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§ January 9th, 2010 § Filed under Chapter 58: Our Keyhole Perception § Tagged , , , , , § 2 Comments

We are incredibly visual creatures. And it all comes through these tiny windows. Yet you perceive a wide view that is complete and up-to-the-moment current. The reality you perceive is an assembly of darting views through a keyhole.

           Before we move on to explore more of See Do reality, it will help to better understand how we perceive and relate to our temporal reality.

           You probably perceive the space around you as a complete, open, three-dimensional space filled with solid objects. Your perception builds the space as complete and cohesive. And your view of it is wide, even panoramic. You can lean back and take it all in as one wide-angle space from one edge of your peripheral vision to the other, or you can focus in, ignoring much of the context, like you do while reading. You see a consistent and continuous picture.

           But what are you actual getting by way of perceptual stimuli to build this picture? And how complete is it? We see things that don’t actually exist, like color. We don’t see things that clearly do, like radio, magnetism, radiation, heat; we don’t even see our eye’s blind spots. We hear only a narrow range of sounds (ask your dog). We are only comfortable feeling or touching a narrow range of temperatures. And our olfactory and tasting sensitivities are largely under-developed.

           Look at your eyes in a mirror. That tiny hole in the center of your colored iris is the keyhole through which all of your visual stimuli must pass. The light is then focused on a small area in the back of your retina. This small area is called the fovea. It is estimated that more than 50% of the visual information that reaches the brain comes from the fovea. It allows us to focus our sight. Without it we could not read, drive, play sports, watch movies, recognize faces, etc. The visual area it “sees” is about the size of a quarter held at arm’s length. A typical human fovea is just 1 millimeter across. Fortunately, most of us have two.

           That “vision” of your wide reality is assembled from the briefest darting shots of your environment. I say “shots” because they are more like stills than movies. When your eye darts, your visual center in your brain shuts down briefly. Your mind perceives something more like an edit in a movie than a smooth move. It does this because the movement would be blurred and clear vision would be impossible. Reading would also be impossible. But you don’t perceive any of this. Your mind assembles a “vision” and syncs it with the rest of your sensory input, which comes in about a quarter to a half second later.

           The result is that you see things nearby in perfect sync with your feeling them or hearing them. But you brain doesn’t get them that way. For example the feelings that come in from your hands or your feet are almost always a half second behind your seeing them. But your brain aligns the reality so you won’t notice.

           Hearing is similar. Everything comes in through your narrow ear canals and goes through a complex of tiny bones into a spiral tube called the cochlea. This tube is filled with liquid and lined with fine hairs. Depending on which hairs move, we “hear” sound of a certain pitch. The brain puts it all together.

          Our senses of taste and smell are the same. Very small and limited input mechanisms giving simple electrical data to the brain. Touch is a bit different, being spread over the entire surface of the body. But there are only limited areas that have the sensitivity to discern details. Those are of course our palms and fingers, our soles and toes to a much lesser degree, and of course our tongue and lips. Everywhere else, the fidelity of our sense of touch is low resolution.

          This is all we get. Five channels that are mostly low resolution, with an even narrower keyhole that is high resolution. The picture our mind “paints” on the other hand is wide and complete and hi-def.

           And that doesn’t take into account any of the vast amount of energy and data that make up our temporal reality that are completely out of the sensitivity and range of our senses. A huge amount of information flows past us, indeed through us, second by second. And we are completely unaware, but for the fact that our science and its instruments can detect it for us.

          But the reality our mind assembles, or creates, for us is the reality we believe. We touch it and feel it and smell it. We can see it with our own eyes. Through our keyhole perception.

           There is the hard reality outside and there is the mental construct inside. Try and understand that it is the mental construct which you believe is reality. As it must be, because so much of the hard reality outside is beyond the scope of your keyhole perception.

           My relationship with See Do was a two way exchange. He was glad to answer any question, but he was also eager to understand, through me, our perception of our temporal reality. And how our minds fathom new knowledge. Though he found our perception and conceptualization limited, he did enjoy the new sensory input. And I enjoyed the intellectual and spiritual challenges. There is much, much more to come.

           Please come back.                                                      

           –continued  (Next: The unbearable consistent-ness of being)