Light Matter


Light Matter Essay, Research Paper

Inner Light

In order to understand what light is one has to understand how vision works. The process of visual perception is incredibly complex, involving many functions of the brain. In Arthur Zajonc’s book “Catching the Light,” he writes, “?vision requires far more than a functioning physical organ. Without an inner light, without a formative visual imagination, we are blind.” The function of registering visual information, seeing, requires learning to see, in other words, in order to see the light one must posses inner light. The process of visual perception is connected to all the other senses, functions of the body as well as mind. People learn to see by experience. For example: one acquires the knowledge of what any given object is by examining said object from all sides, by holding it, touching it, sometimes even tasting it. One, thus, ?learns’ the object, so that whenever one later sees it, one already knows what it looks like and is able to anticipate the shape and textural qualities of objects related to the original.

Zajonc writes, “The light of the mind must flow into and marry with the light of nature to bring forth a world.” This ability to conceptualize is what makes perception so fascinating. Goethe had written that the inner light, or the ‘organ’ in the body that makes us consciously perceive, is created by light itself. He wrote, “The eye owes its existence to the light. Out of indifferent animal organs the light produces an organ to correspond to itself; and so the eye is formed by the light for the light so that the inner light might meet the outer.” As one becomes older the organ for perception develops more. Our memory is foremost connected to vision; one remembers mostly what one perceived visually, only after that the recollection of other senses and thoughts begins. Our earliest memories come from a period when the conscious visual perception becomes possible. That is why people’s earliest memories vary in age. Every individual develops at different rate. Once one knows, or understands what it is one is seeing, or that one is seeing something at all, the world begins to make sense.

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