In an interview, Ben says he’s teaching people how to find immunity idols. You do realize, Ben, that when you talk to the interviewers, you’re talking to the people who hide the immunity idols? Does Ben think immunity idols are like fruit or gold? That they’re just sitting out in the Fijian wilderness whether Survivor is going on or not? Then in another interview, Kim tells the interviewers that finding immunity idols is connected to prayer and intuition.
On the surface, this seems like very strange behavior, especially for Ben. Not only does Ben seem to have a deep confusion about what immunity idols are, but by revealing his knowledge to the hiders, he’s teaching them to hide idols better in the future.
What is going on here? I think the most likely possibility is that the cameras have become so commonplace for Ben that he has lost some of his awareness of them. Animals, including humans, need to filter the enormous flood of sensory data coming into their brains, because it would otherwise be overwhelming. There is a fascinating experiment that asked people to count the number of times that a basketball was passed in a video. During the video, a man in a gorilla suit walks right in front of the camera. After the video, the watchers are asked if anything unusual occurred in the video while they were watching it, and a high percentage said that nothing unusual had happened. Their brains had completely filtered out the gorilla because it had nothing to do with basketball passes.
This filtering is one of the reasons for philosophical inquiry. Philosophy generally deals with the foundations of ideas, knowledge, and issues. People sometimes ask why we need a whole field of study dedicated to critically investigating foundations. Shouldn’t we be able to deal with foundations as a matter of course? But filtering can often prevent awareness of our foundations. This is why a field of study dedicated to nothing but foundations can be crucial, because the lack of non-foundational factors hopefully means that filtering will be less likely.
Filtering could also explain why the hell Wendell was still chewing on a straw during a physically demanding immunity challenge. He’d been chewing it for so long that his brain was filtering out the risk of getting stabbed in the throat.