Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Extra Sensory

I have as little sense of motion as those who supposedly thought the earth was the center of all.

Perhaps it is.

Yet it remains, the same phenomenon that has been observed for generations of time.

I pointed out one time to a group of elders that on that Super Bowl Sunday, millions of people would experience the same illusion, believing that they are "watching" a football game. They were not watching the game per se, but a televised facsimile of one. You might be wont to assert that this is a distinction without a difference, but physical presence can be important, even vital at times.

Our world is dominated and filled with forces we cannot sense. Yet we believe in them, and even use them without thought. Electricity and magnetism are so integral to our machines that we don't give a second's thought. But they would cease to run without that unseen force.

Maybe seeing is believing. But not seeing can be a sure thing too, at times.

From the writings of Alma, in the Book of Mormon:

"...And now as I said concerning faithafaith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye bhope for things which are cnot seen, which are true." (Alma 32:21)


Billy Bob Bambino Bombabious Baby the Third said...

This is an interesting point. People pay lots of money to fly to the Louvre to stand in front of perhaps the most famous painting in the world - one which they are already intimately familiar - the Mona Lisa. Even then they are forced to stand back and gaze at it through protective glass...

We discussed this a lot in architectural theory classes that I taught. There is something valuable in the original that is missing from a copy. Lithographs may accurately reproduce the image, but the cache of actually being there is lost. Thus a postcard with the Mona Lisa is 50 cents, while the actual Mona Lisa, with presumably the same educational value, is priceless.

With television/movies/photographs the line is blurred. There is no real reason to own the original of a movie. Because it is readily reproducable and each copy is exactly the same there's no added importance to the original. It becomes relevant to the person due to shared experience and emotional attachment. But if I had to exchange my copy of Star Wars for another, I would not be upset. In fact, I would probably be happy because then I could find the DVD instead of watching it on my old VHS...

So much of our world has been created/altered/influenced by machines that we have become desensitized to the reality of a lot of things. Our experiences are being tailored for our comfort, convenience, etc. We live in air conditioned spaces and complain about the heat. We drive or fly in extremely fast machines and complain about how long it takes to get anywhere. Again, I am not a Luddite, but I think that we are fairly insulated against the very things that make us alive as human beings...

Jim Cobabe said...


Your comments parallel my thought well today. Thank you.

The inventors of devices that allow us to project false realities so effectively would be amazed at what has been wrought with the technology they started. Phil Farnsworth turns in his grave.

I made my comment about the Super Bowl after someone commented about the twelve witnesses of the Book of Mormon, and asserted that it would be impossible for twelve men to experience the same delusion. Yet we routinely engage in just such magic today, and nobody thinks much of it.

Thomas said...

Have you ever attempted a time lapse of the night sky? Make a pinhole camera and let it expose from 10 PM and 4 AM. This will show you the movement of the stars in relation to the Earth's inhabitants. Then you will get a real sense of movement.

Jim Cobabe said...


Thanks for that astute observation. Astronomers of the ancient times did see the rotation of the heavens, but apparently some of them misinterpreted what they saw, as the Copernicus episode seems to indicate. I hope we learn more then his contemporaries about the movement of starry bodies.