Posts Tagged ‘light’

21st century madman’s picture of God

February 25, 2017 4 comments


In/out : Electromotive-sensory force ::
Around and around : Gravitoentropic-Magnetic a-motive field

Primacy of Sense: Absorption and Emission

July 19, 2016 4 comments

Another clue revealing the primacy of sense in the universe:

Absorption/emission lines


The point that I want to make here is that when examining physical phenomena at the largest and smallest sales, the spectrum is reveals itself as a fundamental context. Matter defines itself as specific obstructions or gaps within the complete continuum, or as a specific slices or fragments which can rejoin with other emissions to complete the spectrum.

Our current understanding of radiation, light, energy, and fields assumes a foreground of an emission against a void. Photons are presumed to to exist as object-like presences which are distinct from a background which is a vacuum that is somehow full of ‘energy’. The physicalist view is a bit contradictory, seeing one layer of quantum foam or zero point energy as an ultimate ground to the universe which is ‘always on’ and then an classical level of description of space as a vacuum that is always ‘off’ except when interrupted by forces.

I think that it makes more sense to throw out both the idea of the vacuum full of energy and the objects in empty space and see that entire model of the universe as half of the larger picture…a half which is ultimately an inversion or antithesis of the true trans-physical foundation.

If the conception of the universe as a spacetime void which contains various kinds of mass-energy ‘stuffs’ is turned inside out, what we get is a universe where light is ultimately neither emitted nor absorbed, but instead is a pervasive condition of sensitivity which is blinded or obstructed spatially and temporarily. We use the terms permittivity and permeability to measure the effect that matter has on electric and magnetic fields respectively.

If we turn the electromagnetic model right side up, we lose the idea of electric and magnetic fields entirely and see permittivity and permeability as the localizing constraints on the underlying unity of sense experience. EM fields would not permeate matter or be permitted to propagate across it, but rather matter is actually nothing but the im-permeablity and un-permittivity of the underlying sense condition. When the underlying sense multiplies and divides itself, it makes sense to expect that the result might be persistent material structures in 3d+1 space/time (not relativistic space-time, but classical space ⊥ time).

What is being emitted and absorbed then, in my view, is not light, but the obstruction of light. Matter is a kind of one-sided blindness, like a one way mirror which which inverts the totality of experiences in a fisheye lens way. This converts the non-dual context of Absolute sense to bubbles of dualistic contexts: subject/objects, proto-subjects/proto-object (sensory impulse), and trans-subject, trans-subject/object (synchronicity-archetype)

The whole picture would look something like this:

Sense (timed experience or subjective qualia (placed experience or objectively quantized qualia) signified or re-capitulated sense) Sense.

So Sense (Time/Subject (Object) Distance (Object) Significance)

From the “Distance” view, the universe is a classical place filled with objects, but this is only an appearance which is projected from within subjectivity as it makes sense of its relation to other scales and frames of experience. The external world is actually external-to-the-world, as it is a mirror reflection cast by two or more surfaces of sense impermeability, like this:


It is the )( relation which gives realism to objects. There are no objects ‘out there’, just different levels of ‘out there’ which are ‘in here as objects’.

*which can also be expressed as a metric tensor…a tension superimposed within sense which allows regulating contexts such as space, time, and causality to persist.

Special Diffractivity: c², c, and √c

April 26, 2016 1 comment

(updated 5/27/16)

This (reverent, yet shameless) riff on special relativity and its relation to general relativity is intended to also show light as a special representative case  relating to light as the visible subset of the more general conjecture of general diffractivity, which relates to all sensory, perceptual, and phenomenal content. I apologize in advance for the neologisms. – Craig Weinberg 4/26/2016

c²: Imaginary Light (“m² and t²”) | Cosmic-Meta-Cosmic scale
Phenomenal-metaphenomenal, surreal-supernatual, super-Mahasunna

Dreams and visions can confuse events. Dream content often features locations, characters, and objects which have ambiguous or superpositioned  identities (“superlocality m²”). They can also include spontaneously confabulated histories as well as content which seems to be visionary or prophetic in retrospect (“superchronology t²”).

c: Natural Light (m/s) | Macrocosmic-Electromagnetic scale
Phenomenal-optical, real-natural, between Mahasunna and Chidakasa

Our ordinary, waking experience of light is seen as “zero-interval linkages between events near and far”*, and seamlessly merges veridical optical conditions with phantasmic ‘illusions’. Natural light occurs at c, and tends to play a foundational role in realism for sighted humans. “Seeing is believing”, including the sight of so-called ‘optical illusions’, in which the criticality between optical and phenomenal light is exposed. Phenomenal light is judged to be illusory to the Western mind, but more as a revelation of the nature of light, perception, and consciousness to the Eastern mind.

√c: Physical Light | Electromagnetic-QED scale
Optical-Semaphenomenal, hemi-real-unnatural “Sub-Chidakasa ”

On this level of description, light is an invisible, intangible semi-substance which is inferred as either entangled particles with definite position or contextual waves with definite momentum. The measurement is therefore conceived not in terms of meters per second or distance over time, but as probabilistic wave functions in which the conservation of spatial entanglement and temporal contextuality are inversely proportioned. Relativity might be understood as a macroscopic manifestation of entanglement or perceptual cohesiveness (inertial frame) and contextuality or cognitive adhesiveness (as in Lorentz transformations),  I have proposed that our concept of photons should be inverted, so that they are conceived of not as particles in a void or vibrations of an electromagnetic field, but as figurative units of permittivity-permeability. I further suggest that a new unit, the phoron, be adopted informally to provide linkage across the phenomenal-optical (phoric), metaphoric, and semaphoric levels of description (frames of afference).

