FUN with YOUR EYEBALLS
Selections from the forum thread...
You’ve likely seen the photo shown below of the USA’s radiant power as seen from space.
It is an emotionally stirring picture of our technical prowess and economic strength. It’s also a fairly accurate post-election map of Obama voters. Actually, it is a target acquisition photo for the WAR ON LIGHT BULBS.
It’s one of those strange ironies of technology. The common ashtray was first conceived as a fire extinguisher. And now, the very symbol of A GOOD IDEA has become Public Enemy #1. Your grandchildren will have statically-excited glowing nano-fibers appear over their heads instead of the old buxom E27. That’s sad when you consider our long history with light.
More EYEBALLS have had more FUN with bulbs than with fire itself. After sunset, a culture’s nightlife depends on its ability to illuminate itself. When electric light came along, urban folk were still mostly living by firelight in the form of gas lamps. Films depicting the Victorian era always show a fireplace flanked by two wall mounted and upturned globes of glass that glowed with a gas-fed flame. This kept the EYEBALL FUN going until everyone passed out from the fumes.
In established buildings, these built in fixtures were converted to electric bulbs. Wires replaced the gas feeds. The bulb sat in the already familiar glass bowl that light was expected to come from. There was no flicker, no smell, no passing out and you could see colors that gaslight didn’t show. Ambitious, upwardly-mobile types loved the new light because it made them look more blue.
I was wondering how long it took before someone got the clever idea of turning the now no longer gas-venting glass bowl upside down and inventing the reading light. It changed everything. Here was your own little piece of fire right over your shoulder. And, it was a lot harder to set fire to other things nearby with it. Personal lighting was a lot harder to justify unless you were the one paying the bill. Otherwise, don’t bogart the light.
We would be frightened by the electrical wiring installed on existing buildings in the early days of electric light. Exposed, lethal current was tacked onto the clapboards often within the reach of children. Safety was for the wealthy. So was insulation. This led to the swift if charred urban renewal of the post-depression era.
This was point in human history where a generation comes along that asks itself a question that no generation has ever asked before. In this case, how bright should something be?
It’s a question that Nature had always answered for us. Even with a campfire or a gas light, the question of the limit of brightness was always when it got too scary. Nobody fussed about the color either. It was what it was. Burn this, and this color comes out… take it or leave it. But now, all is warfare on the subject of illumination. You, the public, are in the dark about your role in the combat.
For decades, the standard unit of electrical illumination was the one hundred watt light bulb. (The first low powered bulbs were called “dark lampshades”) Any space from living room to cedar closet had an equal illumination value of one. One bulb at the center of the ceiling would radiate outward in all directions. Turning on the bathroom light from a darkened hallway was like opening a gateway to the afterlife.
At first, utilities were so uncertain about the grip that electric light already had on our lives that they gave away the light bulbs. You could trade in dead ones like an empty pop bottle. Eventually, electro-patrons were encouraged to trade in for the new forty and sixty watt bulbs with the explanation that it reduced air pollution. Everyone felt better about that.. but folks complained about having to stock different kinds of bulbs at home. There simply isn’t that much space in the back corner of the bottom kitchen cabinet. The real bulb break-through came with Christmas tree lights.
The next electro-generation was bulb-ready thanks to everyone’s favorite new light bulb, the television set. Here was light that did all the seeing for you. Now we were ready for pink bulbs and cool blue and bug lights that took up whole aisles at the hardware store. By then, there were no bulbs lighting the stores anymore. The blue-blazing fluorescent tube was the cost effective way to light all big spaces.
Unless you had a bathroom mirror with a built-in fluorescent fixture that gave you an electro-rassberry when you pulled the string, tubes were not found much in homes. They were ghastly to look at and so was everything they shined on. Tubes were assigned to the work bench and fishtank.
Now, solid-state lighting will supplant tubes and bulbs just like the transistor replaced the radio tube. That means Light-Emitting-Diodes. The new ones can quickly blind you or burn your fingers. I have some on my desk.
No generation has been more aware of brightness and color than us… and not just when those high-kelvin blue headlights are coming the other way. The frontier of illumination is at the grocery store. You may have noticed how the tubes between the fridge doors have been replaced with funny looking LED fixtures. There are lots of different ones. You may have seen one of mine or, more likely, its cheap Chinese knock-off. Sometimes the frozen fish aisle looks like Van Gogh’s Starry Night or the glossy boxes are impossible to read through the little beads of glare.
My job started with making the center of the cooler door just as bright as the sides nearer the fixture. Tubes can’t do that. Great idea, right? Tis but one example of the many possibilities for all kinds of great ideas about illumination. In fact, we face a great idea deficit and governments will subsidize LED lighting upgrades because of their energy-saving and cost-cutting benefits. Plus, they work fine in the cold and need not be left on all night like a navigational beacon. Sounds great, right?
All these possibilities means choices will be and must be made. Right now, all the pieces are in place and all the momentum is propelling us in a direction where we can be assured of one thing: These choices will be made by idiots.
Congress has determined that more blinding headlights are safer. Rape statistics were used in determining the minimum light level allowed at a gas station. There’s plenty of gas in the current advertising and spec’ing of light in general. Illumination is exposure to liabilty. Light color and Kelvin values are sold to a public that barely understands the RGB nature of their EYEBALLS. And now, the panic-stricken cost-cutters are driving the process. Brighter and fewer LED’s will be pin-pricking our stores in effort to be simply the brightest thing in your field of view.
