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Seeking the unknown unknowns behind veils is different from seeing through camouflage. Veils to the perception of reality can be naturally occurring, whereas camouflage is making things difficult to discover based on evolution of living forms by modification of DNA, or camouflage as done by humans as in covering of objects they do not want to be discovered by competitors, and recently as a gaudy fashion statement. A veil is a single obscuring surface layer which when it becomes difficult to penetrate is named a wall, and when particulate and diffuse is called fog. These different words emphasize different things about the obscuring factors, and these posts are a process of pulling apart these qualities. Camouflage is a more inclusive term as it includes human motivations and it can be more multidimensional in its obscuring and combine anything and everything.

Unknown objects may be close behind a veil or wall or distant from it, but things hidden in a fog can not be close or they are easily perceived. This post will build upon the observations posted in Seeking steps from the known knowns to the unknown unknowns. It will be modifying the sub-definitions from emphasizing crypsis, the DNA-driven selected ability of an organism to avoid detection or sustained observation by other organisms, to a veil, an opaque, sometimes tough single surface which impedes observation. Adding the dimension tough would seem to enhance a term like skin, which is tough and flexible, or shell which is tough and inflexible. I welcome these new aspects of the subject, because in exploring each of these aspects there may appear qualities of one which may not have formerly been applied to some other aspect of camouflage in its more general aspects, and that is what we are searching for. When we can perceive the obscuring factors clearly it will be easier to cope with them.


Crypsis – is a DNA-driven selected ability of an organism to avoid detection or sustained observation by other organisms.

A general list of crypsis #1:

  1. Nocturnality – using low light to become obscure
  2. Subterranean – living below ground avoids surface depredation
  3. Stillness – not moving lessens visibility
  4. Transparency – allowing light to pass through body
  5. Counter-shading – illuminated side made darker, shaded areas lighter
  6. Counter-shadowing – flattening to have edges blended into a surface
  7. Patchiness – breaking up larger silhouette outlines
  8. Patterning – making colors and shapes mimic background
  9. Mimicry – looking and acting like the background environment
  10. Flocking – creating confusion for predators by many random actions
  11. Herding – healthy members hiding behind slower moving sick ones
  12. Distance – getting far away from a predator’s habitat, migration
  13. Dead – appearing dead is unappetizing to some predators
  14. Deimatic – sudden faking behaviors and displays simulating threat

A subset of crypsis –
Veil – an opaque, tough single surface which impedes observation.

The veil subset of crypsis #1 is:

  1. Nocturnality – using low light to become obscure helps the veil be more obscure.
  2. Subterranean – living below ground avoids surface depredation. In this case the veil is the thick soil which covers the hidden object.
  3. Stillness – not moving lessens visibility. Things behind the veil are invisible and not aided by stillness directly, but they can be revealed by touching and moving the veil, perhaps with a natural gust of wind.
  4. Transparency – allowing light to pass through the body. If the object is behind the veil transparency wouldn’t change existing invisibility, but might help reveal or hide the object when the veil is penetrated.
  5. Counter-shading – illuminated side made darker, shaded areas lighter. Not much help if the veil is functioning as a surface, but is helpful if applied to solid objects. It becomes counter productive if the lighting direction is changed or made strong enough that a reflection is made off the object.
  6. Counter-shadowing – flattening to have edges blended into a surface. Counter-shadowing might be built into the visible side veils design. Flattening to a surface will work in any lighting situation.
  7. Patchiness – breaking up larger silhouette outlines. The veil is itself an obscuring agent and the patterning on the veil hides the veil itself.
  8. Patterning – making colors and shapes mimic background. This goes on the veil, and can be styled to the moment with its background, from a viewpoint.
  9. Mimicry – looking and acting like the background environment. The veil is intended to conceal the background, thus the mimicry would be of the background, but it includes behavior components like texture, shape and movement. Movement of physical mimicry might be seen though a semitransparent veil.
  10. Flocking – creating confusion for predators by many random actions. The members behind would be veiled by the confusing random actions of those near nearer the observer. Flocking is seen as an area chaos.
  11. Herding – healthy members hiding behind slower moving sick ones. Or the opposite, the hiding of any members behind the others. Predators watch for the most easily caught, which is generally the unobservant or weakest. Herding is seen as an edge of chaos.
  12. Distance – getting far away from a predator’s habitat, migration. Distance is a type of veil.
  13. Splitting – when flock is pursued, split into two, with the free individuals going directly away but back toward the other retreating flock members. Each time this happens the pursued prey becomes less to the point that a final chase is one on one and a capture isn’t worth the effort. With a team of aggressors this strategy might be defeated by surrounding the prey.
  14. Time – being elsewhere at critical times. “Absence of body is superior to presence of mind.” This behavior may require foresight, or learned experience.
  15. Dead – appearing dead is unappetizing to some predators. Being out of sight behind a veil can be compromised by other dimensions like smell, or response to movements.
  16. Deimatic – sudden faking behaviors and displays simulating threat; can be effective if an effective retreat can be quickly made, or distracting forces or distant distractions can be brought into play.

The goal of making nearly identical lists of various ways of creating camouflage, such as veils and fogs, is that some methods might be found that fit one category but not another. However, if something works in one dimension there is a chance that with modification it will work in another. The techniques discovered for penetrating a wall might be applicable to penetrating a veil, or fog, or time, or distance, or noise or layers of conversation.