²c: Beams, rays, rainbows, specular reflections, glowing, halos

Light renders itself most directly and literally visible as dynamically contextualizing image transforms such as a rainbow, a change in brightness. This corresponds to the metaphotic, ²c level of description: visibility itself is made visible as “glowing” or shining and is associated with matter being glossy, transparent, or translucent.

c: Forms, colored objects, veridical images

At the photic level of description, light is transparent or seen-through. It ‘gets out of the way’ so that visibility is embodied/entangled with realism as the opaqueness of visible forms. This is the classical, natural, “c” level of description where light is the entanglement of Seer, seeing, and the seen. On this level of description (frame of afference) the metaphotic, ²c phenomena are understood to be mirage or illusion.

c√: Particle-Waves, frequency-wavelength, probability functions

Semaphotic light is an (invisible, intangible) information-theoretic pseudo-entity inferred from evidence of its effects on material instruments, and whose properties are defined mathematically. At the electromagnetic level of description, light is an oscillation of an invisible field which can be perceived as visible color or, as thermal intensity (infrared), or by the behaviors of instruments and material substances. At the quantum level, c√ light is a probabilistic wave function – a pure abstraction with purely concrete effects

*quote from David A. Grandy, The Speed of Light, Constancy + Cosmos

Please see the following PDFs for more information.

extract from 4.92

4.92 Diffractivity


Real Light

August 29, 2015 Leave a comment

If you like precise definitions, here you go. These are not official definitions from scientific consensus or recognized authority, nor do I make any claims to their completeness or accuracy. The point here is to convey an understanding of the relation between light and seeing, and by extension, all sensible phenomena and all sensation.
EM light: Electromagnetic radiation which can be generated and detected using specific material sources undergoing chemical and nuclear reactions. That is, matter which is being transformed by matter, either directly through unbroken physical continuity or from a distance at the molecular or atomic level of description.

EM light is a thermodynamic phenomenon which need not be visible to the human eye, so that frequencies of EM which are infrared and lower or ultraviolet and higher can be considered ‘light’, electromagnetically. Radio waves and gamma rays would be considered light also, but that we tend not to think of them using that term. It can be argued that is meaningless convention, but I suspect that our intuition here is valuable.

Optical Light: Here’s where it gets interesting. When our eyes are open, we either see optical light directly, or we do not. If we see optical light directly when our eyes are open, then everything that we see is optical light, not just the presence of ‘light-stuff’ such as rainbows and glare. Optical light can be separated into at least three categories

  • Optical Light One (OL1) refers to everything that we see through our open eyes which is deemed to be publicly and empirically real. Images, shapes, figures, etc. The three dimensional, real world that we see surrounding us can be considered to be entirely composed of optical light. What else could we be looking at through our eyes except that which is made available through the photosensitvity of our retinal cells?
  • Optical Light Two (OL2 or Optical Light Qua Optical Light) refers only to those instances of optical light which are seen purely as optical light by itself. Beams or rays of bright/white light, iridescent films, spectral projections, specular and diffuse reflections, etc. OL2 is manipulated using material instruments such as lenses and mirrors. Turning on a flashlight produces a beam of OL2 which illuminates a room with OL1.
  • Optical Light Three (OL3 or Partially Confabulated Optical Light) acknowledges that what we see is filtered and modified, if not wholly confabulated neurologically, so that even with our eyes open, what we see is not necessarily the public, empirical phenomenon of OL1, but is in fact wholly or partially a kind of entopic, private hallucination that is calibrated by the nervous system for isomorphic, veridical correspondence to the impersonal reality. This is how we can see optical illusions: Our visual sense of the world (OL1) is filtered and distorted by our psychological condition and conditioning such that OL3 is taken for granted as OL1.

Phenomenal Light:
Phenomenal light may or may not be optical, and it may or may not be directly electromagnetic. Having left off at optical illusions, we can further make the distinction between the unnoticed illusions which we presume are being taken as visual reality of the outside world routinely, and the consciously noticed instances of optical illusion. Note the parallel between OL1 and OL2.

  • Phenomenal Light One (PL1) – The entire field of private visual experience. All experiences of color, form, brightness, etc which deviate in fact from public measurements by material instruments. All dreaming, imagining, and visualizing, all medical conditions with consequences that affect sight, etc would be PL1, whether they are recognized as such or not. Any seeing at all is PL1.
  • Phenomenal Light Two (PL2) – Refers only to the specific visual experiences in which phenomenal light is revealed to be private and phenomenal rather than empirical and public facing. These include entopic and eidetic hallucinations*, illusions, altered and ambiguous images, phosphenes, moire patterns, defects in the visual system, etc. PL2 phenomena look unreal – sights which can seem supernatural or psychedelic.*entopic hallucinations refer to purely geometric designs, often repeating spatially like wallpaper, and which seem tied closely to the optical-visual system. Eidetic hallucinations are apophenic or pareidoliac, such as seeing images in a cloud or Rorschach inkblot. Eidetic hallucinations, (I think) are more tied to the cortical-limbic system so that they can reveal private, even subconscious psychological content, and they can sometimes be manipulated consciously, as in an ambiguous image or lucid dream.
  • Phenomenal Light Three (PL3) – Following the lead of Optical Light, the third type of Phenomenal Light is Fully Confabulated Phenomenal Light. This refers to those visual experiences which are fully disconnected from public facing measurements. Dreams, visions, visual memories, delusions, NDEs, etc which may or may not seem private and may be interpreted as real even if it is not.