For a while, we all talked about how a coordinated theatrical scaling of more localized illumination (one of the new possibilities) would allow us to turn the whole thing down a notch or two. Forget it. All I hear is the endless marching of more foot-candles.
Imagine entering your grocery store and being issued a helmet with a blazing battery-powered LED headlight to navigate the pitch-black store.
It’s a dark if brightly-lit future. The scariest is yet to come. Shelves that tell the internet when a product is picked up and can change their price tag while you’re reaching for it. Soon, flexible nano-fiber wrappers will illuminate themselves and I’ll be out of a job. I’ll bet they’ll yak at us, too. All beer bottles will come with the first season of Two and a Half Men in their labels. Animated females will entice us to mate with their products. Pick up a hair goo bottle and it will show you what you would look like if you used it. Just point the micro-camera on it the right way.
That’s just the tip of what’s left of the iceberg. What are poor OUR EYEBALLS to do?
It starts with pointing them into the EYEBALLS of the store manager, the congressman, the lawyers and the cost-cutters and saying, “I’m as mad as hell and I don’t want to look at this anymore!” That’s the one thing they don’t want to see.
The picture is showing areas of dense street lighting bouncing nearly straight up off our streets and parking lots. Flying over a big city at night gives a view of a nearly monochromatic glow of whatever is used in town as street lighting. Soon, the energy in your car will energize the self-illuminating road for the driver behind you.
In Part One of What is Perception? What? I Said, What is Perception?, we will look at other people’s perception because, as you know, it’s looking at us. It is our most obsessive behavior pattern of all. When you look at someone, what’s the first thing you look at? You look to see what they are looking at. Where their EYEBALLS are aimed. It might be you.
It’s safe to look at other people in the mall when their EYEBALLS are safely pointed some other way. Luckily, you inherited sharp visual skills including the ability to detect even a two-degree turn of the neck that might indicate their EYEBALLS are turning your way. In a blink you’re reading the Victoria’s Secret sales poster in the window behind them. At least, that’s what their EYEBALLS will see your EYEBALLS doing should they swing your way. Whew. That was close.
It’s like two different experiences… looking at things, and EYE CONTACT. Here’s looking at you, kid.
An exchange of EYE CONTACT has a level of permission, like a log-in. Okay, now we are looking at each other… what happens next? It creates an obligation. It’s somebody’s move.
It’s like touching someone only with YOUR EYEBALLS. In polite company, if someone touches you, the way to call attention to it is to look at where they are touching you. Then, make EYE CONTACT. It’s like touching back. But today’s subject is being looked at is being looked at.
We’ve all caught a passing glimpse of ourselves on a security monitor at the store. Usually, the resolution is low and it is difficult to make out any details of the eyes or mouth. Usually, we look away and deny we ever saw it because it’s weird and uncomfortably un-self-like. It’s the same denial we make everyday shortly after we wake up. When a groggy Mr. Now regains complete dominance over Mr. Hippo.
Any companion we bring along looks perfectly normal on the monitor. Anyone manning the gun turret and following you from camera to camera would see only poor forlorn Mr. Hippo carrying around some kind of pesky self in his head. Mr. Now does not appear on the security tape. No EYE CONTACT. And, there won’t be any unless you’re sure where the gun turret is. Or at least, its EYEBALL.
There are two trioon analogies here. With no EYE CONTACT, all an observer sees is Mr. Hippo. He is mostly bundled in a costume but some expression escapes in the form a shuffle, a posture, a manner of movement or an afluvia. The other analogy is in the gun turret. Just like Post-Cinema Perception, Mr. Flashlight sits in the Libet Chair in front of a nyeep pool surface made up of a Cinema View of multiple vid screens. We are a strange, multi-EYEBALLED creature in this analogy. Mr. Flashlight follows a sequence of views that follows you around the store. That creates a narrative or special sequence that would not be perceived unless Post-Cinema Perception created it.
All those views may be recorded or maybe, for an economy of perception, just the narrative of views selected by Mr. Flashlight the Turret Operator. Or, if there is no operator to man the Libet Chair, a pre-poisoned… sorry, pre-programmed sequence or auto-narration can be be engaged to create a zig-zagging visual story that may or may not spot the perps in action. So, any system of pre-determined beliefs or expectations are analogous to an eighty dollar video switcher from Shadio Rack. Even them multi-view recordings have a chunk limit of four perceptions.
Imagine you’ve been tied to chair with YOUR EYELIDS clamped open and forced to watch every from-a-distance surveliance video of you ever made by anybody. Every parking lot, every store, police dash, public camera and your own 24/7 web cam in an endless musical escapade (to Beethoven) of Mr. Hippo tirelessly dragging you around. Plus, all your friends, neighbors, relatives, co-workers and former lovers are watching with you from behind an EYE CONTACT-protecting one-way mirror. No one can hear you scream.
Some may find this uncomfortable. Mr. Now gets to see just how little actual presence he has on earth. The actual appearance of Mr. Hippo may be at variance with Mr. Now’s perception of self. Perhaps a lot. Others experience no discomfort aside from the clamps because their Hippo and Now have a more common perception of self. One corallary to this is how much time and effort it takes to turn yourself into you in the morning.
No such discomfort results from watching video of a familiar person. You’ve been seeing the same view all along and your sense of their self (as a distant physicality on tape anyway) may be more anchored in their Mr. Hippo than their own sense of self. That makes it logical to assume that other people see a more physical-based you than you see yourself yourself. And, they see it slightly before you do.
