Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Come closer my dear

We recently bought a new oil painting for our apartment. As I was examing it, I was struck by the fact that, when looking closely, the picture itself looses focus and you are only able to notice the individual paint strokes. Only once you have backed up enough do you see the picture again. This is most likely due to the fact that when you are too close, your brain is unable to group the brush strokes making up the tree and identify them as representing a tree. If you back up, your brain is able to see enough to fire 'tree' in your brain. 

Much of life appears to be like this, examine something too closely and it starts to fall apart. For example with language and words, when examined they start to look and sound like nonsense. This can easily be experienced by saying the same word over and over again out loud. We start to pay attention to the sequences of sounds we are producing, rather then the meaning behind the word. The picture we are creating with our words starts to fall apart and look like nothing.

A similar phenomenon can be witnessed by looking at matter. The closer and closer we look, the less and less it looks like anything. Seems to be mostly empty space scattered with probabilities of something being there and that something turns out to be not much of anything as well.

Yet there still appears to be something there. Just so long as I am not looking too closely.

1 comment:

Ceetar said...


Don't look at it, maybe it'll go away