SR Light:
Light conceived of in special relativity seems to me to be grounded in the sense of light as the propagation of physical signals. Light begins to transform away from classical notions of light and toward the idea of light as a fundamental part of how space, time, and velocity are defined. Einstein made light identical to, or a proxy for a cosmological constant.

MP ‘Light’: Stands for light which is derived from a metaphorical reference and/or literal reference to a supposed metaphysical being. . At this point, we lose the attention of those who will not intellectually break ‘the fourth wall’ in their view of nature. On one side of the wall, where we anchor our epistemology in the EM and Optical sense of light, it seems ridiculous to include metaphorical language and magical, mystical conceptions of light as part of our worldview. Who are we to say that our fantasies and linguistic conventions should be taken seriously in the grand scheme of nature?

On the other side of the wall, it seems ridiculous not to include them. Who are we to assume that our thoughts and intuitions can be safely excluded from a complete description of nature? How can we be so arrogant as to think that the collective wisdom of billions of people throughout history has contributed no clues as to the essential nature of light?

The view from both sides sees its logic as more objective, only the former sees objectivity tied to excluding all traces of subjectivity and the latter sees objectivity itself as a subjective assumption and subjectivity itself as an objectively real phenomenon, if not the only objectively/unquestionably real phenomenon.

Metaphorical uses of the word light generally serve to elevate the significance of natural phenomena such as mood and aesthetics. People are said to be ‘glowing’, or ‘dazzling’. Metaphysical uses, by contrast are literal, but the referent is supernatural rather than natural. MP light is the kind of light we talk about when we want to fictionalize the fact of personal influence over matter or when we want to factualize the influence of super-personal ‘fictions’ over our lives.

  • MP ‘Light’ One (ML1): Light as a figurative or semi-figurative sense of ‘positive’ universal qualities such as goodness, empathy, and spiritual connection. ‘The light’ in this sense is affirmation of harmony with the divine and implies qualities of healing, guidance, and protection from forces of (evil/negative) ‘darkness’. Light used in this way mixes ordinary kinds of human experience of light with extraordinary, transpersonal psychological experiences.
  • MP ‘Light Two (ML2): Light in a fully figurative, naturalistic, but still quasi-theological sense of clarity, knowledge and understanding complete truth. “Seeing the light”. “A lightbulb went on for me.’, enlightenment, illumination, visionary, bright mind, insightful, etc. Changing one’s beliefs suddenly from a clouded, false view to one which is dramatically truer and clearer.
  • MP ‘Light’ Three (ML3): Light as an indication of literal consciousness (until the light went out in his eyes) and/or ‘radiant’ aesthetic qualities of kindness, love, warmth, charisma, etc. Here, light is the sign of a person’s individuality and sanity – their ability to be present, aware, and sane.

To sum up:

0 EM Light: Detectable by a light meter, but might be invisible.
1 Optical Light 1: Visible in a photograph of the world.
2 Optical Light 2: Visible effect composed purely of optical light.
3 Optical Light 3: Meters agree but observers may disagree on qualities.*
4. Phenomenal Light 1: Can be seen with eyes open or closed.
5. Phenomenal Light 2: Visible effect composed purely of phenomenal light.
6. Phenomenal Light 3: Visible in a dream world.
7. SR Light: EM light speed used as a cosmological constant.
8. MP Light 1: Light as a transpersonal sense of benevolence.
9. MP Light
2: Light as a specific sense of revelation and genius.
10. MP Light 3: Light as an indicator of individual consciousness or soul.

In Optical Light, light makes itself visible and invisible. When we see a beam of light, or an electric spark, for example, we are not seeing light itself, we are seeing the illumination of something which is normally invisible to us. Sparks or lightning, for example, do not occur in a vacuum, they are both examples of air molecules being ionized. We are seeing air light up, not light itself. In the case of a laser beam, we are seeing particles in the air light up. Only when we look at something like a spectrum of color do we get a sense of the OL2 sense of light-as-light-itself. Most other light sources are a combination of OL1 visible objects and OL2 light effects.

In EM light, visible light is only a thin sliver of a vast electromagnetic spectrum that is invisible to us. In Meta light, the electromagnetic spectrum is only a sliver of a vast metaphenomenal spectrum that is potentially accessible to us.

In SR light, the relativity of simultaneity is a calculation of the relation of moments of time to each other. In MP light, I suggest that the relativity of simultaneity occurs in the opposite way,  as the degree of inclusiveness of the moment, or the ‘size of the now’ which can be experienced from a given conscious perspective. A hummingbird probably has a smaller scale ‘now’ than we do, and if we attribute awareness to the entire Earth, I would expect a planet sized ‘now’ whose window exists in a context of geological time.