Mr. Hippo’s perceptual frame rate and actions are the fastest running processes we have. Other’s see the results near instantly. Mr. Now has no idea what happened until the cinema view finishes brewing a short instant later. Evidence of Mr. Hippo’s unfolding life is a perception to Mr. Now, who perceives Hippo having the sensation of emotions and gut reactions or tummy grumbles.
Our mental perception of our physical life is like a surveillance video that often goes unobserved or unconsumed. Like all those tapes nobody ever watched. They were tailored for EYEBALL consumption. They are fully coalesced cinema views that are as easy to digest as reconstituted chicken. The link between surveillance videos and our minds goes way back into our evolutionary history. That may be why it can make some uncomfortable.
Our cinema perception dominates our personal experience. Mr. Now luxuriates in the nyeep pool foolishly convinced that our face and hands are all anybody else ever perceives. Mr. Now dominates Mr. Hippo as the self there is a sense of self of. But that’s now. Mr. Now would rather forget the past, but Hippo can’t. In an emergency or panic inducing situation, the old roles must be instantly resumed. Our “minds” were once Mr. Hippo’s surveillance outposts and Mr. Now started out life as a lowly, overworked and under-payed no-time-off security guard and dutifully served our physicality for millions of generations.
Somewhere along the way, the tables were turned. Cinema perception, like tables turning, came to dominate physicality and mere physical perception. The gun turret became a home theater. Mr. Now became a couch potato more concerned with how life impacts our perception than our physicality.
How are you feeling? Is Mr. Hippo sated and numb enough to let you look at reality like a giant cable channel? A belly full of turkey and a couch aimed at a bunch of brightly-colered ants on a giant vid screen? Take a moment to give Thanks to Mr. Hippo and pour him another whatever.
Back again with… What is perception, harpoon? What? I said, What is perception, Part Two.
What was the first fact our distant ancestors ever learned?
If you see two EYEBALLS of equal size, they’re looking at you, kid. This was very important. It means you are being seen. Someone might be thinking about dinner or sex right now and you might not be in the mood for either. Someone has recognized your shape or markings as desirable and now they’re asking the next question: Are you… looking at me? If not, they may wait for a moment of maximum advantage. If yes, then now is the time to make their move. Unless they notice that someone else is looking at them. Either way, someone is going to run for cover. From EYE CONTACT.
Consider how far back into our evolutionary history we can see critters with EYEBALLS. And, how much brain development there must have been that emphasized recognizing being seen as much as seeing. Vision had a plainly visible impact on the animal world. It leveled the battlefield. There was already contact in the form of scent or pheromones and lures or toxins and periphrial pressures and heat differentials and dental penatrations. That was all contact sports. Vision was a frictionless non-contact public medium free to anyone with the proper equipment as long as there was any kind of photon source. Visual skill always paid off in genetic selection and today, if you could see all the EYEBALLS in the whole world in one big pile, it would be terrifying. More so if they were all pointed at you.
In the illustration of a zero-g field of EYEBALLS below, there are only two that are of equal size and in a traditional spacing.
See if you can count out how many micro-seconds it takes you to find them. Ready… set… nevermind, you’ve spotted them already.
Christmas shopping is an excellent opportunity to explore and consider the ancient arena of EYE CONTACT. Like, when it’s okay and when it’s not. Or, how people react to EYE CONTACT in a manner similar to touch. Or, how nobody wants to display their attention unless it has a socially acceptable place to go… or aim. Except for pre-narrative children and psychos.
Next time, more EYEBALL FUN in the form of simple EYE CONTACT experiments you can try at the mall, the office party or your in-laws church.
Honk if you’re perceptive… part four.
Science teaches us to look at things courageously. Why? What is there to be afraid of?
Who is afraid of being hurt by learning and discovery? As usual, it’s YOUR EYEBALLS.
I didn’t say who’s learning and discovery. If some is looking courageously at you, and you spot them looking, and they are still looking at you courageously, you are unlikely to praise them for their courage.
Try this experiement in your own backyard (if it isn’t filled with snow). Sit in your comfy backyard chair in the comfy spot and face your best backyard panorama. Soak in the view for a moment or two. Tune out any maintenance issues. Ask yourself, how do MY EYEBALLS feel? If you like the view, then they likely feel pretty good.
Next, ask someone you know to stand halfway out in the yard, face the chair, and stare at you. Again, soak in the view for a moment. Does it feel different? Call the police and ask for a squad car full of officers. Spread them evenly around the yard and resume the experiment. It should feel more different. Flag down a passing bus and conscript as many extras as will comfortably fill your yard. This time, while you stand off to the side, ask them all to stare at the empty chair. Take note of your feelings. Slowly approach and slide into the chair. If you notice a change in feeling, was it sudden or gradual? Ask everyone to close THEIR EYELIDS for a moment and instruct them that, when they reopen them, they are to stare at the chair only and imagine as hard as they can that it is empty. Take an extra moment with this step and look very carefully. Can you see any difference or feel any difference?
Now tell everyone to clear out of your yard and repeat step one. Review your notes and rate each step for comfiness. Try to quantify the feeling of not being seen. Is freedom one the adjectives? And not because you’re free to print fake money or eat kittens, but because there is a feeling to being unseen. It is like being invisible. If no one can see where you are, than you don’t have to either. You’re free to contemplate and visualize and lose track of time and place in a way that is much harder with a yard full of staring EYEBALLS trying to make CONTACT. Once made, a suitable adjective is captured.
