Before reading this, please watch the video and try and count how many times the players in white pass the ball. Then, please read the last sentence of this text and then you can start reading.
Our eyes capture images, but what our brain actually sees is conditioned by what we know and what we are expecting; the mind compares what it sees to what it knows. This explains why we only notice driving school students when we are obtaining our own driving licence.
The other day, walking across the waiting room towards the changing room to go home, an image caught my attention: I thought I saw a man without arms or legs, with a pair of little green shoes stuck to his thighs. I thought this couldn’t be, that I had worked far too many hours, that if it was the case someone would have said something to me.
So I went back and checked: it was a foreign couple waiting for an egg donation; the woman was the one that had difficulties conceiving, while he only needed a bit of help in order to get his semen sample to carry out an In Vitro Fertilisation.
Two days before, something similar happened: I thought I saw a guy in pretty bad shape. When I went back, there was a young man whose face was all covered in blood and bruises. He was one of our patients’ boyfriend. She had come to donate eggs, and despite his terrible appearance, he was worried that she would get angry if he was late, so he came anyways.
I couldn’t believe anyone in the clinic had noticed these situations, so I started to do my own tests and investigated into this collective blindness. The first one was: one of our foreign patients was sleeping on a sofa after a long journey. Well, I decided to imitate him and laid down in the same position on the sofa in front of him, my white pyjamas on and all.
For the other experiment, I lied on the floor, right in the middle of the waiting room, and started playing with a girl who had come with her parents… we made huge castles with toys.
In both cases NO ONE saw me. In fact, everyone was looking for me all around the place and I was right in front of them.
This happens to us all: our conscious mind is selective and only sees a part of what there is; that is why we each have our own version of reality.
Now play the video again and pay attention to the monkey in it.