Setting aside light, any sense can be substituted. We can talk about sound being waves of fluctuating density in matter, and then the three levels of acoustic sound as it turns to phenomenal and MP sound, etc. Finally we can talk about qualia in general as it passes through its semaphoric, phoric, and metaphoric descriptions. What I want to know now though, if c is the speed of light, then is c² the speed of phenomenal qualia? How about c³…could that be the metaphenomenal operator?

*as in the blue/gold dress.

Post-particle Light Model

July 12, 2015 Leave a comment
PhotoElectric_Effect lightatoms_demo

Diagram of conventional photon model vs MSR qualitative model.

In the MSR model, photons are figurative rather than literal. The two atoms are presented not as literal particles in space but as vectors of sharable experience.

The mode of signaling is not a literal waving of particles (as depicted in the gif) but a state of empathic/emotive stimulation.

The intent here is not to provide a finished model of electrodynamics. The idea is to give more of a general direction of how hypotheses might be developed using particle-free, aesthetic-empathic signaling.

The signal, or text is a shared quality of interiority which is generated by a masking and unmasking of context, which is the cosmological constant – an aesthetic-participatory ground symbolized here by the rainbow stripes. The black ovals symbolize a masking of the ground awareness which is localized. That masking should be understood to be a temporal, temporary localization…of locality. Spacetime is emergent from masking of the aesthetic ground. The masking can be understood to be entropy or insensitivity, the counter-aesthetic which makes it possible to confine and elaborate experience.

Gaede’s EM Ropes

July 11, 2015 Leave a comment

According to Bill Gaede’s hypothesis, light is “a torque signal propagating from one atom to another along a rope”. MSR defines the universe as being the totality of sensory presence, so that atoms are a localizing partial masking of that presence. Electromagnetism is a torque-like effect in which that masking is partially released or made permeable-permissive so that empathic-imitative sharing arises.

Envisioning the General and Local Aesthetic

January 24, 2015 4 comments

Aesthetics: late 18th century (in the sense ‘relating to perception by the senses’): from Greek aisthētikos, from aisthēta ‘perceptible things,’ from aisthesthai ‘perceive.’ The sense ‘concerned with beauty’ was coined in German in the mid 18th century and adopted into English in the early 19th century, but its use was controversial until late in the century. (Source: Google)

The term ‘aesthetic’ may put some people off. It’s a pretentious word, has a funny spelling, and contains vague meanings that range from what you might hear in a philosophy class to what someone on TV might say about a fashion designer’s garbage bag frock. My interest in the term comes from a different sensibility – the medical sensibility that defines agents which suspend consciousness as “general anesthetics” and substances which numb sensitivity as “local anesthetics”. This is closer to the original Greek sense of the word. By dropping the an- prefix, we can turn the meaning of the word around so that there is a concept of consciousness as “general aesthetic”, or perhaps even aesthesis, and individual sensations as “local aesthetics”.

The goal here is to make sense of all phenomena as part of a single continuum or spectrum, so that for example, the seer, the seeing, the seen, light, and sight can be understood in relation to each other and as aspects of one common thing. This is also reminiscent of the relation between General Relativity and Special Relativity, especially since the function of relation is arguably one which is synonymous with perception. In order for one thing to relate to another, there has to be a context in which that relation is presented or accessed. Rather than speculating on what such a metaphysical context would be, Einstein used terms such as ‘frame of reference’ and ‘observer’ to map the when and where relations of physical effects, without discussing the what and how of relation or measurement itself. As he labored to find a unified field theory, it probably never occurred to him that qualities such as significance and questions of who and why could enter into it. Even though relativity is conceptually inseparable from the subjective act of perception, the notion of perception itself as a physical phenomenon is neglected entirely, and relegated to a one dimensional concept of detection.

A quick survey of our own senses reveals that the fundamental mechanism seems not to report on actual or absolute properties of the outside world, but rather their relevance to each other, to us, and to our interest in them. We know of many examples in perception where colors or shades look different when they are seen adjacent to each other, or shapes flip depending on how we are relating them to foreground or background. We know that ordinary light looks too bright if we have been sitting in the dark, and that cool water feels warm when our hands are cold. Every sensory palette works this way as far as I know. We say that they are perceptual ‘illusions’ because they reveal that what we perceive is not what our mind expects, however we should understand that our minds too can only make a particular, mental kind of sense. Thought is unlike seeing, tasting, or hearing in that thinking is stripped of tangible aesthetics and reborn as abstract thoughts.

Thoughts have their own aesthetic, to be sure, and language plays both midwife and policeman to those semiotic qualities, but the killer app of thinking is of course, its transparency and reflectivity – the capacity to represent without getting in its own way. Thinking provides us with a way to re-experience our tangible sensations of X as intangible sensations of ‘thinking about X’. Thought is to representation as perceiving is to presence, and the brain is to the body. They are all the ‘same thing’, only nested onto different levels. Part of human cognition is the ability to compare representations and evaluate them. We can decide which thoughts are to be trusted or doubted, but even that thought process is subject to its own evaluations, doubts, and censoring.