The experience of EYE CONTACT goes deep into our ancestral past. In the course of visual development, learning to recognize what other EYEBALLS are looking at is nearly as important as knowing what OUR EYEBALLS are looking at.
No one is suggesting that EYE CONTACT involves EYEBALLS actually touching each other. Even YOUR EYEBALLS don’t get to touch each other. Just try it. There is no physical contact involved at all. It is simply a case of photons bouncing off someone else’s EYEBALLS before landing in yours. It may seem like others react to your experience of looking at them but they are simply seeing photons bounce off your face. It’s all about pattern recognition and not some power that shoots out from YOUR EYEBALLS.
Try this experiement… Find a friendly volunteer to sit with you and serve as an EYE CONTACT meter. Their job will be to say “beep” when you make EYE CONTACT. Start by looking close to their EYEBALLS. Try the EYEBROWS or the lashes first. No beep? Chances are, you’ll need to look straight at the pupils and irises to get a reading. They will already be looking straight at yours, judging if you are making EYE CONTACT. After a few positive readings give you a bead on where to look, turn off the lights and try to make EYE CONTACT. Even if aimed in the right direction, the meter cannot verify it. Turns the lights back on try once more with dark eyeshades on. Shades on the meter should have no effect but on you, the shades should cause the meter to beep merely by the correct alignment of your face even if YOUR EYEBALLS are pitch far to the left or right.
EYE CONTACT is not one on one, it’s two on two. That’s easy to overlook. Have both you and the meter cover one EYEBALL. This should have little impact on the test. It should be just as easy to get a beep reading with any combination of left and right EYEBALLS. So, four EYEBALLS is not necessary. At least, not for a beep reading.
The meter is now set up for a new trick… a beep for left EYE CONTACT and a honk for right EYE CONTACT. Look at the meter’s left EYEBALL. Listen for a confirming beep. Do not look at the meter’s right EYEBALL. Keep looking at the meter’s left EYEBALL. See if you can trigger an alarm in the meter called “the creeps”.
When you make routine EYE CONTACT, are you aware of making it with two EYEBALLS? Even if you are looking for two EYEBALLS? Assuming two EYEBALLS are available, why is that prefered?
Next, try looking at both of the meter’s EYEBALLS serially or sequentially as in one at a time. Slowly at first, then faster and faster… beep… honk… beep… honk… beep, honk, beep, honkbeephonkbeephonk, and so on. Do this as fast and for as long as you can or until the creeps are triggered again. If this doesn’t feel like EYE CONTACT, it could be because the first meter test involved parallel EYE CONTACT.
Most of us prefer parallel EYE CONTACT and get the creeps when someone else’s EYEBALLS are treating yours separately and do the sequential beep-honk-beep-honk thing at us. After all, EYE CONTACT isn’t about looking at each others’ EYEBALLS. It’s about looking at the observer of OUR EYEBALLS.
Imagine two simple three-letter words spaced apart about equal to your meter’s EYEBALLS. Imagine where you would have to look to see both words simultaneously. Your sight sight would be aimed at the space between them. That’s not hard to do if the words are easy to recognize. If the two words get too complicated in spelling or are obscure, they can’t be recognized simultaneously.
We prefer mutual recognition for OUR EYEBALLS even if that means not actually looking straight at them. We prefer that others look at us and not our round parts.
Part Six of What is Perception is entirely an illusion. There is nothing on the screen but dots. Lucky for me, and amazing to considered, patrons will perceive their pixelated purpose.
Whether they are called beliefs, delusions, denials, illusions or plain old hypocrisy, there has to be a reason or reasons why other people would hold to a contrary point of view. That is, contrary to mine or yours, which could well be contrary too. The casual explanation is that we see things differently but don’t panic. Spend five minutes watching a local traffic intersection at rush hour and you can be fully reassured that this notion is BS. It is Excuse #1 and a painful reality hides behind it. We do not see things differently. We see things the same. Some of us may need help from an optometrist to achieve our fairly uniform Standards of Sight but we all trust that everyone else sees the same world through the windscreen while driving.
Our vast capacity to communicate depends on a nearly complete commonality of perception. Optical illusions like the face in the bowl that leaps from concave to convex or the blue swirl that isn’t there demonstrate that there are common standards to what can fool OUR EYEBALLS. Funhouse mirrors reflect identical FUN for everyone. This is not the source of our contrary-ness.
We can achieve levels of contrary-ness unknown elsewhere in the animal kingdom. Sure, our relatives like to fight and compete but that reflects a commonality of both perception and desire. Animals don’t fight over perceptions like we do.
Would it be going too far to suggest that Nature does not provide us with anything to contest perceptually? There is no contest between those who see a blue swirl and those who don’t. So, if perceptions of the outside world aren’t the source of our contrary-ness, then “seeing things differently” must be something that happens after we see things.
Excuse #2 is that we look at things differently. This is a plain and shameful admission that it isn’t what we see that’s different but how we see it. Any optometrist would tell you that a thorough eye exam would reveal no contrasting optical performance to correlate with “looking at things differently”. Maybe it’s best to leave the sorry EYEBALL metaphors out of this and admit that contrary-ness comes from further back behind OUR EYEBALLS who, have been doing an outstanding job of delivering the standardized perception that Nature intended. Let’s give them a hand.
We can take Excuse #2 at face value and further theorize that, as humans, we all have the capacity to look at things differently as in, a modification or departure from Standard contrary-ness-free perception. Once having done so, we can all look at things differently, differently. That is the real source of contrary-ness. Somewhere in the machinery of our brains lies the variable that allows us to vary. Excuse #2 betrays a uniquely human parameter.
