Perception in Motion: Illusion, Confusion, and Zen Insight

Many perceive the two 3D cross-like shapes as moving significantly, though they remain stationary!

The interplay of color shades (light/dark) on the edges and body of the cross-like wire frames creates the illusion of motion. The alternating shadings simulate “motion blur,” leading some researchers to attribute these illusory movements to delays in luminance processing, producing a signal that deceives the motion system and induces “kinetopsia” (motion perception)..

This brings to mind an anecdote: Two Zen monks debated a flag moved by the wind. One claimed, ‘The flag is moving…’ while the other countered, ‘The wind is moving!’ The monastery’s prior intervened, stating, ‘Not the wind, not the flag; the mind is moving…’

This short anecdote serves to explain that the concept and perception of motion is sometimes ambiguous.