We now know a lot about cognitive bias and how preconceptions shape what we believe. From logical fallacies to subliminal advertising, our minds are riddled with blind spots considered to be weaknesses or illusions of human psychology. The project of scientific literacy is to single out only those thoughts which have been tempered through experiment into reliability and offering us the least amount of illusion. By refining relationships of our shared subjective fictions we can infer or deduce another kind of story that we like to think of as ‘fact’ or ‘knowledge’. From this vantage point of distilled purity, the story that our naive sense tells us about the world can be replaced by one which is thought to be universal and reliable. Logical Positivism made a lot of sense. Maybe too much. By assuming a pristine epistemology or noumenal science, the utility of the phenomenal world became hard to justify at all. Existentialists and postmodern philosophers questioned how we could really know to what extent we are fooling ourselves about anything. The challenge of escaping the bias of unscientific beliefs could be seen as even extending to science, and to knowing, and to consciousness itself. The Cartesian Cogito of ‘I think therefore I am’ was seen to be reversible as ‘I may have no choice but to think that I am, but it may not be true’.

At the same time that 20th century philosophy, art, and politics were attacking our sense of reality – physics and mathematics were disproving the reality of the world. Einstein’s 1905 discovery of the special nature of light’s constant speed in defining mass and energy was followed in 1916 by the general theory of relativity that displaced classical, Newtonian models of the entire universe. We had moved from a common sense view of the world as a vast place filled with mechanical objects to an evolving, elastic world-ish-ness which changes with one’s perspective.

Heisenberg and Gödel followed in 1927 and 1931 respectively, introducing uncertainty into quantum physics and incompleteness into formal logic. 1931 was also the year that Salvador Dali painted The Persistence of Memory, and the world slid into the Great Depression. In a few short years, the Western world that had worshiped an aesthetic of certain realities became transfixed by uncertain surreality. Physics had become metaphysical.

Taking the next step in philosophy and science has become something of a problem. As the 20th century marked an explosive shift into a new world, the 21st century seems to be both frozen in a polarized deadlock, and splintering off into esoteric factions. We have become unable to generalize our specialties or specialize in generality, so that there is no longer a coherent aesthetic of progress. This may be an entirely appropriate state of affairs in the wake of so much radical transformation in the last century, but when and if we find our way out of the current confusion, I suggest that we seek to unite physical science with metaphysical philosophy in the same way that space-time and mass-energy were united. The 21st century’s Hard Problem of Consciousness is an invitation to develop a cartography of aesthetics to match our current model of physical reality.

To begin to develop such a mapping technique, we should become familiar with what has been called the Spectrum of Consciousness, which is reflected in many mystical traditions and psychological frameworks. It is not necessary to believe in this spectrum, only to understand that such a spectrum model can be constructed and that it is potentially useful. The theme of a hierarchy of conscious qualities and states is hard to avoid, and its similarity to the electromagnetic spectrum is hard to overlook as well. Both the EM spectrum and the spectrum of consciousness offer a smooth continuum which is vaguely divided into sections related to frequency, intensity and scale. In addition to what has already been covered here and elsewhere, I offer this way of conceptualizing how it is that something like seeing, light, and images can actually be different descriptions of the same thing.


In the diagram above, four figures are shown:

  1. Sight (Phenomenal Vision)
  2. Seen (Phenomenal Image)
  3. Visible (Phenomenal Light)
  4. Unseen (Optical Physics)

The use of these prism-like figures are to represent the facets of the total phenomenon, so that in the first, top right figure, sight or seeing is represented as one facet of a block. The other facets in this block would be the other sense modalities that we have (touch, smell, sound, etc), as well as the interior facing modalities of awareness (emotion, cognition, intuition, etc). The #1 block is the subjective view of subjectivity, known as phenomenal consciousness or what I would call general aesthetics (GA). In its largest sense, GA would be the container of all qualia and is reflexive, in the sense that as far as I can tell, consciousness it is a quale itself. ‘What it is like’ to be conscious (“I am, I feel”) is itself part of the total spectrum of ‘what experiences are like’. Consciousness is an experience.

It doesn’t seem to work as well the other way, since if we have a container of consciousness which has no quality at all, then we fall into an explanatory gap. If consciousness can exist in the absence of all qualities, then what would qualities add to consciousness? For example, while it is clear that seeing is a container of sight that cannot be seen itself, it is not as clear that just because we personally define ourselves as ‘ourselves’ doesn’t mean that consciousness in general would have any good reason to define itself that way. We feel like we are a seer who is seeing images, but this may be due to the fact that we are a different type of sensation than what we are seeing or seeing itself. It may be all one continuum of ‘phoria’ which waxes and wanes in its subjectivity. Applying this principle to this example above, we have a natural metaphor in light for how the receiver of awareness, the object of awareness, and awareness itself can all ultimately be the same thing, and be accessible within itself as a reflection of that thing.

In the top left figure, the #2 block is flipped horizontally to imply that the #1 view of subjectivity is not available here in this second context. When we look out at the world, even at the reflection of the pupil of our own eye, we do not see our own seeing. The entire world of phenomenal consciousness is hidden and inverted by a kind of theater of appearances. What is seen is still phenomenal because we are seeing images (real or imagined) within a subjective medium of two dimensional shapes. Image is what allows the local aesthetic (LA) of sight to relate to the GA (consciousness) through the mask of physics.

