Archive for November, 2011

David Lynch

Posted in Uncategorized on November 23, 2011 by pauljohnwhite


“You’re walking along and you look over and see some incredible violet and deep purple going to black. The light is hitting it in a certain way. It’s very, very beautiful. And then you  step a little closer. And it’s a dead woman with her stomach ripped open. Now that beautiful thing has turned to absolute horror. It’s a whole ‘nother ball game. But it still drew you in at first and you saw a beauty there. So as soon as something is named…as soon as a cetain thing is known about a certain shape or a colour or whatever…it changes it.”

This quote identifies language as potentially restrictive and through the process of mentally defining and catagorising subjects we can restrict or filter our perceptions. Preconceived ideas of the world may lead us to abject rather than consider potentially beautiful elements within challenging or unconventional material. 

“For some people, the world we see and live in is enough. But once you start wondering about it, it’s just like pulling on a string with no end.”

Quotes found at: The Stool Pidgeon Number 34 September 2011 Junko Partners Publishing London.


Bionic contact lens ‘to project emails before eyes’

Posted in Uncategorized on November 23, 2011 by pauljohnwhite

A new generation of contact lenses that project images in front of the eyes is a step closer after successful animal trials, say scientists. The technology could allow wearers to read floating texts and emails or augment their sight with computer-generated images, Terminator-syle. Seattle’s Washington University which is working on the device says early tests show it is safe and feasible. But there are still wrinkles to iron out, like finding a good power source. Currently, their crude prototype device can only work if it is within centimetres of the wireless battery. And its microcircuitry is only enough for one light-emitting diode, reports the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering. But now that initial safety tests in rabbits have gone well, with no obvious adverse effects, the researchers have renewed faith about the device’s possibilities. They envisage hundreds more pixels could be embedded in the flexible lens to produce complex holographic images. For example, drivers could wear them to see journey directions or their vehicle’s speed projected onto the windscreen. Similarly, the lenses could take the virtual world of video gaming to a new level. They could also provide up-to-date medical information like blood sugar levels by linking to biosensors in the wearer’s body.

Delicate materials

Lead researcher Professor Babak Parviz said: “Our next goal is to incorporate some predetermined text in the contact lens.” He said his team had already overcome a major hurdle to this, which is getting the human eye to focus on an image generated on its surface. Normally, we can only see objects clearly if they are held several centimetres away from the eye. The scientists, working with colleagues at Aalto University in Finland, have now adapted the lenses to shorten the focal distance. Building the end product was a challenge because materials used to make conventional contact lenses are delicate. Manufacturing electrical circuits, however, involves inorganic materials, scorching temperatures and toxic chemicals. Researchers built the circuits from layers of metal only a few nanometres thick, about one thousandth the width of a human hair, and constructed light-emitting diodes measuring one third of a millimetre across. Dr Parviz and his team are not the only scientists working on this type of technology. A Swiss company called Sensimed has already brought to market a smart contact lens that uses inbuilt computer technology to monitor pressure inside the eye to keep tabs on the eye condition glaucoma.
Article found at: and accessed 23/11/2011

The ‘Lived Body’ and the ‘Corporeal Body’

Posted in Uncategorized on November 15, 2011 by pauljohnwhite

Phenomenologists usually distinguish between the lived body and the corporeal body (e.g., Merleau-Ponty, 1945/1962). The lived body designates the body from which we live in relation to important projects that matter to us (Leder, 1990). The surface body that contains our sensory organs self-effaces so that it can put up before itself the sensory world of our lived experience of others and things. However, in moments of disruption, such as in illness, clumsiness, or exposure to the judgements of other people, the lived body becomes an object of our attention. in these moments, the body appears as the corporeal body (Fuchs, 2003). The corporeal body can therefore be conceptualized as the body-subject turned toward itself as a body-object. Embarrassment and the “self conscious” emotions seem to always occur within dynamics in which the lived body is momentarily reduced to the corporeal body.

Roberts, B (2006) The Unwanted Exposure of the Self: A Phenomenological Study of Embarrassment. THE HUMANISTIC PSYCHOLOGIST. 34(4), 321-345. Laurence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

The Solipsist

Posted in Uncategorized on November 8, 2011 by pauljohnwhite

On the face of it, it’s fairly simple to discover whether a person is conscious at a given time or not. When people are conscious, they tend to move, talk, and respond to external stimuli such as kicks, pricks, pinches and punches. When people are unconscious, they tend to remain stationary and relatively quiet, they don’t respond, at least in the normal way to external stimuli, they fall over when forcibly propped against walls, and so on. We can only say ‘tend to’ since there are grey areas like sleepwalking or daydreaming. But these do not alter the fact that there are many cases in which no doubt involved, and some symptoms of consciousness which are overwhelmingly reliable. In no sense are we always, or even often, in the dark about whether a human being is conscious.

But let us now ask: what status does this certainty have? We must remind ourselves of an important distinction between two ways in which the word ‘certain’ is used. In one way of using it, the certainty lies in the mind of the person who is certain of the thing in question. For example, I am certain that I have a pipe in my jacket pocket, though I recognise that it is possible that I am mistaken. My turning out to be mistaken would not convince me that I had not been certain of it at all. In another way of using it, the certainty lies in the fact itself: it is certain because it could not be otherwise

Now in which sense are we certain, at least in the clearest, most central cases, that if people talk, respond, move about without bumping into things etc., then they are in fact conscious? It seems that it cannot be the latter, stronger sense, since it is possible (i.e. involves no contradiction) to imagine just such physical creatures which do all these things and yet are not conscious, but have no point of view on the world, have an ‘outside’ but no ‘inside’. We can imagine, in other words, all these kinds of behaviour being exhibited without there being ‘anyone at home’.

But if we must accept that our certainty that other people are conscious is only a matter of being ‘certain in our own minds’, then there is a logical gap between the premise (the fact that such behaviour is exhibited) and the conclusion (that consciousness is present). And if there is such a gap between the evidence and what is the evidence for, then, it may be argued, there is room for doubt. And if there is room for doubt, then surely we must not regard as totally unreasonable, a person who seriously thinks there are no other minds in his world than his own – who really believes that other people are automata whose characteristics are exhausted by the physical aspect they present, or could present to him. A person takes this view is a solipsist…

Of course, how reasonable we think the solipsist’s position to be must depend upon how good we think the evidence is for the consciousness of other people…We will look at an even stronger argument for the solipsist, to the effect that the ‘evidence’ for other people’s consciousness is not just inconclusive, but is really no evidence  at all. (pp16-18)

Brown.G (1989) Minds, Brains and Machines. Bristol Classical Press. Bristol

Aldous Huxley: The Devils of Loudon (comments on perception and self-transcendence)

Posted in Uncategorized on November 8, 2011 by pauljohnwhite

When the phenomoenal ego transcends itself, the essential Self is free to realise, in terms of a finite consciousness, the fact of its own eternity, together with the correlative fact that every particular in the world of experience partakes of the timeless and the infinite…In this state of union objects are no longer perceived as related to an insulated ego, but are known “as they are in themselves” – in other words, as they are in relation to, in ultiate identity with, the divine Ground of all being. (pp80-83)

Physical austerities may be made the instruments of horizontal or even upward self-transcendence. When the body goes hungry, there is often a period of unusual mental lucidity. A lack of sleep tends to lower the threshold between the conscious and the subconscious…Practiced by men of prayer, these self-punishments may actually facilitate the process of upward self-transcendence…more frequently, however, they give access…to the more personal levels of the subcoscious and conscious mind. (p91)