[visionlist] [cvnet] Third-eye rivalry?

Andrew Parker andrew.parker at dpag.ox.ac.uk
Wed Sep 18 14:05:35 -04 2019

Dear Ishan Singhal

Thank you so much for these very significant and insightful comments. I am sure it is not helpful to link a simple perceptual phenomenon with the complex structure of thought that surrounds the mythological aspects of the third eye in diverse cultures.

Best Wishes

Andrew Parker

Sent from my iPhone

On 18 Sep 2019, at 19:10, Ishan Singhal <ishan.s at cbcs.ac.in<mailto:ishan.s at cbcs.ac.in>> wrote:

Greetings Dr. Gallagher,

Let me first congratulate you on your discovery. Not only is it easily reproducible by your instructions, but it is also immediately visible. Such strong illusions will grant the future readers of your paper great ease of relating phenomenologically.

However, I don't quite see any relation of it to Eastern spiritual mythology (specifically Hinduism and or Buddhism). While yes, on the surface there is talk of a third eye in both these spiritual/philosophical schools, however the relation to this illusion I feel might be overstated and spurious. First of all, the third eye of Shiva is depicted as rotated 90 degrees and situated "vertically" between the two eyes. A common custom in Hinduism involves putting a "tilaka<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilaka>" to symbolize one's third eye, this too is shaped like an eye rotated 90 degrees. See here<https://www.google.co.in/search?biw=1536&bih=702&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=mVeCXYjjOofOvgTG1JWIAg&q=shiva+third+eye&oq=shiva+third+eye&gs_l=img.3...98632.100769..100990...0.0..0.0.0.......0....1..gws-wiz-img.oj73OeiK8Lk&ved=0ahUKEwjIk8Tp4drkAhUHp48KHUZqBSEQ4dUDCAY&uact=5> and here.<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_eye#/media/File:Shiva_Musée_Guimet_22971.jpg>

In Buddhism the depictions of the third eye are usually by a circular dot. Debates about it's origins are two-fold. One, that they adopted the Yoga schools' ideas of a "third eye chakra" (many depictions show a spiraling circle, another word for such a figure in Sanskirt is "chakra") or the second more likely origin story of the dot depicting the focal location of meditation. Usually, a point is chosen to focus attention during closed eye mindfulness meditation. Buddhist practices include focusing on either breath, the touch of the breath as it leaves the nostrils or on the gap (near the forehead) between the eyes.

Finally, both Shiva and Buddha, in their respective stories, get enlightened with eyes closed meditation. And there are a lot of metaphorical claims about third eyes in both these spiritual practices, none of which seem perceptual or phenomenological.

As novel and wonderfully strong your discovery is, any claims of relating it to Eastern thought are unwarranted. To summarize this view 1) The way in which the third eye is depicted in historical texts, statues, idols and paintings are not how we see the "third eye" in your illusion. 2) This is further shown by how Hindus put tilaka. 3) Buddhists depict third eyes with a dot, specifying location of focus. 4) "Opening third eye" in both these cultures is a focused meditation and mindfulness based practice, almost always done with eyes closed. 5) Both these Gods (Shiva and Buddha) achieved access to third eye through eyes closed meditation. Even in the figures of your pre-print, Shiva's eye is shown rotated 90 degrees, while the one of Buddha seems like a contemporary artistic rendition and not based on original depictions.

I write to you with an urgent request to avoid unnecessarily evoking Eastern thought, because this dilutes the impact of attempts which necessitate reference to Eastern thought.

Thank You,
Ishan Singhal

PhD Student
Centre of Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences
University of Allahabad

On Wed, Sep 18, 2019 at 8:23 PM Regan Gallagher <regan.gallagher at monash.edu<mailto:regan.gallagher at monash.edu>> wrote:
Dear colleagues,

Thank you to those who made contact with us and pointed us to relevant literature and demonstrations. It appears that the Third-eye rivalry effect hasn’t been reported so far in the scientific literature. For those interested, we have uploaded a quick summary and pre-print detailing our discovery.

See a lay description here:  https://link.growkudos.com/1kacuq5pqm8
For the pre-print see here: https://psyarxiv.com/9p6da/

As before, any comments, critiques, or relevant literature are very welcome.

Kind regards,
Regan Gallagher

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