The bottom left figure which is labeled “3. Visible” corresponds not to the experience of being a seer, or the experience of seeing an image, but of the experience of seeing light’s specific qualities. Like a director making a cameo in their own movie, light presents itself not only as the fact of seeing what is visible, but as the presence of the source of visibility as a visible experience. Phenomenal light exists both within the image that we and transcends it, addressing the seer directly. We can take a picture of a sunset and see that it looks like light radiating from the Sun onto the Earth, but we understand that the picture cannot produce light itself.

This is an astonishing feature, really. Light has a look of its own, and its look explains, in visual terms exactly what visual terms are made of. Strange loop. Blown mind. Move on. Suffice it to say that what light looks like is spectacular. It is practically synonymous with grabbing our attention. Glowing, flashing, lighting up a room, putting a spotlight on something. Within our visual field, light shows us what there is to see, and then shows us what to look at in particular. The dynamics of color harmonizing and clashing, the rotational symmetry of the color wheel, etc, are all part of light’s story about itself. The visible qualia of visibility meeting the physical mechanisms of optics.

With these three contexts, we have still not even touched the physics of light. Seeing light can be used like a trail of breadcrumbs to find Classical optics, but to understand the physics of light we must depart from the world of seeing altogether. There’s a couple of equations there in the fourth block representing how to calculate the energy of a photon and spectral radiance. With a nod to Gödel, the fourth block depicts the final category, where the unseen circumscribes the incompleteness of the seen, and wraps around from the LA of the seen to the GA of sight.

Why Light is Sight (not photons)

March 11, 2014 Leave a comment

A case against photons being necessary and sufficient to explain the experience of light:

There are many examples of scientific studies and first hand experience which implicate human visual perception as the result of neurological and phenomenological states, rather than a direct mapping of photons striking the retina of the eye.

1. What we see cannot be explained by the presence of photons alone.

From this paper, On the Neural Correlates of Visual Perception:

“Neurological findings suggest that the human striate cortex (V1) is an indispensable component of a neural substratum subserving static achromatic form perception in its own right and not simply as a central distributor of retinally derived information to extrastriate visual areas.

[…] elemental visual experiences of punctate white or colored lights called ‘phosphenes’ can be evoked in man by direct electrical stimulation of densely hemianopic striate cortex after severance of its connections to and from the LGN.”

The paper goes on to describe many neurological conditions arising from specific damage to the brain which reveal that the visual conditions which we take for granted, such as identification of shapes and motion, have their neural correlates in diverse areas of the brain. There is no video screen equivalent in the brain which which reconstructs an image from the outside world made of photons.

“Crick and Koch also proposed that explicit representations of visual features, coarse-coded neural representations that correlate with percepts or objects, are a necessary but not sufficient condition for visual experience. I find no reason to disagree with this premise.

[…]figure–ground segregation and object recognition cannot progress in a simple bottom-up serial fashion, but have to occur concurrently and interactively within recursive loops”

[…]In summary, the present model is based on the primacy of phenomenal experience (Humphrey, 1992; Nelkin, 1995; Raffman, 1995) and supports views that any possible explanation of phenomenal experience cannot be formulated solely in terms of its reportability (Chalmers, 1995).”

2.  Stimulation of the visual cortex in the congenitally blind results in tactile rather than visual perception (Changes in visual cortex excitability in blind subjects as demonstrated by transcranial magnetic stimulation).

“…phosphenes could be induced in only 60% of subjects in Group 2 (blind subjects with a low degree of residual vision) and in only 20% of subjects in Group 3 (blind subjects without residual vision).

[…] Studies of the functional consequences of visual deprivation in humans have disclosed correlates of cross‐modal plasticity, with a role for the visual cortex in tactile processes (Uhlet al., 1991; Sadatoet al., 1996; Cohenet al., 1997; Büchelet al., 1998).”

“In a PET study we demonstrate that congenitally blind subjects show task- specific activation of extrastriate visual areas and parietal association areas during Braille reading, compared with auditory word processing. In contrast, blind subjects who lost their sight after puberty show additional activation in the primary visual cortex with the same tasks. Studies in blind-raised monkeys show that crossmodal responses in extrastriate areas can be elicited by somatosensory stimulation. This is consistent with the crossmodal extrastriate activations elicited by tactile processing in our congenitally blind subjects. ” – Different activation patterns in the visual cortex of late and congenitally blind subjects.

3. Visual experiences can be produced internally, and outside of the primary visual cortex.

“A phosphene is a phenomenon characterized by the experience of seeing light without light actually entering the eye.”

“this phenomenon of “seeing” without seeing in the traditional sense leads one to believe the ability to receive light is not entirely necessary. In addition, this is not a foreign concept, as when most people close the eyes, they are able to visualize images.” – Dreams: Seeing without seeing

“The results by Knauff and colleagues, also with fMRI, do not support the hypothesis that primary visual cortex is involved in visual mental imagery, but rather that a network of spatial subsystems and higher visual areas appears to be involved (Knauff, Kassubek, Mulack, & Greenlee, 2000). The results support the hypothesis that visual imagery is a function of the visual association cortex.” – Visual imagery without visual perception (Bértolo 2005).

