The Book of Illusions

In: English and Literature

Submitted By merete
Words 1294
Pages 6
The Book of Illusions by Paul Auster

If a tree falls in a forest with nobody around, does it make a sound? At one point in his 10th novel, The Book of Illusions, Paul Auster briefly refers to this philosophical concept. If a man, however, lives a life that nobody else notices, did he really live? That's the real debate that he proposes with this novel.
The book opens with the sentence, "Everyone thought he was dead." It refers to a silent film comedian named Hector Mann who just disappeared one day back in 1929, but it could just as easily refer to the protagonist of the story, David Zimmer, a literature professor at a liberal arts college in Vermont. David's life came to an end the day his wife and sons were killed in a plane crash. That disaster sent him diving headlong into drink and depression and he lived in an almost catatonic state in front of the television every day. He saw no purpose to living, but he was also unable to take his own life. He divorced society, quit his job, and broke off all contact with the people in his former life.
One day, a spark of life emerged while he watched a short clip of a Hector Mann movie on the television. He laughed. That moment of laughter made him realize that there was still something inside him that wanted to live, and he realized he needed a purpose, something to occupy his mind and to get him through every day. David decided to write a book about Hector Mann and his movies. He had previously written several books of literary critique and he applied the same thorough research methods of his academic career to find out all he could about Hector Mann. The only copies of the 12 silent movies Hector Mann ever made were distributed among different film museums around the world, so he traveled to all of them and watched all the movies repeatedly until he had them memorized. Paul Auster does a wonderful job letting us…...

Similar Documents

The Great Illusion

...The Great Illusion According to the Thomas Jeffery Hogan and R. David Mautz, Jr., “Earnings per share (EPS) is considered by some to be the single most important item in the financial statements” (Hogan and Mautz, Jr., 1991, p. 50). Reasons for this are that they are known to be disclosed in statements of public companies as well as a figure auditors refer to. However, earnings per share may not really be the number investors should look at. Concepts Statement #2 requires that in order for information to be useful, it must be relevant and reliable. There seem to be problems with EPS due to the way it is computed and disclosed. Such problems consist of determining what constitutes common stock equivalencies, including stock options and warrants, the effective yield test, and the two types of EPS. There is difficulty in determining what constitutes common stock. According to Thomas Jeffery Hogan and R. David Mautz, Jr., “Common stock equivalents are convertible securities that derive a major portion of their value from the fact that they can be exchanged for common stock” (Hogan and Mautz, Jr., 1991, p. 50). Also once a security I deemed to be a common stock equivalent, it always will be. The reverse of this situation is also true, if a security is not found to be common stock equivalent, it never will be. This is not good because factors in the economy may cause conditions that will reason an effective yield of a specific company to...

Words: 758 - Pages: 4

Illusion

...A case related to illusions Everyday, we hear, we sense, we see a lot of information. When our brain, our perceptual system, misinterprets the information, the perceptual illusions occur. It is a cognitive perception, because you transmit information to the brain and our brain starts to process. I came up with four examples that are either from my own experiences or from my visual observation. And I think they can be used to illustrate perceptual illusions. But I’m not sure whether two of those examples are perceptual illusions. I think they are more similar to optical illusions.  Beauty & Health Care Stores As a girl, I often go to some beauty stores to purchase some cosmetics. Sometimes when I step into a beauty & health care store, I have a feeling that the store is very big and bright. But actually it’s not the case. The owner of the store usually decorate the store with full of mirrors, the mirrors may give the consumers the feelings that this store is really big. It’s often the promotion strategy that the stores used. In this case, the actual and perceived size of the store has a discrepancy. My brain misinterprets the size of the store, and then it’s perceptual illusion.  The railways When I was very young, my parents were too busy to take care of me. So I spent a lot of vacations in my grandparents’ home, and I took the train to their home. Each time when I was on the train and the train was in the platform waiting to leave, I felt that our train was moving......

