Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Shadow, Light, and Human Being

So many curious features of human existence arise from the structures, forms, physical parameters of our organism. The eye evolved as a light sensor. But the fact, resulting from physics, the nature of light, that it is the only sense organ which can sense itself being sensed, can see itself being seen, gives it a unique reflexive character. It reveals to another how one is taking the other in. It reveals agency, attention, interest, intention, intelligence. It is the window into the soul. I cannot feel myself being felt, smell myself being smelled, hear myself being heard, taste myself being tasted. But I can see my self being seen and I can see myself being sensed in all these other ways.

Did our observation of our own shadow lead to pictorial and symbolic representation?  What a wondrous accident.  Natural selection drove the development of our brains for practical reasons - it proved a highly useful tool for survival - but an unintentional byproduct of this enhanced cognitive ability was an unprecedented curiosity.  This black form on the cave wall matches my hand...

Our consciousness is the result of and part of the physical universe. It is produced by the play of the laws of physics in organic life.

Light. Is light the basis of human being? Shadow and light.

Brain as barrel of light and shadows.

It is said that our ability to depict, to represent symbolically, separates us from other animals... but is our ability to make images so unique?  Nature makes images all the time - shadows, camera obscura, etc.  We are the naturally-occurring image making ability of the universe become self-aware.


We're already there

Some years ago I was painting a house with a few friends.  We were giving a hand to another friend who was about to move into this house.  ...