File spoon-archives/bourdieu.archive/bourdieu_2001/bourdieu.0110, message 11

Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 15:20:39 -0600
Subject: Re: Crucial Questions on Life

Hi, Berk.  

Berk Turkcan wrote:

> 1. The light coming from an object is transformed into electrical signals by
> the cells in the eye and then transmitted to the [centers] of vision in the brain.
> And the electrical signals there [contribute to the experience of seeing the object]. For example you actually
> see this message in your brain. Then who is the one that sees and perceives the
> image of this message in the brain? How do you define the consciousness that
> can see this image in the brain without the need of an eye?

I have modified your text in [].  I don't think the rest can be easily
salvaged, and I will try to explain why.

You don't actually see an image of the object--you see an object in
front of you.  Another part of the experience of seeing an object in
front of you is that you could reach out and touch it, with
expectations.  Another part of the experience is being able to leave the
room, come back, and still find the object there.  Another part of the
experience is that if you pick it up, you won't then see a black hole
where the object was before (or a mysterious part of the inside of your
brain, or a glimpse into an alternate Reality), but the worldly environs
of the object that you are already also experiencing (not inside your
brain, or in a higher realm, but in the only place you can, where your
body is).  Another part of the experience is that you could continue to
point out other parts of it indefinitely.  (For example, that I see a
definite X, and my nose itches as I am looking at it.  There are really
infinitely many ways of continuing to elaborate the experience, but
there is no "pure" experience of just "seeing" this "x". )

If I saw the image of cake in my brain, rather than the cake itself, why
wouldn't I try to eat the image rather than the cake?

Remembering how an object looked when you saw it before is "remembering"
some of the aspects of the experience, but with a difference, that is
the experience of having experienced the thing in the past, when you
could extend your experience, and now you can't.  If in looking we were
looking at images in our brains, why would our memories degrade over
time?  Why wouldn't we be able to extend our "past" experiences in the
same way (and to the same degree) as we can our "current" experience?

Some people don't like to discuss the topics you mention because their
everyday experience tells them that the only reason for trying to
complicate these explanations is to serve some ulterior purpose (for
example, to show that a literal interpretation of the Bible is
compatible with--or superior to--modern science).

Other people (as the other replies indicate) have been talking about
these issues for centuries.

Best wishes,

Bill Hord


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