# Ignorance is truly bliss

Is this your theory? Because when I see a stick figure, I don't fill anything in. I see the stick figure for what it is; a stick figure.
Okay good. I thought I was the only one but didn't want to come across as suggesting I'm soooo special that I deviate from the norm. The stick figure is a stick figure. Actually, I looked at it and then looked at my keyboard to try and figure out how I could make one of them too. I didn't fill in anything about it, though.

Then what makes Asian eyes look different from Europeans? Are we just imagining there's a difference?
The difference in real people is minute geometrically speaking.

That's a caricature.
What is?
Are you saying that if an Asian person sees a cartoon character, they'll perceive that character as Asian and if a European sees it, they'll perceive it as European? What if a black person sees it? Will they ignore the skin color and see it as a black person?
Nope, because a black person again has clear characteristics, again, look at this:

Observe the skin tone and the hair.

Now observe this:

http://vnmedia.ign.com/vault.ign.com/images/rerolled/homer-simpson.gif [Broken]

Apparently this guy is a white adult male. But he's yellow? Also his hair lacks any detail whatsoever. He doesn't have any racial features at all.

Unrealistic skin colour and hair -> white male in the perception of most people.

To make it a black male, you need to add a realistic skin tone for that race in the perception of most people.

Featurelessness -> default what people subconsciously perceive as 'normal', in the west, that is usually the white adult male.

I mean, the big catch in Metroid was that Samus was actually female, people always assume it's male if you don't give any indication of gender.

Is this your theory? Because when I see a stick figure, I don't fill anything in. I see the stick figure for what it is; a stick figure.
No, not at all, it's actually a common thing in comic books too.

Look at xkcd, the males are plain stick figures, the females have added tertiary gender characteristics. I'm sure there are some people don't aren't as susceptible to it. But in general, that is how drawings work, it even has a term in the literature I linked, it's called 'tertiary gender characteristics', the behaviour that in cartoons, the males have no gender characteristics, and the females have extreme stereotypes. Mickey is just a mouse, Minnie however has eyelashes and a bow.

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The difference in real people is minute geometrically speaking.
True, there's not much of a difference, but there's a difference between an Asian eye and a European eye. If you showed me pictures of just eyes, most of the time, I could distinguish which ones are Asian (oriental) and which ones are not.
What is?
Small slanted eyes for Asians and huge eyes for Europeans. I could draw a quick caricature of an Asian person where their features are exaggerated and you could tell that it's an Asian person. If I wanted to make it realistic, it would take a little bit more time to draw it non-exaggerated, but for you to still be able to determine it's an Asian person. Like you said, the differences are geometrically not that different.
Nope, because a black person again has clear characteristics, again, look at this:
So the gist of what you're saying is that if there's a cartoon character that looks "normal", Europeans will say it's a European and Asians will say it's an Asian?
Apparently this guy is a white adult male. But he's yellow? Also his hair lacks any detail whatsoever. He doesn't have any racial features at all.

Unrealistic skin colour and hair -> white male in the perception of most people.

To make it a black male, you need to add a realistic skin tone for that race in the perception of most people.

Featurelessness -> default what people subconsciously perceive as 'normal', in the west, that is usually the white adult male.
I kind of see what you're saying. But why don't we perceive Homer as Asian, since his skin color is yellow? Is it because of the eyes? Do Asians perceive Homer as Asian?
I mean, the big catch in Metroid was that Samus was actually female, people always assume it's male if you don't give any indication of gender.
Did girls who played Metroid assume Samus was a female?
Look at xkcd, the males are plain stick figures, the females have added tertiary gender characteristics. I'm sure there are some people don't aren't as susceptible to it. But in general, that is how drawings work, it even has a term in the literature I linked, it's called 'tertiary gender characteristics', the behaviour that in cartoons, the males have no gender characteristics, and the females have extreme stereotypes. Mickey is just a mouse, Minnie however has eyelashes and a bow.
Are you saying we perceive the normal stick figures as men because we're men? Does that mean women perceive them as women, until the stick figure with boobs is introduced?

True, there's not much of a difference, but there's a difference between an Asian eye and a European eye. If you showed me pictures of just eyes, most of the time, I could distinguish which ones are Asian (oriental) and which ones are not.
Ah yes, but as we know, the human brain has two recognition centra, one for human faces, and one for all the other things, however it doesn't apply that easily to cartoons.

Small slanted eyes for Asians and huge eyes for Europeans. I could draw a quick caricature of an Asian person where their features are exaggerated and you could tell that it's an Asian person. If I wanted to make it realistic, it would take a little bit more time to draw it non-exaggerated, but for you to still be able to determine it's an Asian person. Like you said, the differences are geometrically not that different.
Ahh, but the point is that Asians that if we make it non exaggerated and not make it photorealistic but still in all effects a cartoon. Asians will perceive it as Asians and westerners as westerners is the idea.

