“If we wrap an object in some kind of envelope, so that the eyes infer rather than see the object that is enclosed, the inferred or imagined form is likely to be more perfect than it would appear if it were uncovered. Thus a square box covered with brown paper will be imagined as a perfect square. Unless the mind is given some very strong clue it is unlikely to visalize holes, dents, cracks, or other accidental qualities. In the same way, if we casst a drapery over a thigh, a leg, an arm or a breast, the imagination supposes a perfectly formed member; it does not and usually cannot envisage the irregularities and the imperfections which experience should lead us to expect.

…We know what [a body] is probably like from experience, and yet we are willing to suspend our disbelief in favour of the fictions of [the person’s] wardrobe. Indeed I think that we are ready to go further in the way of self-deception. When we slip on our best jacket and see our deplorably unimpressive shoulders artfully magnified and idealised we do, for a moment, rise in our own esteem.”

That’s the art historian Quentin Bell quoted in the section on geon theory in Steven Pinker’s How the Mind Works.

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