Landmark Education and the Landmark Forum

June 3, 2008

Necker Cubes and Choice

Filed under: inspiration — Tags: , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 6:54 pm

I recently attended a Landmark Education event that used the example of a Necker cube to make a point. A necker cube is a geometric drawing of a cube or cubes that appears to protrude upwards or descend downwards depending on how the eye perceives it. The most common example of the Necker cube, and the one used in the Landmark Education event, shows just one cube, with the frame of looking at cube as being seen from the front or being seen from above both being valid interpretations of the cube depending upon how the eye focuses on it.

Besides being a neat little optical illusion gimmick, the Necker cube has been used a demonstration against the notion of naive realism, or the idea that reality is exactly as it appears. To me, it demonstrates how many times in life, you are looking at a situation and there is more than one perfectly valid interpretation for what you see happening.

The event looked at the idea of happiness, so I can use that as an example, but I think it could be applied to anything in life. Something happens, and I could decide that the events mean X, and therefore I should be happy. Or I could decide that the events mean Y, and therefore I should be unhappy. Perhaps the more useful question is not, is X or Y true, but do I want to be happy or unhappy? Or, even if Y is true, why not be happy anyway? I started to see happiness as something of a choice, and not as a decision made based upon my assessment of what is true in the world at that moment. I’m not quite sure if this makes sense, and I’m not sure if it was the point of the demonstration at the event, but that’s what I got!

To check out a Necker cube and see what I’m talking about, try this demonstration.


Create a free website or blog at