So the gist of what you're saying is that if there's a cartoon character that looks "normal", Europeans will say it's a European and Asians will say it's an Asian?
Exactly.

I kind of see what you're saying. But why don't we perceive Homer as Asian, since his skin color is yellow? Is it because of the eyes? Do Asians perceive Homer as Asian?
Apparently not even skin colour is enough, it needs the eyes for us.

And yes, if Simpsons was dubbed in CJK, speaking, C, J, or K respectively, they would probably subconsciously perceive it as an Asian until told otherwise.

The same for the girl from Spirited Away speaking English, people here really don't realize she's Asian.

Did girls who played Metroid assume Samus was a female?

Are you saying we perceive the normal stick figures as men because we're men? Does that mean women perceive them as women, until the stick figure with boobs is introduced?
No, that's the interesting part, it's not about the ego, black people here also perceive it as white males adults.

Now, children do perceive it as children oftentimes, so it seems to be related to what's important in your culture. It's a man's world, and it's a white's culture. White males are simply the dominant group here, little to deny about it. So they become registered in the subconscious mind as the 'default', all other things are 'special' and 'not normal'. Giving out no clear cues to what it is, the mind perceives it as 'default', that is, a white male.

Cyanide & Happiness and The Doghouse Diaries are also interesting, for this, because they both only feature women, or other races than white, if it's essential to the clue of the comic. If not, and either could, it's always white males, or rather, featureless bald stick figure comics with a beige tone. For it to be female, one has to add stereotypically female hair.

I think the things with the eye is because unrealistic comes down to featureless for the mind, because the mind cannot place it into any thing. Unrealistic skin colour -> white.

You know, if you make a cartoon series and make every character in that purple, with strange unrealistic anatomy and one eye, aliens, it some times happens, people will subconsciously think of them as 'white males', and even at a lot of times introduce females and black males / females to them by giving them the appropriate stereotypes. Just think of it, it does happen a lot.

Bowser: http://vally8.free.fr/jeux/papermario/images/bowser.jpg

Girl bowser: http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b377/Vergil146/Bowser__s_motives_by_DistantJ.jpg

We must learn our limits. We are all something, but none of us are everything

We are all just chained in that cave staring at the images on the wall, waiting for something to break us free to see what's behind us. Some people are just content to keep staring at the wall.

By the way, about the original topic. It might not be just a human property, it might also be due to the fact that most institutions teach in the inverted order. I was just reading: http://docs.plt-scheme.org/guide/intro.html when I realized some-thing.

It's a comprehensive guide into the Scheme programming language (wonderful language if you don't know it by the way, it eats FORTRAN, but that aside), but as you read it, each new page basically tells you 'Okay, what we told you before actually wasn't completely true, it goes deeper than that.'

I mean, they start by saying you can define a function like (define (name argument) function-body), then they tell you that is actually a special syntactic sugar for (define name (lambda (argument) function-body)), and on and on and on...

As far as I know Scheme, the quintessential property of Scheme is that code = data. If (a . b) is an ordered pair and () a special constant, the last code is actually just some syntactic shorthand for:

Code:
(define . ([I][U]name[/U][/I] . (lambda . (([I][U]argument[/U][/I] . () ) . ([I][U]function-body[/U][/I] . ())))))
Which is how Scheme works, the implementation basically re-aranges and transforms such data which is provided in some ad hoc form to simulate functional programming, but in reality, it's just a datastructure translator, and in such a datastructure we can basically encode a function.

If they started from the bottom up explaining all things correctly, there wouldn't be a 'the more you learn, the less you know' feeling each time you realize that things are more complex than you thought. There would be a 'the more you learn, the more you know' feeling, you don't find out that things are a little more complex than you first thought, because that never happens. Same thing with all things, they first teach you calculus before you even know what a function is. They first teach that to say 'He has ...' in Finnish is 'Sillä on ...' and later on you see it actually means 'On that/it/her/him is ...'

I had some debates about this, they called me insane on #scheme for thinking that learning it bottom-up instead of top-down is a superior method to understand the language. I learnt German top-down, all kinds of phrases I learnt before understand the systematics behind it. I learn Old English bottom-up, I first learnt the phonology, then the grammar together with all linguistic data on the pattern behind the umlauts (which also greatly expanded my knowledge of German) and even though I had about three times as much time for German, and the latter way had a learning curve, I'm probably the only Dutch person on the planet who has less troubles reading Old English than German nowadays.

Especially in programming languages, understanding just exactly what happens before using it of course is essential to security.