After riding our motorcycles through canyons and up and down mountains, I've had friends ask me if I saw that squirrel run out in front of me during a turn, or that deer grazing by the side of the road.
And often I'll shake my head, "no".
"I was too busy watching the road", I might answer.
The eyes, of course, don't actually see. They simply capture the light. It's the brain that assembles the information into an image.
It turns out, the light passes through a curtain of blood vessels across our retinas. But we never see the blood vessels because our brain has learned to filter out redundant information. Our ears also pick up the sound of our heartbeats and the rush of blood in our bodies, but our brains filter that out too. Ever wonder why you eventually get used to a bad odor in the room? It's because the brain filters that out also.
So the question is, what more are our brains filtering out?
The "reality tunnel" is the removed layers of reality necessary to our survival. It's what helps us recognize that lion crouching in the grasses. But in a civilized society, what we perceive as dangerous varies from person to person.
It's why there are still white people who are afraid of black people. It's why we call someone an "idiot" for not seeing obvious dangers. One person suffering from PTSD will panic over something that his friends can't understand.
Filtering is a defense mechanism. The more comfortable you are with your surroundings, the harder your brain tries to find something dangerous. One person talks at a quiet volume because his brain is filtering a lot of ambient noise. Another person speaks at a higher volume because his brain isn't.
The "reality tunnel", as it was coined by Timothy Leary, is the world each of us perceives. Our life's experiences shapes what we perceive as dangerous or insignificant, and our brains filter out layers of reality from there. Introverts might filter more reality, becoming too oblivious to their surroundings. Extroverts might filter less reality, becoming too obsessed with their surroundings.
Maybe why I didn't see that squirrel run out in front of me while I was leaning into the curve is because my brain has learned to filter out objects that would put me into panic during critical moments. Maybe the reason why other riders go slower into curves is because they're perceiving dangers that I'm not perceiving.
Some would call me a lunatic for riding the way I do, but I like to think of it as being evolved.
Which make better motorcycle riders, introverts or extroverts?
Is it correct to assume that one who lives the longest and happiest life, filtered out reality effectively?