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Since the beginning of time, man and all other types of life have used camouflage. It can be used offensively or defensively. Camouflage can be used either to hide from an enemy or by predators who wish to remain unseen before they attack.
Camouflage is a way of blending in with the surrounding terrain to remain unseen. Many animals can mimic the features of their surroundings by changing the color of their skin. By doing so, they can remain unseen by a predator, or they can attack an unwary victim that is close by. Camouflage is a way of hiding in plain sight.
Camouflage plays a crucial role in military maneuvers. Colors worn by the military mimic their surroundings. If soldiers are on duty in jungle terrain, they wear dark, green colors to help them blend into the surroundings. They also paint their faces brown and green to mimic the foliage and dirt.
If soldiers are in a desert surrounding, they wear tan. In snow covered terrain, they wear all white. The main goal is to stay hidden from the sight of the enemy. The camouflage used in the military is often a disruptive pattern, because it is easier to spot straight lines. The brain connects mottled patterns with the surrounding trees and bushes.
The brain’s perception is a very important factor in military camouflage. The brain categorizes things as separate objects. When someone is looking at a countryside scene, there is an enormous amount of information to take in. It is rather like the old saying, "you can’t see the wood for the trees." People use their senses, mostly the eyes, to break the scene down into different parts.
If your eyes see a group of trees, the brain perceives it as a forest. A quick scan will not show anything untoward. The visual information the brain perceives is rather like looking at a magic eye picture. It is only with some distinct movement that the illusion of camouflage can be broken. Once you have seen the camouflaged person, he or she will stand out, and by then, it may be too late.
Camouflage is used in all walks of life. The clothes people wear every day can be said to be a type of camouflage. People try to blend in, wearing dark colors so as not to attract attention. Notice how the most flamboyant dressers often seem to draw attention to themselves in other ways as well.
Some women wear makeup as a type of camouflage. It can be a way of hiding behind a mask, not letting the real person show through. Is a man wearing a wig to enhance his appearance or to camouflage his bald head? The art of camouflage can be used either to hide or to be predatory. It all depends on who is using it.