” Who’s doing the “constructing?” It isn’t the scene doing that! It’s ME – and more specifically, my beliefs!

I literally see what I believe. That’s pretty useful information, I figure! I’m never without evidence of my beliefs – they’re figuratively staring me right in the face!


  1. GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY. (2016, May 11). “Out of mind, out of sight.” Medical News Today. Retrieved from
  2. – video and commentary on Donald Hoffman’s conscious universe.

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