Friday, June 17, 2016

Fwd: Missed it!

As with yesterday morning, this bounced badly.  And, like yesterday, I am trying again. Bill

Have you heard of the "panopticon"?  The philosopher Jeremy Bentham thought his design for a building to house prisoners would be a good one.  He recommended several floors all built in a circle with a guard in the center.  The cells were to be built in rays off that center so the guard could see what was going on in each cell.  This was all before electrification and closed circuit tv.  As far as I can tell, such a structure was never built.

But that is ok, since we can't see it all no matter what we do.  We cannot stop the passage of time and we cannot see everything, period.  Bentham's name "pan opticon" is supposed to convey the message of "see all".  You know if the sleepy, tired guard is facing east, he is not going to see the prisoner in a cell on the west reading forbidden literature.  He would have to turn around.  But if he does turn around, he might not see misbehavior on the east.

But the problem of attending to everything is bigger than which direction the eyes face.  The ol' noggin, the brains, the master control of the brain and the mind cannot attend to everything.  In fact, if it could, it wouldn't choose to do so.  Not everything is worth seeing or noting or attending to.  The older I get, the more I know.  The more I know, the more I realize what I don't know.  As soon as I learn about something, hear about an event, read a comment, see what happened, I immediately have questions and wonderings.  While I am deciding whether any of those questions and wonderings are worth Googling, other stuff is happening that I miss.

Just last night, we were watching the final episode of "Bosch" on Amazon TV.  I can't always hear what the characters are saying.  While I am looking at the captions, I miss that the bad guy is opening a box of hand grenades.  I can't get it all.  As I gain in the ability to empathize, I realize how the bad guy's family is going to feel when they hear about his demise in a gun fight.  While I am sad for how sad his mother and brother are going to feel about his death, I miss the conversation between Bosch and his partner.  

I am missing things.  When I think about this, I am not thinking about that.  When I notice the pickpocket's hand on my wallet, I miss his other hand on my car keys.  When I sympathize with my brother, I am missing the fretting of my sister.   I am always behind.

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