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  • Vianca Varma

There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact

Looking at the claim, let's first understand some keywords. ‘Deception’ is the act of making someone believe or accept something as true which is in reality false. Being deceptive consists of misrepresenting or omitting the truth or lying that involves misleading someone away from the truth. One can easily get deceived due to lacking adequate knowledge about a certain subject, when our sense of perception does not allow us to see the true perspective or when our experiences subconsciously make us want to believe an untrue claim. A ‘fact’ is defined as something that exists that is accepted as the truth. For example, ‘your heart pumps blood through your body’ is a fact. This is not subject to multiple interpretations as it has been proved by indisputable evidence and can be accepted as true.

How does one verify obvious facts? Our memory and sense perception are the channels through which we acquire and establish obvious facts. We can claim them as first-hand information which does not need reasoning to be supported. However, the so-called obvious facts are established after being interpreted by our mental representations (schemas) built on the basis of personal experiences. Thus, the information might be vulnerable to biases. As a result, one might tend to question the authenticity and legitimacy of such obvious facts. To investigate this further, let us apply this to the field of arts.

Art is a friendly deception. It is a harmless illusion that tricks the eyes, ears and mind to deceive us. Being pleasing and attractive to the eye makes it easier to be deceived by art. The classic example of this is the Palace of Illusions or Maya as mentioned in the Mahabharata. Maya was said to possess architectural abilities that are unfathomable by our modern standards. The Divine Palace had flowing lines and finishes that resembled a river due to its reflective illusory features. While examining the palace, Duryodhana walked into a wall thinking it to be a door. Later, he fell in a pond which looked like firm land because of the fine rangoli done on it. To Duryodhana, the fact established by his observation proved to be a deception in reality where his eyes and mind were tricked by the art to believe the deception. This reinforces the fact that nothing is more deceptive than an obvious fact.

~Vianca Varma, Batch of 2019-2020

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