Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Time & Vision

Consider a video recording of a football match. As the game was actually played the players have absolute freedom to act of their own volition. However, watching this later their actions obviously will not change, which is not to say that they were deprived of free will as they acted. Similarly we could talk of a kind of external observer of life existing free of our notion of time, knowing exactly what happens within our time, but this not contradicting the freedom within the moment of the actors of the drama.

I wrote the above previously and bring it up again because it relates to another idea-image that has gone out of its way to strike me. An external observer of life is self-contradictory since to be an observer means one exists and so is necessarily part of life or what is and not be external to it, and so presumably the 'kind of' that I qualified it by . . . but anyway to try to deal with this time omnipresence or omniscience regarding what happens within time - accepting that language is struggling here and not really within its natural bounds. But something else first previously written:

As I stand in a certain spot looking in a certain direction, I do not occupy a definitive point of perception which excludes the reality of all other possible points of perception. Instead I occupy a continuously shifting position within the visual field, which is comprised of an infinity of points of perception all existing simultaneously. Reality here is the totality of this field of vision as opposed to the distinct reality of the individual points.
The same can be said of time. We occupy a continuously shifting position within this field, again with all the individual points of time existing simultaneously. 

So the idea I'll try to express here is something of a bridge between the above two extracts.

The thought alluding to this I had was how this omniscient, omnipresence relates to 'ordinary' seeing. The normal or traditional religious-philosophical view of things here is I imagine of God as a purely external viewer of life and with the freedom to set his gaze at any aspect of the presented images - and so like the initial quoted piece is like someone watching an unfolding drama on a tv screen - an apparently wholly external, uninvolved observer. The falseness of the idea of an external observer, or God as such, has already been dealt with above, and so . . .

Think of someone seeing with one eye open and one closed. We could even add to this constraint by having that person as seated with his head fixed and with blinkers as with a racehorse. And so vision is constrained to something like one point of perspective within the infinite possible field of perception within reality as described in the first piece. There is all this potential seeing, behind, above, in general around this somewhat fixed perspective point but which is inaccessible to this seer. Now, lazily using Wikipedia here, think of creatures with binocular vision such as ourselves, and more usefully within the analogical sense I am employing, some prey animals: "Some animals, usually, but not always, prey animals, have their two eyes positioned on opposite sides of their heads to give the widest possible field of view. In such animals, the eyes often move independently to increase the field of view. Even without moving their eyes, some birds have a 360-degree field of view."

Each of the organs of vision, eyes, could exist wholly independently of the other, as in with the other closed still a true visual presentation is offered or exists. And if the closed eye is opened and the opened closed, a somewhat different vista opens up. If the two are simultaneously open however what we experience is not a mind darting back and forth between the two perspectives but instead the 'two visions' coalescing as one visual whole. With us, the disparity of the two perspectives is not so dramatic, the eyes quite close together, but as with other creatures the field of vision could be comprised of essentially eyes at the front and back of the head, and yet the resulting visual field experienced as one organic film so to speak, rather than a materialistic construct of two distinct elements. And so with time and seeing.

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