Self-reference. Beauty.

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When something pleases us visually – whether it’s a fine piece of artwork, a beautiful feat of architecture, or an untouched natural landscape – new research demonstrates there is a pattern of activity in what’s known as the default mode network (DMN).

The DMN is a large-scale system of interacting regions in the brain that appears to play a role in how we regulate our sense of self; this network is most active when we’re self-reflecting, remembering, or imagining.

That’s what makes its emerging role in aesthetics so interesting, since the findings of this latest study suggest – a deeply moving visual experience is processed by the same brain network that’s strongly involved in who we are as individuals. (1)

We believe we see the cosmos.

But we see nothing.

Except our self.

An abyss of existence.

Flickering in the mirror.

We like our self.

But only at the last moments of our life will we understand.

That it is not our self we stare at.

But that existence is staring at us!

You are not looking at any mirror.

But we are the mirror…

Do you dare to break yourself?

Seeing better. And better. And better. Until we see nothing at all…

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A few years ago, a team of scientists at EPFL’s Laboratory of Nanoscale Biology, headed by Aleksandra Radenovic in the School of Engineering, developed an algorithm that can estimate a microscope’s resolution in just a few seconds based on a single image. The algorithm’s result indicates how closely a microscope is operating to its full potential. This could be particularly useful for the automated microscopes that have started appearing in research labs. The team’s findings have just been published in Nature Methods.

The scientists used Fourier’s transform as the basis for their algorithm, but they modified it so as to extract as much information as possible from a single image.

The results indicates how closely a microscope is operating to its full potential. The algorithm performs the calculation in just a few seconds and generates a single number. “Researchers can compare this number with the microscope’s maximum possible resolution to see whether the instrument can work even better or modify the experimental conditions and observe how the resolution evolves” says Adrien Descloux, the study’s lead author. (1)

We want to see better. We want to see everything.

So we magnify.

Until we see all the details.

And more.

And more.

And more!

Pushing it to the limit! To see everything!

Until we can distinguish nothing anymore!

Isn’t it funny? The more we analyze the cosmos the more we reach absolute zero. At the end, the point is a circle with zero radius. (source) At the end, in the midst of our greatest triumph, we will see nothing.

Ghosts casting shadows…

In a cosmos without any light…

Except the light we bring on our own…

Hallucinations…

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Hallucinations are spooky and, fortunately, fairly rare. But, a new study suggests, the real question isn’t so much why some people occasionally experience them. It’s why all of us aren’t hallucinating all the time.

In the study, Stanford University School of Medicine neuroscientists stimulated nerve cells in the visual cortex of mice to induce an illusory image in the animals’ minds. The scientists needed to stimulate a surprisingly small number of nerve cells, or neurons, in order to generate the perception, which caused the mice to behave in a particular way. (1)

Asking the right question.

But once more, giving the ring answer.

Because even before we start thinking, we have concluded on the answer we want.

Every day more and more evidence arise regarding how easily our perception of the cosmos might be distorted. And yet every day we still insist on us having the right and “correct” (true? What does this even mean?) perception of the cosmos. Because we do not want to accept the obvious. That was always our flaw.

Yes it is easy to hallucinate.

It is easy to fool the mind.

It is easy to see things which should not be seen.

It is not your fault. It is not the cosmos’ fault.

It is just that neither you or the cosmos should care about being here wandering if it’s your fault. Because you actually aren’t here. And there is no fault. That is how all problems start. By seeing a blank piece of paper and yet still wanting to fill it in with every single thought that you make.

Admire that empty piece of paper.

It holds more knowledge than you would ever be able to write down…

Passing through walls… Broken glass…

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Researchers have captured the most direct evidence to date of Klein tunneling, a quantum quirk that allows particles to tunnel through a barrier like it’s not even there. The result may enable engineers to design more uniform components for future quantum computers, quantum sensors and other devices. (1)

We constantly see things. We sense things. We are blocked by things.

Watch carefully and you will see.

That whenever you see something you stop seeing something else.

Our senses are not the window to see the cosmos.

They are our jail inside that cosmos.

A cosmos we ourselves create on our own.

And no, it is not just that our senses might be faulty thus making us sense things which are not there (see here for an article on how healthy people can sometimes mis-attribute touch to the wrong side of their body, or even to a completely wrong part of the body) It is the essence of the senses and what they mean to us which is inherently disassociated with what we call ‘reality’.

A tiny particle can pass through a wall. A human cannot.

You are made by particles. And yet they may never sense what you do.

Disconnected cosmos. Disconnected humans.

Disconnected perception. Disconnected reality.

Due to all the things we think connect us…

Let go of that glue. It is the only reason that you see a broken glass.

Look away.

And everything will disappear.

For there is nothing to see…

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Blind people seeing…

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Researchers presented 20 blind and 20 sighted adults with animal names and asked participants to: order animals by size and height; sort animals into groups based on shape, skin texture and color; pick which animal out of a group is unlike the others in shape, and choose from various texture options (“Does a hippo have feathers, fur, skin or scales?”).

Overall, blind and sighted participants organized animals in similar ways and agreed on which physical features were most likely to be observed within animal groups. Contrary to the idea that blind people learn about animal appearance from sighted people’s descriptions of what animals look like, blind and sighted participants disagreed most about the dimension that was easiest for sighted people to describe in words: animal color. Sighted participants created groups for white, pink, black, black and white, brown and grey animals, and they easily labeled these groups, but had a hard time verbally describing their shape groupings. Blind people created similar shape groups to the sighted but did not make consistent color groups.

The researchers found that to deduce what animals looked like, blind people relied on similar biological classifications, but such inference works less well for color because many very different animals are white (e.g., swans, polar bears and sheep).

The main conclusion is that blind people develop rich and accurate ideas about appearance based on inference. ”What the findings show is that linguistic communication can give us rich and accurate knowledge, even knowledge that at first glance seems ‘visual.'” says Marina Bedny, Assistant Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Johns Hopkins and another author on the paper. (1)

What you think is what you see.

What you hear is what you think.

The same way that what you see is what you think.

Look too much at the cosmos and you will stop listening.

Listen carefully and you will stop seeing.

There is balance is the cosmos.

And this balance can only be sensed by those who have no balance.

There is chaos in the world.

And this chaos can only be seen by those who see no order anywhere.

On the edges of existence, people standing still.

In the center of being, blind people dancing…

White bears.

White swans.

White snow.

Don’t you see? Everything is black!

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