Many years ago – at the time when I still owned a television set – I saw a scientific program that dealt with the pitfalls of perception. Among other things, it showed a short film clip in which, in a fixed camera shot, ten basketball players could be seen standing together on a court and throwing a basketball to each other. Five in yellow and five in black jerseys. The viewer now had the task of counting how often the players in the yellow jerseys threw the ball to each other. The clip was over, I came up with fifteen rallies. I didn’t notice anything else. Then the same film was shown again and the task was not to count anything, but just to watch. While I was watching, I suddenly held my breath: From the right edge of the picture, a two-meter tall man in a gorilla costume suddenly came onto the field, strolled between the players, performed an impressive gorilla-like chest drumming right in front of the camera and disappeared – slowly strolling – left out of the picture again. While this was happening, the players were throwing balls to each other just as I had seen before.
This experiment has never let me go. Only because my mind, the master and administrator of my five senses, was busy counting rallies, it simply blanked out the huge – I would have said: unmissable! – gorilla man simply faded out…and I would have sworn on everything I hold dear that there was no gorilla man in the film clip….
Since that moment I asked myself again and again with a somewhat uneasy feeling how many „gorilla men“ my mind erases from my perception every day. What kind of a piecework is that actually, which is made available to me with the label „reality“ by the administrator of my five senses – my mind? Couldn’t the „gorilla men“ be important for me and for which motives are they withheld from me?