The picture shows a pipe. Below it, Magritte painted, "Ceci n'est pas une pipe"..., French for "This is not a pipe." The painting is not a pipe, but rather an image of a pipe, which was Magritte's point:
The famous pipe. How people reproached me for it! And yet, could you stuff my pipe? No, it's just a representation, is it not? So if I had written on my picture "This is a pipe," I'd have been lying! [c 1]
To say "This is a pipe" concisely is a shorthand or to say "This is an image of a pipe" precisely. Preciseness and conciseness always counter-balance in language and perhaps in thought and action in general, say, as per Zipf's (1949)principle of least effort. Regardless of any caption, on the other hand, the image of a dragon for example may make believe that a dragon is a real existence. Such would be idols. Such may be the general pitfall of any symbolism as well as the magic of images and words shaping or changing the mind. Maybe underlying is lying! What if the dragon is no more than an image of surrealistic imagination, say, from the scientific perspective? Is it not that lying is underlying such images as on the right? What about the story or history of St. George who allegedly pierced the dragon with the spear? From the commons: Category:Saint George and the Dragon and the like, guess how expandedly such images are reproduced and used for brainwashing. Perhaps the surrealist artist Magritte may well know how easy it is to use images and words in lying or brainwashing. They may be not only uncertain but also unreal and untrue. That is, the artifact is not referring of itself, but related by the cognitive or "knowing subject," to the fact. The vital question of truism doubted (hence famously dotted) between the artifact and the fact may have been (perhaps first and best) shown by Ogden & Richards (1923), by virtue of the w: triangle of reference on the right bottom, as parodied 6 decades later by an English philosopher Simon Blackburn (1984) without reference to such a definite precursor or predecessor he must know. What made him shy away at all? What an academic shame or infame anyway! Academia may be an ivory tower no more but just a center for hacking and parody at will -- perhaps a sign of ugly ending of capitalism! Perhaps a way of survival may be to "acknowledge intellectual debts" frankly.
The shade of the bar looks invariant in isolation but variant in context, in (favor of) sharp contrast with the color gradient background, hence an innateillusion we have to reasonably interpret and overcome as well as the mirage. Such variance appearing seasonably from context to context may not only be the case with our vision but worldview in general in practice indeed, whether a priori or a posteriori. Perhaps no worldview from nowhere, without any point of view or prejudice at all!
Ogden & Richards (1923) said, "All experience ... is either enjoyed or interpreted ... or both, and very little of it escapes some degree of interpretation."
H. G. Wells (1938) said, "The human individual is born now to live in a society for which his fundamental instincts are altogether inadequate."