The Oxfraud Pareidolia Test.

Complete all sections at least once.

Can you see the face of Jesus on this slice of toast?
Are these canals on Mars?
You can see the canals? Can you see what must have been there: an ancient, glorious, and doomed civilization, the Venice of the galaxy? Of course you can. And write a history of it, truer than NASA’s. Has fantasy become hypothesis? Hypothesis turned proof? Well done! You may now self-publish.
Can you read this unpleasant and ungifted Earl’s life story . . .
. . . in this book? You can? Congratulations. You have pareidolia, a form of apophenia. You perceive meaningful patterns or connections in random data.
Look, there's the man in the moon! No harm in spotting him: the faculty of seeing patterns is hardwired in the human brain. And a fine thing too. It is the foundation of the sciences, both good: Hey, apples fall earthward! Every time! When I get into my bath, it overflows! And bad: Of course the bloody sun goes round the earth! Can’t you see? The difference lies in testing. And the problem is unquestioning belief in these illusions.
Pattern-making underlies all arts and fantasies. It makes poetry of deadheads: All rights reserved by Critical Todd
“Sometimes we see a cloud that’s dragonish,” as Shakespeare said. Such visions “mock our eyes with air.” He felt the wonder; but he mocked the sophistry: “There is a river in Macedon; and there is also moreover a river at Monmouth ... ’tis all one, ’tis alike as my fingers is to my fingers, and there is salmons in both.”
Oxfordians are mad about this sort of thing. (Did you know that Oxford had three daughters? He was Lear. And was captured by pirates? Hamlet.) Like pre-Copernican astronomers, they will go to endless trouble— ever-wilder epicycles—to preserve their Oxcentric universe:
But true Shakespearians will test and question what they think they see. With newer evidence, they will revise. Like other scientists and scholars, their work is not to champion what must have been, but to seek what is.
Exit Pareidolatry, pursued by a bear:


Here at Oxfraud University, we defer to nobody in the physical and mental care of those in our charge. All students on the Authorship Question course must therefore take the following test before the commencement of Vavasour Term, no later than 20th September.

Under the Oxfraud University Honour Code, you are allowed to speak your answer into your computer. Respond in a loud clear voice (we'll hear) and then click "next" for the next frame.

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Comments (1)

  • anon

    Surely it should be 'Exit pursued by a Pare?' Oxcentricity - nice concept. I've added it to the site dictionary. Note how once you can see the Bear, or the face of Jesus, you can't 'unsee' it and look at the random pattern any more. We've all engaged with Oxfordians suffering from that problem.

    Jul 11, 2013