A contrary view results from Standard Perception plus some kind of additional input that is at variance with Standard Perception plus some reference additional input. This also means that two people with the same additional input to their Standard Perception will experience no contrary-ness. It is fair to say, as a common baseline, that all of us engage in the act of Looking At Things Differently. If we weren’t, if we were relying on only our Standard Perception, then we would be busy blurting out our desires for food and sex like our primate cousins and many of us would be dead already.
Fortunately, Looking At Things Differently does not manifest itself in traffic or the people coming the other way on the stairs. Standard Perception prevails in most of our day-to-day activities. When it comes to things like crossing the street, there is a solid line that divides perceptions that we will not Look At Differently from those that we will. One can’t be relative about Standard Perception. It’s Standard. We can see it or, we can close OUR EYELIDS.
However, once we add Looking At Things Differently to Standard Perception, all such perceptions become relative to the Way They Were Looked Differently At. Any given Different Way will still assume that there is only Standard Perception going on without any Different-ness at all. It becomes the Reference Different-ness from which other Differentnesses are different.
Excuse #3 is that different Different-ness is an illusion or mistake. Reference Different-ness (yours) is never an illusion or mistake. This hard to refute after passing an eye exam. The fact is, to paraphrase That Cross Guy, all have Looked At Things Differently and departed from Nature’s Standard Perception.
As an atheist, so-called free thinker and science-based wannabe, that is still not Standard Perception. It is Looking At Things Differently even if correct… er. Standard Perception does not inform about correctness. All is correct. Even an illusion is the correct illusion for that circumstance. We have to Look Differently for contrary-ness.
How do we know when found correctness? When everything else looks like contrary-ness.
May 2014And now... More Tales from the Chunk Limit: EYEBALLS AT THE EDGE OF SCIENCE! (The scene is a university cafe in Padua, 1625.) Galileo: "I have returned with revised proof that things fall at the same rate. I have realized that air resistance can effect the long straight drop from the tower along with a few other unnoticed factors. I have an improved experiment. I assert that anyone can see that things fall gradually faster and faster at the same rate. Anyone who cannot see this conclusion is blind to the facts that I can now clearly demonstrate." Simplicius: "You said things fall at the same rate. We all came out to watch. We did not see things fall at the same rate. We saw the same thing happening as we saw before. The Hand of God reaches out and lowers things in His Way. This could be proven further by throwing you off the tower. Since Man has already Fallen, God can only lower us to the ground in a manner of pain, suffering and death. Anyone can see that, and possibly soon." Galileo: "I told you... there was no allowance for an air resistance dynamic involving the objects shape and angular momentum or spin it might have or the late discovery that breakfast had left my right hand stickier than my left hand and some the balls were spinning more than others and they all should have been cleaned first since dirt makes for more air resistance." Simplicius: "What?" Galileo: "Never mind. I have found a way around air resistance and can now demonstrate to anyone's satisfaction that things fall at the same rate." Simplicius: "You're going to have to prove that." Galileo: "You can see for yourself." Simplicius: "You're going to have to prove that, too. And while you're at it, you can explain why you are so determined to equate God's Greatest Creation with a mere lump of rock." (Later at the lab) Galileo: "I have here, as you can see, a tilted ramp down which I can roll balls of various weight and size. There are equally-spaced markings down the side of the ramp." Simplicius: "You say they are all equal. How do we know that they are?" Galileo: "See this string with two knots in it? If I hold it to the first two markings, the knots line up. The same knots line up with the second and third markings like this... do you see?" Simplicius: "Yes. That proves that the first two spaces are the same. You are starting down a slippery slope." Galileo: "The ramp is smooth is clean equally from end to end. And the knots line up with these markings... and these... and these... see? And these... and these... and finally, the last two. Got it?" Simplicius: "What did you say the knots were for?" Galileo: "Over here I have a bottle with a spigot that will pour water into this jar that also has equally spaced markings on it. I open the spigot when I release the ball and I close the spigot when the ball hits the stick at the end of the track. Can you see that?" Simplicius: "I can see everything but the point." Galileo: "By rolling balls down this ramp, I can slow down their fall and minimize the effects of air resistance. By pouring water at a fixed rate while the ball rolls, the resulting amount of water in the jar will be a measure of the time it took the ball to roll. By stopping various balls at all the marking points of the ramp and each time recording the volume of water in the jar, I can observe and compare both the speed at which they fall and how that speed changes with the distance of the ramp. I have done this over and over again and can report with authority that all objects increase in speed as they fall and the rate of increase is the same for all objects. Do you see?" Simplicius: "No. Things got foggy at air resistance. Besides, what authority do have to report the nature of God's Creation?" Galileo: "It's right here before you. I wrote it all down as I went. This stack of paper contains information that proves I'm right." Simplicius: "No one saw you write anything. This paper proves nothing except that you are determined to bring God's Wrath on us all for boasting of Man's inept and sinful authority. All real Authority is God's. Destroy this misguided record of your sins!" Galileo: "Then I shall do it all again in front of YOUR EYEBALLS and you shall record the results in your own sinful hand. If the results agree, and if ten more sinners do the same and they agree, then sinfulness has nothing to do with it. Ready?" (Hours later... ) Galileo: "Ball number four has rolled to marker number six in eight and a half units of water. Do you see?" Simplicius: "Yes. That is what I saw and what I shall record." Galileo: "Were a fellow sinner to report that ball number four has rolled to marker number six in seven and a half units of water, what would say?" Simplicius: "I would say they were