Words: 462 - Pages: 2

The Power of Illusion

...Mary Ma: Sept 11' BFA Filmmaking - Track B Cultural Mythology and World Religions – Extra Credit Assignment The Power of Illusion 'Kumaré' Kumaré is a documentary about a man who impersonates a wise Indian Guru and starts to build a following. Vikram Gandhi's experiment has been criticized as immoral, many others do agree with his philosophy and “teachings”. The experiment had simply grown out of his control by the time he could reveal his true self. Kumaré's followers in the documentary claimed to be comforted by his energy and presence. There was something about him that drew others to him. People said that he was giving and was willing to spend most of his time trying to help others. But what if it were all for show? When Vikram began his transformation to the all knowing Guru Kumaré he was, in his words “just curious”. This harmless curiosity and openness to the subject may have been exactly what drew his followers to him (That, and he looked the part). He did not set off on a journey to become rich or famous as they suggested was why some other people became Gurus. Vikram went to other established spaces to learn their methods of teaching and incorporated his findings into his own teaching. He also legitimized himself in the eyes of his followers by performing rituals and making up prayers and chants. The identity he adopted was actually the man he wished he could be. Vikram's act became real and he turned into some spiritual placebo that made a great......

Words: 492 - Pages: 2

Illusion and Mendacity

...Peter Tim Soriano Mr. Chalmers ENG 4U 16 December 2013 Illusion and Mendacity In Tennessee Williams’ plays Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Streetcar Named Desire, several characters suffer by lying and by being unaware of reality. Both plays demonstrate and signify the themes of illusion vs. reality and mendacity through past trauma, alcohol abuse, and through strained family and marital relationships. In Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Brick is an example to all of these factors through his past with his friend skipper, his abuse of alcohol, and the lack of love he shows for his wife, while in A Streetcar Named Desire, Blanche encounters similar problems as Brick with her past trauma and her alcohol problem. The two plays share many similarities in terms of themes but at the same time also share significant difference. In the play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Brick is troubled with his past memories that he tries to keep a secret. He mourns the death of his best friend Skipper and the death pushes Brick into a world of imagination and mendacity. He avoids talking about Skipper and when his wife Margaret who is been trying to fix her relationship with Brick brings up the memory of his friend Skipper. Brick gets upset and says, “One man has one great good true thing in his life. One great good thing which is true! – I had a friendship with Skipper. – You are naming it dirty!” (Williams 44) Brick is furious with Margaret as he threatens her with physical abuse before he mentions the one......

Words: 1690 - Pages: 7

Psych Illusion

...The first illusion was the Muller-Lyer Illusion. It consists of an arrow shape in which the arrowhead faces different directions. In the middle of the shape is another arrowhead that is supposed to divide the length of the arrow in half. The left-facing arrow illusion did little to affect my perception of the distance. However, I was consistently short on the right-facing arrow. The alignment of the arrow drastically affected my perception. I thought I was consistently dividing it in half, but the results showed otherwise. My average adjusted length was about 5.25% less than the correct length. The Muller-Lyer illusion works by altering our depth perception. Because most of us were brought up in square-cornered houses, the >-< shape appears closer and shorter than the shape. This is because the former looks like the edge of an exterior corner and the latter looks like the edge of an interior corner. This causes our mind to perceive the first shape as shorter than the second one, even though they are the same length. After learning about this phenomenon, my score improved from 5.25% to 3.25%. I still haven’t clearly grasped the concept and been able to perceive it correctly, but I did make a slight improvement. The Ponzo Illusion consists of a red and yellow bar whose heights must be matched. The two bars are placed in a room with the red bar much further back than the yellow bar. My perception was significantly affected by this illusion as I made the yellow bar about 49.5%...

