Daniel Olexa Hypnotherapy and Life Coaching


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Illusions of Reality: Laurel v. Yanni

How one viral recording leads you to ask, "What is real?"

So, I just heard about this debate for the first time at an appointment this morning. At that time, I had not yet heard the recording that was being discussed.

As I was listening to the debate, I immediately remembered the great blue dress debate from a couple of years ago. I began thinking about how this phenomena could be created with sound: two recordings of two different words, played at different tonal levels so that certain people would hear one instead of the other. Just like those high tones students use on their cellphones that we adults can't hear.

That does not seem to be the root of the illusion, but tonal perception does seem to be a key in what someone hears in this recording.

After leaving my appointment, the story was covered on the radio by local news. As the recording played over my car radio, I heard a combination of both words. Each time the sound bite played, I tried to hear either "Laurel" or "Yanni," but instead I heard, "Launie."

Again, tonal quality comes into play. I don't know how if the station's recording is an original, or if it has experience degradation due to copying. Certainly the ambient noise in my Jeep played a part in what I heard as well.

Of course, the Internet is now in full debate mode, because there can only be two options, right? The voice is either saying "Laurel" or it's saying "Yanny" and somebody has to be right.

Oh, please spare me from this nonsense.

First off, this whole idea that there can only be one correct answer is completely false. If that was the case, how can we explain the handful of people who can hear both words? If there is truly only one option, how can they perceive both?

The need to be right is based in ego. We're conditioned to believe that if someone else is right, and we are wrong, then our value must be in some way diminished. Total BS - get over yourselves.

Second, this debate is a great example of the Curse of Knowledge. If you hear Laurel, you cannot possibly understand how someone else could hear Yanny (and vice-versa). Yet, both responses are occurring, along with those people like me who hear a third option, and those who hear both words.

When you open up to the possibility of more than one option, you expand yourself and your world.

What we sense, whether it's through our eyes, ears, nose, or skin, is dependent on our bodies.

I wrote about this phenomena in Practical Manifesting as a description of how we perceive colors, such as yellow. The limitations of our eyes and how our brains interpret the incoming signals create what we perceive as "reality."

Here, the limitation of the physical body is located in the ears.

I like the way this article explains the science behind the debate.  Listen to the raw recording and then check out the four options of adjusted pitch to see if what you are hearing changes.

Makes me wonder, what else are we hearing differently every day?

And, more importantly, how are those mistaken perceptions unintentionally creating your reality?