I spent the last few days reading about illusions. I find that illusions and I find that illusions trick not only our eyes; more they trick our minds and our behaviors. Leadership illusions, majority illusions, assumption illusions, advertising and marketing illusions, conflict illusions and behavior illusions are examples of what I mean. That illusions emerge and aren’t planned for shows their complexity and difficulties in understanding them. Our senses feed our minds with information and our minds interpret this information. If what our eyes feed our mind s is illusions what we decide is illusionary too.
One illusion that trapped me is the one below in which size illusion is evident. Just look at the image below and answer a simple question which of the three yellow circles is largest in size?
If you see the yellow circle surrounded by the small green faces the largest then this is an illusionary effect. In fact, the three yellow balls are of the same size. The difference is their surroundings. The yellow circle with big green balls surrounding it looks smaller than the other yellow circles. In life, we find that may so-called leaders surround themselves with far less influential people so that they make look bigger. A true leader would surround himself with great people so that they may look smaller and keep humble. I noticed this happening in real life where leaders and managers are scared of talented people and therefore fight them so that they may look more influential.
In social networks we may observe the same. Some members are the center of a hub and are surrounded by many followers. These influencers look to have bigger influence than they actually have. Recent researches are in agreement. you only need few influencers to give the imprint that everyone is talking about your brand. Researchers at the University of Southern California recently revealed the majority illusion, a marvel within social networks that explains why some ideas or products go viral. It is the illusion of connections on social platforms. Influencers and leaders share the same thing- looking bigger when surrounded by many less influential people.
An interesting research is reported by Scientific American. The study shows that we live in a big illusion. Love and all other feelings are rooted in the brain and not the heart. Love is a form of addiction and what make people addict for drugs make them also addict for love. It is certain connected neuron circuits that make us addict to love. Again, connecting the ‘dots” create the illusion of love.
Assumption illusions are predominant. We see things differently than what they are actually are. We make assumptions based on wrong estimates and illusionary ideas. We make the assumptions real when so many people believe in them. The false assumption is circled by many believers and so the ball of assumption appears bigger than what it is. The more people drag into believing an assumption, the bigger it looks and the more we believe in it. In business we witness the same. When a manager makes an assumption that his company has no competition and workers believe in it and surround it to protect it, the bigger it looks and the belief assumption roots in their hearts or, I should say minds for minds are responsible for our feelings.
We suffer from conflict illusions. We make a conflict bigger than what it is. The conflict grows bigger as more people believe in it. People might not realize that the conflict isn’t what it is in reality. The longer the conflict is, the more we own it and the bigger it gets. We see it bigger everyday even though in reality it is small. We make the small conflict big the more people believe in it. How many conflicts resulted in wars because people say them bigger. Only after paying the prices people realized there was much simpler resolutions had they seen the conflict in its real size.
In our global and connected societies there is an emerging risk- people who have a distorted opinion would easily attract many supporters to circle their views and make a shield of protection for it. The false opinion grows bigger by the illusion of size. Are we globally connected to increase our illusion of reality?
I dedicate this buzz to the great thinker Magdalena-Maria GROSU for she is so involved with researching social capital. I wonder if the idea of social capital illusions would interest her.