Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Inconstancies of nature

In psychophysics, I learned about saccades, movements of the eye.  Whether it is the alternation of day and night, the beat of our hearts or the vibration of atoms, there are many on-and-off rhythms in our bodies and our lives.  We make like someone, and then not like them, and then like them again.  Our ears, an early sense that the body develops as a fetus, detect vibrations.  Our hearts beat continuously while we inhale and exhale.  The seasons roll around and around.

In high school, I was the drum sergeant of our drum corps of drummers, trumpeters and glockenspielers.  I had plenty of chances to practice rhythms and on-and-off sequences.  Many vibrations are too quick for us to detect and many are too slow.

Even on the atomic level, I am told, there is constant movement:

When people look for a book to read, a movie to watch, or a puzzle to do, they often reject those they have already read, watched or assembled.  It can be surprising to re-read a book that affected me deeply.  I have aged since I read it before.  I have changed.  When I read it before, I was younger, less experienced, less aware.  I was different from what I am now.  

When I read or watch a movie, I actually sample the book or the film.  My brain helps me imagine that I see it all continuously but I don't.  Samples vary and the 2nd or 3rd time through, I may be looking for a given moment and not attend to others.  I may be very surprised to find that what I remember is not what the book says or the movie shows.

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