At lunch today I went for a walk. There is a path near my office which runs along the Logan river, through a pasture. It was cold, raining-on-the-verge of snowing. SO I had my hood pulled down, and I was walking fairly quickly.
The path crosses the river a couple times via little foot bridges, and as I approached the last bridge on my return trip, I caught movement in the water, just at the edge of my peripheral vision. My first thought, given the abundance of tadpoles was "frog", but it was really too large to be a frog, and moved through the water much to smoothly.
Then, whether because I had started at frog and therefore had amphibian (and consequently reptile) on my brain, or because my wife and I have been looking a pictured of Florida the night before, or both, I quite clearly realized that what I was seeing was none other than an alligator! A small one, maybe a a foot or two in length, but most definitely the correct size, shape, texture, color and motion.
Then that smart-astic voice in the back of my head chimed in with that annoyingly smug voice...
"Really..... You are in Logan.... Utah.... in the middle of January, in rain/snow... And your going with alligator?"
At about that moment, the muskrat dove under the water and out of site.
The funny thing was for that brief instant, I really did see an alligator, that is how my mind interpreted the visual stimuli it received. It was only at that very last instant, that rational mind kicked in and saw "Things as they really are".
I got to thinking about that- how often, to what extent, and for how long do our brains get misled in a life time, by misinterpreted or out of context stimuli or information?
And has this phenomena increased in the age of tweets, instagrams... increasingly short and fast info-bits?