Words: 677 - Pages: 3

Is Life an Illusion

...Is life an Illusion? David Coulter Liberty University Is Life an Illusion? Each of the readings discusses aspects of man being deceived by his senses. In The Matrix, almost every human is plugged into a giant computer and lives out an illusion provided by the computer to the brain (Wachowski, 1999). In The Allegory of the Cave, a hypothetical situation where men are only allowed to see shadows of reality is discussed by Socrates and Glaucon (Plato, n.d.). Finally, in Meditation I of The Things of Which We May Doubt, René Descartes attempts to eliminate all beliefs that might be based on something uncertain. He proposes that a demon may be providing an illusion and his senses may not reflect reality (Descartes, 1641). With all of this investigation around human senses being deceived, is it possible for people to trust their senses? The Matrix and The Allegory of the Cave both deal with how men react to reality when illusion and reality are recognized for what they are. However, they each deal with this recognition in different ways. In The Matrix, reality is far less pleasant than the illusion. Some prefer the truth rather than to be deceived, and one in particular prefers the illusion claiming “ignorance is bliss” (Wachowski, 1999). In The Allegory of the Cave, the hypothetical subjects when confronted with reality find it to be less real than the deceptive shadows that they have always thought was reality. Over time, they learn that the deceptive shadows were and...

Words: 834 - Pages: 4

Illusions in Relativy

...M. C. Escher, one of the 20th century leading artists, is best-known with his impressive optical illusions. Especially in “Impossible constructions” collection, he did excellent works in playing various visual tricks on those artworks that profoundly confuse the observers at the first sign. The piece of art “ Relativy” depicts an unrealistic interior space with the stairs that never go the same way, the floors, doors and balconies are put on every sides of the rooms in this view. There are also a number of people climbing up and down the stairs and assign “up” or “down” direction in a complicated and strange way, thus completely confuse our visual analysis. However, if the people in motion is supposed to be invisible in the picture, the structure, especially the stairs system seems to be visually possible and at least overall perspective cannot look occur, even though the positions of other furniture pieces may not make logical sense. Therefore, it is effortless for grouping structural elements which are of the same shade and well-connected and well-defined in mass and form. Otherwise, when the number of people moving is involved in the perspective, it can be seen that their shade visually matching with the construction as well as the visual tricks occur to make the picture look ambiguous itself. This is because that three out of four main stairs seem to allow people to climb on both top and bottom, reach and stand on every interior sides of the building, and most......

Words: 452 - Pages: 2

The Illusion of Leadership

...The Illusion of Leadership Directing Creativity in Business and the Arts Piers Ibbotson The Illusion of Leadership This page intentionally left blank The Illusion of Leadership Directing Creativity in Business and the Arts Piers Ibbotson © Piers Ibbotson 2008 All rights reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmission of this publication may be made without written permission. No portion of this publication may be reproduced, copied or transmitted save with written permission or in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, or under the terms of any licence permitting limited copying issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency, Saffron House, 6-10 Kirby Street, London EC1N 8TS. Any person who does any unauthorized act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages. The author has asserted his right to be identified as the author of this work in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. First published 2008 by PALGRAVE MACMILLAN Palgrave Macmillan in the UK is an imprint of Macmillan Publishers Limited, registered in England, company number 785998, of Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6XS. Palgrave Macmillan in the US is a division of St Martin’s Press LLC, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010. Palgrave Macmillan is the global academic imprint of the above companies and has companies and representatives throughout the world. Palgrave® and......

Words: 68096 - Pages: 273

Illusions

...Mcman-McCline Vision Light and Color 11/1/14 Cognitive Illusions & Double Exposures Cognitive Illusions can be broken up into various groups of illusions such as, distorting illusions, ambiguous illusions, paradox illusions. I will create an ambiguous illusion using photography as my medium. The illusion will consist of a triple exposure creating three images working together as one. Each exposure setting requires an f-stop in other words the aperture. The aperture controls how much light is let into the lens before the photo is taken. Using multiple exposures f8, f5.6, and f3.5 creating variations of light. My tools consisted of an Argus C3 50mm film camera, black & white film and one light source. The exposures work together creating a beautiful perspective that works along with darks and lights. This causes the viewer to try and figure out which image was taken first and which was last. This ambiguous illusion forms a multistable perception. A multistable perception is the occurrence of an image being able to provide multiple, although stable, perceptions (Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen L. Macknik). Visual illusions are defined by the dissociation between the physical reality and the subjective perception of an object or event. The picture is interpreted as representing a three-dimensional structure,......