4. Congenitally blind people can interpret experience graphically.

[…]In conclusion, the congenitally blind are not only able to describe what may be the visual content of their dreams verbally, but they can provide, through drawing, a graphical representation of such content, and a significant negative correlation between the Visual Content of the dreams and the alpha power was found in both groups.” (Bértolo 2005).


5. Color mappings are not entirely caused either by electromagnetic frequency or stimulation of the retina’s cone cells.

a. Some colors are not part of the visible spectrum

Pink and purple are combinations of red with blue or violet. Brown and beige are low intensity orange, olive is low dim green, grays and black are dark whites.  – source

“This means that colours only really exist within the brain – light is indeed traveling from objects to our eyes, and each object may well be transmitting/reflecting a different set of wavelengths of light; but what essentially defines a ‘colour’ as opposed to a ‘wavelength’ is created within the brain. ” – Magenta Ain’t A Colour.


b. Color perception can change independently of the retina.

“…the number of color-sensitive cones in the human retina differs dramatically among people—by up to 40 times—yet people appear to perceive colors the same way. The findings, on the cover of this week’s journal Neuroscience, strongly suggest that our perception of color is controlled much more by our brains than by our eyes.

[… That points to some kind of normalization or auto-calibration mechanism—some kind of circuit in the brain that balances the colors for you no matter what the hardware is.” – Color Perception Is Not in the Eye of the Beholder: It’s in the Brain

6. Blindsight shows that optical information can be communicated subconsciously without a conscious experience of seeing.

A rare, but much studied condition, blindsight, along with synesthesia and anosognosia reveal that the pairing of visual qualities of experience with optical conditions is not automatic. The functions of information processing, physics, and the qualities conscious experience can all be teased out separately.

Blindsight – the ability to respond appropriately to visual inputs while lacking the feeling of having seen them – might be something which only occurs in cases of brain damage, but seems much more likely to be a significant phenomenon of intact brain function as well. Indeed, it seems likely that blindsight (and similar phenomena in other spheres) is an important ingredient of of a variety of activities where one wants to move quickly and appropriately, without “thinking about it”. – Seeing What You Don’t See


7.  Photon interaction begins and ends with the isomerization of rhodopsin.

Optical processing a vast chain of mechanical reactions on multiple levels of description of the nervous system; molecular, cellular, organ, and somatic. From the indications of neurology alone, what our visual cortex would ‘see’ should really be nothing more than interruptions in the flows of glutamate from rod cells, not an array of photons. There is something called ‘dark current‘ which refers to  “the depolarizing current, carried by Na+ ions, that flows into a photoreceptor cell when unstimulated” and suggests that our access to optical conditions is triggered by a silencing of ‘off’ signals rather than an instantiation of ‘on’. It might be supposed that photons are not what we see, but rather they are a measure of the initial molecular triggers which stop us from not seeing.

8. Photons with frequencies in the infra-red range are felt as heat rather than seen.

A rather obvious example, but one which reveals that photons themselves need not be seen to be detected. Ultraviolet and infrared radiation are referred to as ‘light’, but they are no more or less ‘illuminating’ than radio waves or gamma rays. Generally when we refer to light and lighting we are specifying a capacity to illuminate our visual perception, not thermal conditions. The use of light to refer to invisible phenomena is not entirely untrue, as it can be stepped down into a visible range using photographic equipment, however, unless the target of such a process is ultimately a visual experience, it is hard to justify the connection to the term, and the word ‘light’ should be considered somewhat figurative. If we refer to brain activity associated with conscious experience to be ‘neural correlates’, then we should likewise refer to physical activity associated with perceptual experience to be ‘electrodynamic correlates’ of light rather than light itself.

9. If light is sight and not photons, what is sight?

Philosophers would call it qualia, neuroscientists might call it ‘sense data’, phenomenal visual experience, or ‘static  achromatic form perception’. In short, seeing light is irreducibly experiential. All light is only that which is seen, and photons do not necessarily have any visible qualities.

Seeing Visibility

February 7, 2014 Leave a comment

Given that light has many strange properties, both on our natural scale as rays and on the elementary scale as photons, there is every reason to doubt that light qualifies as something which is unambiguously physical. On the other hand, since we cannot imagine a completely new color wheel, it would seem to say that the experience of seeing light is “real”, and not, a label for certain kinds of information that is fabricated in the brain. People who become blind at an early age, for example, experience stimulation to their visual cortex as tactile stimulation rather than seeing lights or spots.The condition of blindsight shows that parts of our brain can receive optical information without our having experienced that information personally as visual sensation.

In a way, white light can be considered to be what it looks like when transparency is concentrated. White light is when the quality of visibility is so saturated that it exceeds the range of discernment . A bright light illuminates a room not with whiteness but with clarity. To shed light on something is to flood the visual field with an immediacy of aesthetic acquaintance that suggests veridical qualities of the environment being illuminated. This is why we have metaphors such as ‘seeing the light’. Because it is about being connected with the presence of what is true and sensible, rather than being passively bombarded with particles. It can be said that our experience of seeing is not a direct detection of what is true, since there are so many ways to reveal optical illusion.