blind or could not count." Gallileo: "Here comes ball number five... " (Hours later... ) Galileo: "Having compared your sinful results with mine, what do you see? Are they the same?" Simplicius: (sobbing) "Yes!! You have doomed us both!" Galileo: "That is nonsense. You saw what I saw. What possible effect, sinful or otherwise, could we have on what we saw? We aren't conjurers, we merely observed." Simplicius: "You conjured all these connections... you conflated the jar with the ramp... you created a story about balls and water that tells just what you want it to say! Satan is telling you these stories and you are falsely claiming the Knowledge of God! All you have proven is what The Bible already tells us. The Lord gave us a willful soul that can create only a corruption of the world if it goes against God's Plan. God didn't make your ramp and spigot. You reformed His Creation to make them. You have corrupted the world by taking the measure of God's Judgment out of it. All you have revealed is your own wretched sinfulness in describing a world where a man is equal to a stupid ball!" Galileo: "It was math that told the story. Your math came out the same. You saw the multipliers and the multipliers of the multipliers. It can be plainly seen that their relationships indicate that all the balls are accelerating at the same rate. Do you doubt your senses? Why don't these agreed upon facts tell you the same story? I didn't create these facts. I revealed them." Simplicius: "A Revelation from a man who thinks he's the same as a rock. Any sane person would prefer their Revelations to come from God. Most people don't share your talent for conjuring and conflating all day long. I nearly nodded off several times. Any really God-Fearing person would need to be tied to chair with a fire under it just to keep at attention. God speaks in flashes of wisdom and sometimes in clear and simple words. And never with multipliers!" Galileo: "God spoke through the ramp and the spigot and the math. OUR EYEBALLS were witnesses. Don't deny what you saw!" Simplicius: "I do not. I know what I saw. I deny what you saw and what you told yourself. I deny your story. It was Satan's voice in your ear as you are in mine now. We have set up another experiment for you just outside. There is now a steep ramp against the tower. We intend to see for ourselves if it minimizes the effects the air resistance on your brazen sinfulness." Galileo: "These multipliers could tell you that." Simplicius: "You don't know when to stop. No matter... soon, where and when you stop will be plain for even you to see. Should you recant on the way down, be sure to list your sins fasters as you go."
There are two kinds of perceptions described above. One of them slips by unnoticed while the other is an endless source of conflict. When we design an experiment, we must organize a set of steps of which any single step must result in a single undeniable perception. It might look like the experiment itself determines what is a sensible step but actually, it's OUR EYEBALLS that determine how much we want to see at once.
It seems like we are breaking things down to single perceptions like, a single water volume reading of one ball roll. These aren't single perceptions. They are perceptions of multiple components or "chunks" and our experiments reveal the limits of what we can see. When the water stops flowing, the ball has stopped, which is after the ball and water started together, and there is a measure to take on the jar. That is not a single perception. It has four components that remain in sight or within cognition when the measure is taken. We take that measure because we can still see what it means when we take it.
One or one thousand witnesses could observe and agree that this is an undeniable perception or, verifiable fact. We have only EACH OTHER'S EYEBALLS for verification and that determines how complex any single step of an experiment can be. If a step gets too complex it becomes too much to see as a single perception and witness reports may begin to vary. Then the step must be broken down into separate steps or some means of reducing the number of perceived components must be found. Until it is something everyone can see as a verifiable fact. The all-purpose, universal Chunk Limit for human perception is four components. Anyone can see a fact made of four parts. It's verifiable.
If we were to introduce a tea break with a substantial additive of brandy or LSD, the rest of the experiment might go wrong. Not because the participants would become stupid or forgetful. Rather, it is because of a perceptual impairment much worse than blurriness or retina burn. The Chunk Limit goes down. Four perceptual components becomes heavy lifting and even three is a heroic chore. Two becomes simple and comfy. Talking becomes unrestrained. The talker cannot perceive enough components to see the potential consequences of what they say. As for verifiable facts, drunks and stoners are dismissed as unreliable witnesses.
If we all had a Chunk Limit of twenty, each step of the experiment could be much more complex. That would make fewer steps leading to the same conclusion.
Once a large contingent of EYEBALLS have establish a collection of verifiable facts, it is time to organize them into a narrative that reveals their collective meaning. The scientific approach dictates a special and unfamiliar method for our narrative perception to use. There must be no author to be found anywhere in the experiment. As in, none of the facts are what somebody says they are. All the facts in a proper experiment can be seen by anyone. There can be no claims involved and no authors involved. Scientific conclusions have no authority. If one should break down over time and be replaced by a better conclusion, no author is betrayed or dismissed.
Mr. G has built his narrative as science would dictate which is isolated to the facts revealed by the experiment. His scientific conclusion, that all objects accelerate at a fixed rate when they fall with a controlled resistance, is also isolated to the facts involved. Further conclusions, like any implications to man's rank in the cosmos, are beyond what the experiment can verify.
Mr. S takes an approach that is not scientific because he does not consider narratives in isolation to be valid. His perception is authority-based. Scientific conclusions are not valid because all isolated narratives have isolated authors, like Mr. G. Mr. S cannot perceive or accept an authorless narrative, which is what a scientific conclusion is. Mr. G was not the author of the conclusion or any of the facts that it was built from. Mr. G's role was to invent the machine that allowed the nature of falling to be perceivable within the Chunk Limit and then design the steps of observation, measurement (math) and correlation with each step also keeping within our perceptual Chunk Limit.