Words: 665 - Pages: 3

Are Choices an Illusion

...Are Choices an Illusion? Section 1 Do I believe that the choices we make are just mere illusions? That we do not really have our own free will in making decisions? Yes, I believe this to be true. Section 2 However, some believe that we do have free will. Roy F. Baumeister, a social psychologist states that we do have free will, and he says: If culture is so successful, why don’t other species use it? They can’t—because they lack the psychological innate capabilities it requires. Our ancestors evolved the ability to act in the ways necessary for culture to succeed. Free will likely will be found right there—it’s what enables humans to control their actions in precisely the ways required to build and operate complex social systems. (Baumeister). What Baumeister is saying is that based on how our ancestor has developed a sense of communication is an act of free will. They have free will because they chose how they want to develop and how it will help them evolve. Baumesiter also states how our self-control "counts as a kind of freedom because it beings with not acting on every impulse," meaning that because of our free will, we don't always act straight away when we see something. We think about it first before we trigger a response. Such as thinking about what we say before we say it, we just don't say the first thing that comes to our mind without thinking about it. Steve Zara, a writer in the Richard Dawkins discussion section of the websites states that ...

Words: 1826 - Pages: 8

Constancies and Illusions

...Constancies and Illusions What are Perceptual Constancies? * Tendency for the perception of an object to stay constant despite changes in stimuli * Perceptual constancies rescue us from confusion * They allow us to identify objects with different stimuli Three types of constancies: * Size * Shape * Brightness Size Constancy * The most studied of all constancies is size constancy, the fact that an object’s size remains relatively constant no matter what its distance. As an object moves farther away from us, we generally do not see it as decreasing in size. Hold a quarter a foot in front of you and then move it out to arm’s length. Does it appear to get smaller? Not noticeably so. Yet the retinal image of the quarter when it is 24 inches away is half the size of the retinal image of the quarter when it is 12 inches away. We certainly do not perceive the quarter as becoming half its size as we move it an arm’s length. Like other constancies, however, size constancy is not perfect; very distant objects appear to be smaller than the same objects close up, as anyone knows who has looked down from a tall building or from an airplane in flight. Shape Constancy * Tendency for the perceived shape of an object to remain constant despite changes in its retinal image. Ex. A book will have the same shape regardless of the angle it is viewed from. Brightness Constancy * Tendency for the perceived brightness of an object to stay the same as......

Words: 879 - Pages: 4

Empire of Illusion

...After watching the assigned video, I found Mr. Hedges to be very thought provoking in his deliverance that the well sought after American dream is ending. Chris Hedges’ stance is that our county has transformed into a corporate America and governs its own citizens through a prominent illusion. Although his point of views came across as negative, his predictions are likely inevitable. In the beginning of Allan Gregg’s interview, Hedges uses television and wrestling as an example of how the storylines serve as reflections on the outlook of our society, and exposes how it feeds our fascination for spectacle. We crave the shallow and materialistic aspects of these types of tv programs. Perhaps the most vulnerable are the youths of today. For example, I have younger siblings who are practically glued to the television screen every time these programs are on, enticed in the drama and action with no realization that they are often scripted. Reality television is also another example of how badly our culture is detached from “reality”. These shows have been around for quite some time but only seem to be popular in the recent years. Our generation has come to believe that fame is the ultimate achievement that one can accomplish. Instead of living their lives people are more concerned with the every day drama of another person. With shows like the ‘Bachelor’, we can watch clingy women sob their way off the show, after being rejected by a guy they’ve not even spent an hour with. As......

