An Analysis Of James Elkins's 'How To Look At Nothing'

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The excerpt from the novel by James Elkins, “How to Look at Nothing,” describes what occurs to our vision when we are faced with nothing. The excerpt accurately describes a variety of phenomenons that happen to anyone when placed in the correct circumstances. It also reveals a lot about what how our vision can be askew. Our ability to judge and act on what we see is sometimes distorted by our own vision. The passage first talks about the proper conditions needed to experience the effects and phenomenons described. The author then goes on to briefly explain some malfunctions in our brains and says, “Those are ‘false positives,’ reports that there is light when there isn’t. We see light when we shouldn’t and we fail to see light when, by the …show more content…

The author talks about what happens when there is not visible light in your environment when he says, “In the end, when there is nothing left to see, the eye and the brain invent lights.” This quote shows us that the brain and eyes cannot stand to not look at anything. In completely dark circumstances, our brains can create entoptic auroras that can seem real. Entoptic auroras are a phenomena that is produced when our brain creates colorful patterns and designs that we can see. I personally have seen these displays. They are easiest to see on a moonless night in an enclosed room. Having the curtains shut and all the lights in and around the room is necessary to witness this phenomena. Entoptic auroras will start to appear fairly quickly if it is completely dark. They are very pretty and entertaining to watch. Obviously, this phenomena does not accurately depict what is happening in reality, and others cannot witness the same auroras with you. Entoptic auroras are illusions that can alter what we believe is real and what is imaginary. In some ways, this can affect the way we act and interpret a situation. The distortion of vision impairs our ability to process

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