Mr. S must attempt to fit what he sees into a single all-encompassing and pre-existing narrative. Very little of his narrative is composed of personal perceptions and the rest is taken on authority. Contrary perceptions are a betrayal to the author of the unverifiable facts of his narrative. Not being the author, it is not Mr. S's role to verify the facts of the narrative. The Author embodies the verification of the facts. Mr. S is not qualified to author a narrative and, to his mind, there is simply no other way for a narrative to come about. And no where else for facts to go.
To Mr. S, Mr. G's invention reveals man's debasement and resulting ability to channel the Powers of Satan to corrupt and distort the world.
Mr. G did not see the ultimate consequences of his activities and, brazenly if unconsciously, challenged and irritated the Authority of The Big Narrative. It's loyal minions will always protect it at all costs. Mr. G didn't really see it coming. It was beyond the Chunk Limit. It's the edge of OUR EYEBALLS and the border of sanity and the threshold of La-La Land.
June 2014Part Three of EYEBALLS AT THE EDGE OF SCIENCE! Simplicius: I must bow to the success of your idea of "Breakfast Under the Clarion". All one hundred invitees have attended. We expect you have something to show us. I still do not understand your persistence but your invention of "pancakes" has found favor with the Inquisitor. You may proceed with your demonstration. Galileo: Thank you all for coming. As you can plainly see, the entire experiment has been recreated in large scale so everyone can plainly see it. Each of the ten forty-foot ramps of various tilts has ten equally spaced levers that will be triggered as our test objects slide down their butter covered surface. Each of the one hundred levers will trigger one bell of the clarion and cause one water flask to stop pouring into another. By simply observing the timing of bells and resulting volumes of poured and un-poured water, it can be plainly seen that all objects accelerate at the same rate as they fall. Our test objects are all different in size and weight and include a bolder, a sheep, a cow, an Adulteress, a statue of Mary, a Bible and a box of kittens for contextual diversity. Does everyone have a clear view? Simplicius: You have given us no need to squint. Galileo: Then I shall begin the experiment. Mr. Galilei then pulls on the ropes that release the objects at the tops of the ramps. There is a tremendous crescendo of bells, screams, slamming levers and meows that leads to a finale of crashes and splats with butter sloshing everywhere. The one hundred observers cover their ears and recoil from the scene in horror. Galileo: I trust you all saw what happened. You just saw clear evidence that all objects fall at the same rate. Simplicius: All I saw was chaos! A tragedy of destruction set to a cacophony of clangs! I couldn't find meaning in it if it was my life's work! Once again, you ask us to take your conclusion on faith... a misbegotten faith in your authority of God's creation! Galileo: But you heard the bells! That unique pattern of clangs could only be caused by all those objects accelerating at the same rate. Do you deny the facts? Look at the water flasks... if the objects fell at different rates, how could we end up with those water levels, huh? Explain that, huh. Or are you blind? Simplicius: Are you crazy? If you want to prove a point, then just prove a point. You know what a point is, don't you? Galileo: Sure. Wasn't my experiment my point? It points to one inescapable conclusion. Did you miss it? I can start again. Simplicius: Fine... but in doing it again, can you do it for us one point at a time? Galileo: Huh? Would that be like "see the bolder" and stop? That's one point. We can all agree there is a bolder? Simplicius: Don't be condescending. We can see more than that. Galileo: How much more? I'll need some idea of what you want to see. Simplicius: Just spell out a simple truth that all can see. Galileo: I just did. Simplicius: No, I mean a simple truth. This and this means that. In that simplicity is the clear objective reality we can all share. Like these... Galileo: Like pancakes? Simplicius: Exactly. We all ate a lot of pancakes but how many did we want on our plate at any given time? We get up and get more pancakes because the sight of all the pancakes at once would be overwhelming and unappetizing. You need to break up your experiment into parts and present just a few parts at a time. You could base that number of parts on, say, the average number of pancakes taken as a single serving. Galileo: How many is that? Those were big pancakes. Simplicius: Your serving slaves report that the typical quantity was three and no one put more than four on their plate at once. I suggest you reorganize your demonstration into several visits to the buffet table. Each component of your presentations represents a pancake and each of your presentations represents a plate with room for no more than four. Galileo: So, I need to prove that objects fall at the same rate one plate of pancakes at a time. Hmmm... Come back tomorrow. We'll have buttermilk style.
This Guy Fawks’ Day installment of EYEBALL FUN is inspired by Mr. Bungelow’s inquiries from another thread. You might not think he was asking about EYEBALLS but this is a typical case of wherever you look, there they are. I shall selectively quote from his post like this…
…evidence and logic based reality. Something many secularists promote and that I, myself, am almost sold upon as both the most true and most beautiful outlook I’ve yet encountered.
The subject is how we look out at the world or, more specifically, when we stop looking out at the world and start thinking about our world outlook. We can do such thinking in a darkened room with a sack over our head and our EYELIDS pinched tightly shut behind sunshades but it won’t make any difference.
Can logic be argued to describe the world?
Yes, logic can describe the world, but nobody in their right mind is ever going to do that. It takes an unusual and, one could go so far as to say unnatural point of view to even begin such an ambitious project. And even then, it is not something that could be done in a single lifetime.
So, what does that leave for us mere mortals? The answer is the same for us as it has been since the very first creatures with perception. Mr. B explains…
I find there is a hard stop of both intuition and reason where my only real recourse is to beauty.
