From the Super Committee and Occupy to climate change and Penn State.
The Invisible Gorilla.
There it is, right there, in plain sight. See? Right there in the political mist. Actually, make that plural. In reality there are multiples of Invisible Gorillas right there in the open, for everybody to see.
Except, of course, everybody doesn’t see them. Which is why the fretting over everything from the Super Committee and Occupy Wall Street to climate change to Penn State.
What is an Invisible Gorilla?
Glad you asked.
Actually, it’s a book, The Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intuitions Deceive Us by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons. The book focuses on the idea that “our minds don’t work the way we think they do. We think we see ourselves and the world as they really are, but we’re actually missing a whole lot.”
The title comes from a video experiment that worked as follows.
Two teams of basketball players were brought together. One team is wearing white jerseys, the other team black jerseys. Viewers of the videotape were instructed to count the number of passes made — only by the team wearing white. Any pass made by players wearing black was not to be counted. The tape unspools and the assembled viewers begin intently focusing on their task. As one would suspect, this task requires considerable concentration as both teams merge and move around two basketballs being passed this way and that from one teammate to another. Halfway into the video, out in the middle of all this strolls something else entirely — a person dressed in a gorilla suit. As the “gorilla” crosses the scene from one end to the other he stops right in the middle of all the basketball passing, thumps his chest gorilla style, then moves on. In nine seconds he is gone and the passing, which never stopped, keeps right on going until the end.
Through the wonders of YouTube, you can see the actual video here.
When the tape ends — there were 15 passes by the white jerseys — it turns out that half the audience in the experiment never saw the gorilla! Why? So absorbed were they in their instructed task of counting passes by the team in white jerseys — which also meant making certain not to count passes from those in black jerseys — they never saw the strikingly obvious fact that a gorilla was casually walking through the scene, smack in the middle, stopping to thump its chest in famously gorilla style before casually walking away.
The point? Human beings can be blind to the most obvious of things — not to mention being blind to the fact they are blind!
What are the Invisible Gorillas America isn’t seeing as the nation breaks for Thanksgiving?
What are the white jerseys everybody is so intently focused on counting — and the black jerseys they are so focused on not counting?
Here are a few sightings of the Invisible Gorilla.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?