Words: 491 - Pages: 2

Illusions

...Abstract: In this essay, Ibsen’s plays, The Wild Duck, and Ghosts are considered in relation to themes of illusions and realities. In both plays, families are held together by illusions, yet torn apart by truths that have been concealed to protect the children. Ibsen’s use of artistic realism is an ironic art form where illusions and realisms are contradicted to reveal the deeper conflicts of ordinary lives. Ibsen presents the complicated realities of ordinary lives and emphasizes the fact that there are always many realities -- just as there are many illusions. Title: Illusions and Realities in Ibsen’s Plays The Wild Duck and Ghosts Introduction In Ibsen’s The Wild Duck, illusions and reality are set into a conflict within the story of a son’s personal desire to confront idealism. Throughout much of the play, the son, Greger, argues the value of truth with the reluctant Dr. Relling. Relling insists on the importance of illusions, but fails to discourage Greger’s intentions and a play that begins as a comedy quickly turns into a tragedy because of these conflicts. At the heart of the illusions in this play are the ways that people assume many roles in a family, impersonating multiple ideals as ways for managing their relationships. This theme of impersonation is also developed in Ibsen’s Ghosts, where family relations are slowly undone as the illusions and deceptions are stripped away. In both plays, deceptions are strategic and designed to protect the......

Words: 922 - Pages: 4

Example of Financial Illusion in 2000s

...Example of Financial Illusion Introduction The emergence of an increasing number of ‘financial illusions’ in the current state of financial markets around the world casts doubts over the famous and widely accepted efficient market hypothesis. The efficient market hypothesis (EMH) indicates that, at any time, prices fully and instantaneously reflect all available relevant information on a particular stock or market (Fama, 1970). EMH also suggests that it is impossible to “beat the market” because stock market efficiency causes existing share prices to always incorporate and reflect all relevant information. Thus, according to the EMH, it is impossible for investors to either purchase undervalued stocks or sell stocks for inflated prices because stocks are always traded at their fair value on stock exchanges. Another reason is because no one has access to information that is not already available to everyone else. One important characteristic of the EMH is its assumption that agents are rational. Rational agents is agents which has a clear preferences, models uncertainty via expected values, and always chooses to perform the action that results in the optimal outcome from all the feasible actions. Their actions depend on their preferences, their information of the current situation; which may come from past experiences, the actions, duties and obligations available and the estimated or actual benefits that the agents can get after the actions. In reality, however, agents......

Words: 4978 - Pages: 20

Homers Illusions

...cannot. Homer uses animals in every single book in The Iliad. But throughout the epic, the way Homer uses the animals varies quite a bit. Homer used certain animals in The Iliad more than other animals and purposely so. Animals were used as symbols by the gods, but mostly they were similes. But Homer’s use of animals changes all the way up to the very end. Not only does animal illustration help the reader know and understand the plot better, but it also brings the epic to life. To start things off, Zeus uses an eagle as a good omen for Agamemnon. “And Zeus that instant launched about the field the most portentous of all birds, an eagle, pinning in his talons a tender fawn. He dropped it near the beautiful altar of Zeus where the Akhaians made their offerings to Zeus of Omens: and beholding this, knowing the eagle had comedown from Zeus, they flung themselves again upon the Trojans.” (Book 8 Page 183 Lines 280-287) The effect of Zeus sending over “an eagle, pinning in his talons a tender fawn” shows how much strength the eagle has to fly with a rather large animal in its clutches. The fact that the fawn dropped on the altar of Zeus lets the Akhaians know that Zeus generated this signal for them to continue fighting with enormous strength. Homer started being undecisive when it came to Hektor and Aias. He said, “Now both men disengaged their spears and fell on one another like man-eating lions or wild boars—no tame household creatures.” (Book 7 Page 163 Lines 398-300) This......

Words: 2532 - Pages: 11