That is exactly what us perceiving creatures have been saying all along since the beginning of earthly life. Or would have been, if they had any brains.
Beauty is the brake of perception. It makes perceiving stop so the next perception can begin or can just make perception stop altogether because it isn’t needed.
Beauty is not the perception of natural perfection or a glimpse of what God sees. Beauty is like red, white and e=mc2. It’s not actually out there. It’s not even a fabulous pattern of neural activity or a glorious field of magnetic micro-sparks. It’s a juice. It’s a secretion… like sweat. It’s just a sweaty juice in our gooey parts. Isn’t that a beautiful thought? The real truth isn’t suppose to be. When we reach the point of a useful truth, we begin to sweat inside our brains. Happy juice is released to put the brake on perception and say, enough perceiving… I am happy with what I see and I can get the job done now.
This might sound like something that happens once or twice between breakfast and lunch but actually, it happens dozens of times every second. For Hippo and his sub-cinema perception, it can be anything from zero to thousands of times per second. It is a function of our frame refresh reflex.
Happy juice and the illusion of beauty are obstacles to the truth but are not insurmountable. So, what exactly do we have to surmount to see the real truth? And how will we know we are looking at the real truth? Is there another way that doesn’t trigger happy juice? Could it be a somehow more noble and sophisticated method than sweating?
The answers, in reverse order, are… yes… yes… wait for it…and OUR EYEBALLS.
Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder. It’s a little further back inside their head. Which means, we don’t have to be looking at something to experience the sensation of beauty. We can remember things that are beautiful and even ideas can trigger the same response. That should be a clue that beauty is a part of the perceptual process like fear or hunger… and not some kind of bonus effect. It’s a survival skill like any other and if we use it skillfully, it can help us find the truth. But we will have to wait for it. For some, that wait can be excruciating.
There is a well-known principle in “bx” well-known as “delaying gratification”. One learns to ignore their first impulse which might lead to a modest reward with unintended consequences and instead establishes a set of steps that, once carried out, will lead to a greater reward with fewer or no consequences at all. Once that reward image is established and remembered, it becomes the new impulse one is drawn toward. The original impulse is now NEXT-cued to its consequences.
In trioonity, this is using narration to re-sequence our perceptions and hence, rewrite our natural narrative trajectory. The underlying trick is still the same… learning to ignore that first squirt of happy juice. That means not being satisfied with your initial perception even if it’s beautiful.
Let’s say that you’re a logical person striding confidently through your evidence-based reality. You might ask, what does this have to do with me? Living by the random squirting of happy juice is for slack-jawed, knuckle-dragging, myth-believing wooheads, right? Well, yes… but the point is, why?
It is not that there is no more happy juice in a logical person. The juice still flows doing the same job as always but there is a change in perception. One that took years of training and coaching that was relentless, harsh and even brutal. The end result was making being logical look beautiful. The delay of gratification is now a fundamental reaction to almost everything. I will narrate this first and then decide logically for that is gratifying. I will consider the consequences and weigh the options. I will create the scenario that leads from here to the reward that logic leads me to conclude will await me. I will narrate about this and that. I will narrate about everything. When I do that, I’m the shizzle.
Logic, from our perspective, tends to be circular… like OUR EYEBALLS.
We may use our narrative ability to weigh and consider and reshape our future but there is always a point where we are done doing that. We come to a conclusion and we stop. How else could one be logical without arriving at logical conclusions and then acting on them? Stopping happens when we arrive at a conclusion elst we keep going and plow right through to the next idea and the next without ever being logical.
The point is that advanced primates like ourselves establish the perception of logic with circularity. We evaluate logic in circles. Little cirlces… little Chunk Limit sized circles of logic know as syllogisms, equations and sayin’s. These are the tools of living the logical life.
When an idea or description can be expressed in a tidy, precise fashion in a tight package of words, it takes on the appearance of a fundamental or essential principle of reality. In reality, it is a fundamental or essential principle of perception. When we want our info to be precise, that doesn’t mean we want it to be truthful but that we want it to be consistent with our perceptions and hence very efficeint to digest perceptually. This is the way we want all of our perception… we want a conclusion and we want it now and we want to be happy with it.
A conclusion is an idea that no longer needs to be narrated to be perceived. The long train of logical connections that led to it flow back into the pool leaving behind some simply stated reasonable proposal and a short summary of the do that will carry it out. Or it might be a logical decision about how we will perceive things in the future and what kind of outlook we carry around.
Obviously, we carry around very different kinds of outlooks. Logic and reason are the same for everybody so, why don’t we all get the same results?
Everyone may start with the same pile of facts narrated the same way but once everyone summarizes them down to the chunk limit, the results are as diverse as personalities. No matter how logically we narrated our way to our conclusions, once we make them, we are satisfied with them. So we stop narrating about them and only further perceive them as short chunk limited summaries of what might have been a complex conclusion.
Unless one of these summaries is re-examined or revised or otherwise re-narrated, perceiving it will trigger happy juice. Yes, you were logical about it, but that was before… now you’re happy about it. Any un-narrated recall of this idea will be satisfying and not logical. Even if logic once told you it was true, now it is the juice telling you it is truthiness.
For us, logic is more of a function than a realm. It is not somewhere one can be. It is just something we see.
The whole point was to sober up and get off the sauce. Or juice. The price of being logical is eternal vigilance. Leaving such vigilance strictly to YOUR EYEBALLS is like leaving the fox in charge of the hen coop.
The only accurate and completely logical explanation of the universe is the universe. And nobody’s EYEBALLS are big enough for that.