By calling it an illusion, we are framing the phenomena in a way as to implicate human fallibility rather than physics. Somehow we are wrong about what our eyes report, yet it is not clear that our assumption about what our eyes are reporting is scientifically valid. In fact, if it were not for these optical illusions, science would have very little to go on in determining the nature of vision as separate from physical truth, so it is actually the gaps between our expectations and the truth which reveal more truth, both about the nature of visual awareness, optics, electromagnetism, and quantum mechanics. Optical illusions are an encyclopedia of the nature of perceptual illusion, physical reality, and the relation between the two.

The folk science explanation for light perception generally begins with the idea that we can see light hitting our retina. That may be true, but not scientifically. The part that light plays in our visual system ends with the isomerization of rhodopsin in the retina. If what we see as “light” is in the visual cortex, then obviously what the visual cortex receives is not photons from the outside world, and it is not a direct analog that shows up as a small screen of images in an MRI. To even guess at some of the content of our visual field requires a blind statistical reconstruction. There is no plain-text transmission of images in our brain to simply hack into and view.

The effect that light has on the retina is merely to trigger the geometric extension of Vitamin A molecules and stop the flow of glutamate to the bipolar cells. That is well behind the first ganglion that would lead to the optic nerve and visual cortex. I propose instead that photons are not entities that are independent of their transmitters and receivers, and that light is therefore not physical but rather inter-physical, aka, phenomenal, aka sensory. Photons are measures of the sensitivity of our mode of detection. It is neither ray, beam, particle, or wave, but rather a rhythmic phenomenalization of matter – a feeling that matter has about what is going on around it. By making inferences beyond our sensible grasp, I think that Quantum Theory has given noun and verb-like properties to what are ultimately adjectives. Bosons and fermions may not be like that at all, but rather they are opportunities for matter to re-acquaint itself. The elementary measurable features of the cosmos may not be particles or strings, but qualities which characterize the capacity of matter to measure and interact with itself. Physics is a mirror. For every action and equal and opposite reaction, because equal and opposite reaction is a perfect reflection of our mode of scientific inquiry. We are investing our coins of empiricism in nature, extracting the empirical value, and recording the profit in our scientific ledger, like good, serious 18th century gentlemen.

It seems to me that only a medium which is intrinsically filled with the sense of color, form, and intensity across the many physical scales could reliably and veridically bridge the gap between public material realism private experience.The notion of a seeing light as a Rube Goldberg patchwork of conveyance into separate effects on every level*, all transported through a one dimensional collision detection schema is not consistent with reality. There are too many examples of people who have seen things in dreams and visions, too many qualities of visual experience which cannot be decomposed sensibly to pixels or lines for the photon explanation to be satisfactory. The qualia of color alone, whose idiopathic shifts and wheel-like symmetry have no place in the smooth continuum of the electromagnetic spectrum.

I suggest that light is only one specific form of a more universal medium, and that this medium is already known to us informally by the word ‘sense’. Sense as in sensation, sensitivity, sensor, but also as in making sense, sixth sense, and ‘in the sense of’. The unity of all sense can be more precisely expressed as ‘primordial identity pansensitivity’, ‘nested sensory-motive participation’, or even something like ‘self-tesselating aesthetic re-aquaintence’, depending on how technical and pretentious we want to get. From this Absolute firmament, and I think only from this firmament, can we get the full range of private experience, public physics, symbolic information, and the capacity to compare and contrast them. Only when physics is seen as identical with sense can physics be completed.

On the elementary level, with a nested sense primitive, we get relativistic locality (so eigenmetrics rather than eigenstates). Sense is modulating its own self-transparency and reflectivity to generate eigenmetric milieus – levels of scale that foster certain kinds of aesthetic themes and activities. The micro-world with its mathematical-molecular-insectoid clarity is different from the soft, lush features of zoological-arboreal-botanical existence. On some level perhaps, sense is nearly undiluted, and so the entire history of the cosmos is as a single now – a white whole singularity in which the now cannot even be completed and the here cannot hold even the hint of a ‘there’. On that level, there is non-locality.

*optical, molecular, cellular, ocular, neurological, psychological, sociological, zoological..

The Opportunity Principle

January 23, 2014 Leave a comment

A better way to model photons, and other elementary particles would be as opportunities for discernment. Instead of seeing them as entities whose measurement presents uncertainty to us, think of the uncertainty as the entity itself. The photon is like a cursor – it is present where the action is at the moment – it points to the moment, and to the opportunity for interpretation of the moment. Bosons and Fermions are not like forcers and forcees, but more like trails left behind from motivation etching sensation into sense.

Our experience of light is of that which enables visual sense. Vision is a mode of sensory presentation and representation based on aesthetic distinctions. Foreground/background, contrasting color qualities and intensities. Each photon should not be considered a physical phenomenon in its own right, but rather as a fragment of vision or sensation. It is not like a pixel, since the pixel requires an observer to be seen. The photon should not be thought of as a particle or a wave, but as a chance to detect and interpret. Whether we see a light or feel heat, whether it is part of an interference pattern or a collection of wholes composed of no parts, whether it is within our experience or beyond our understanding…all of these possibilities are presented at the elemental level. Each ‘particle’ is a window not just on the Totality, but on the self-masking, self-reflecting, transparency-augmenting nature of nature. The fabric of the universe is both certain, uncertain, and a participation in self-definition.

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