15 Matching Annotations
  1. Mar 2023
    1. Although Virgil, MM and others like them certainly possess a rudimentary form of vision, decades of visual deprivation may never be completely redeemable. The human brain has an amazing capacity for plasticity, but there are some things that it cannot do. MM will likely never see the way that we see.

      // Gradients of perceptual experiences of reality - The sense impaired teach us something fundamental about human nature. - The majority of non-sense-impaired people create the cultural norms of reality - but this reality can be very different for the sense impaired - Our reality is, to a large extent constructed from by our brain and depends on critical sensory inputs - But what is the brain itself, this magical organ that makes sense of reality? - The answer is going to vary depending on the subject experiencing it as well

    2. MM's visual capacities continue to improve, but he also remains somewhat uncomfortable with his new sense. As a blind person, MM became extremely proficient at skiing, with the help of a guide to give him oral directions. After his eyesight was restored, skiing frightened him. The trees, snow, slopes, people -- everything whizzed by him, chaotic and uninterpretable. After much practice, he is now a moderate sighted skiier -- but when he really wants to go fast and feel confident, he closes his eyes.

      // In Other Words - when sensory organs fail while we are young - we may construct different interpretations, and therefor experiences of our perceived realities - and adapt to them effortlessly. - If not for social stigma from the normative population, they would not know the difference - once we've adapted to sensory abnormalities, - a return to the normative way of experiencing reality via some medical intervention - that corrects a deficient sensory modality - is not guarantied to create the normative perceptual experience ordinary people have

    3. There is a window of opportunity in youth, often called a critical period, during which the brain can best form neural connections that correspond both to retinal images and to practical experience. During the critical period for the visual cortex, normal visual input is required to wire everything correctly. If input is missing during this period, the brain's links will probably not be built correctly. In fact, brain tissue ordinarily used in visual processing might even be taken over by other systems, perhaps tactile or olfactory systems. Some of MM's visual abilities lend further support to the theory that he missed a critical period of visual development. He is quite good at visual tasks that involve motion. Tasks that stumped him at first often became solvable if motion was incorporated into them. He became able to detect the circular patterns in random noise if the patterns were moving. And he began to see the "square with lines" as a cube if the lines moved, and the cube appeared to be rotating. At the end of their evaluations, the researchers saw some patterns emerging in MM's visual abilities and deficiencies. His ability to detect and identify simple form, color, and motion is essentially normal. His ability to detect and identify complex, three-dimensional forms, objects, and faces is severely impaired. The researchers have a tentative explanation for these variations in visual skill. Motion processing develops very early in infancy compared with form processing. By the time MM lost his eyesight in the accident, the motion centers in his brain were probably nearly complete. So when he regained some eyesight in his forties, those connections in the brain were ready to go. The parts of the brain that process complex shapes, however, do not develop until later in childhood, so MM's brain likely missed its chance to establish those particular brain connections. The authors also propose that our brains may retain the ability to modify and refine complex form identifications throughout life, not just throughout childhood. New objects and faces are continually encountered throughout life, and our visual processing centers must be able to adapt and learn to see new shapes and forms. MM's brain never had the chance to learn.

      // summary - MM could perform better if motion was involved - It is known that motion processing develops very early in infancy, whilst form processing occurs much later - the researchers hypothesized that when MM had his accident, he had already experienced enough motion processing to be familiar with it, but had not had any opportunity to perform form processing yet. - He missed the early opportunity and other brain functions took over those plastic areas, crowding out the normally reserved functional development


    4. his problems didn't seem to be vision deficiencies so much as visual interpretation deficiencies. And deficiencies of this sort lie not with the retina's ability to perceive light and color, but with the brain's ability to process the retina's signals correctly. We usually do not think of the above problems as involving interpretation, because we have performed these interpretations so many times, and from such a young age. But since MM lost his sight at an early stage of development, since he had no visual input into his brain after age three, the researchers suspect that the visual centers in his brain did not develop normally -- and now, they likely never will.

      // Interpretation, rather than sensory deficiency - paraphrase - summary - This loss of normative vision is due not to anything physiological, - but to the way the brain has been starved of real-life training experiences since childhood - the early years of our childhood are critical - to train the brain how to interpret the sensory signals - in order to form the normative perceptions we experience as adults


    5. By far the most difficult tasks for MM involve three-dimensional interpretation of his environment. When an image is projected onto the retina, it is two dimensional, because the retina is essentially flat. When we are very young, our brains learn to use depth cues, such as shadows and line perspective, to see the three-dimensional world. Eventually, incorporating these cues into a coherent picture of the world becomes involuntary. Our ability to judge size correctly is one example of the brain's reinterpretation of two-dimensonal images. When a person walks away from us, the image of her becomes smaller and smaller on our retina. We know that people do not actually shrink as they move away, however. The brain combines the shrinking retinal image with perspective and depth cues from the surroundings, and we "decide" that the person is moving away. When MM lost his sight when he was three years old, his brain probably had not yet constructed the connections that incorporate separate perceptions into one combined perception. When a person walks away from MM, he has to remind himself that the person is not actually shrinking in size!

      // Constructing 3D interpretation of visual information - most adults take for granted that an "object" has a fixed "size" - this depends on learning how to synchronize depth cues and shrinking retinal image size.at an early age - when we lose that ability, it dramatically impacts our perceptual construction of vision


    6. constructing our perceptual reality

  2. Jul 2022
    1. Filing is certainlynot their goal.

      I'm reminded here of the old aphorism "Out of sight is out of mind."

      This harkens back to the idea of oral cultures using their environments as memory palaces to remember their culture, laws, and knowledge. Things being within sight mean that they were immediately brought to mind.

      For an office worker, filing an item is tantamount to literally putting both out of their sight as well as their mind.

      Compare this to the more advanced zettelkasten methods where knowledge workers file everything away out of their sight, but with the tacit idea that they'll be regularly revisiting their ideas on index cards to link other ideas to them to keep building upon them. While things may be temporarily out of mind, they're regularly recycled and linked to new ideas. Their re-emergence can cause them to be remembered, re-contextualized, and often feel like serendipity for linking to other ideas in one's collection.

  3. Feb 2021
    1. the "love machine," an apparatus designed to measure love. Usually these tests are begun when the monkey is 10 days of age, but this same persistent visual exploration has been obtained in a three-day-old monkey during the first half-hour of testing.

      While the apparatus was meant to see if there is an attachment to the cloth mother versus the wire mother or empty box. The monkey did not discriminate and opened the box no matter what was in it. There may be another type of connection that was needed besides just visual cues.

  4. Nov 2020
  5. icla2020b.jonreeve.com icla2020b.jonreeve.com
    1. gazed

      The language of sight here in the opening personifies the houses on the street, and sets the empty house as being even further isolated than just physically being at the blind end. The language of sight and blindness continues in the story, with the boy's glimpses of the woman motivating his journey. I'd be interested to trace that across all the stories here

  6. Oct 2018
    1. When irrationalism, as the counterplay of rationalism, talks about the things to which rationalism is blind, it does so only with a squint.

      Heidegger: "When irrationalism, as the counterplay of rationalism, talks about the things to which rationalism is blind, it does so only with a squint" || c.f. the narrowing / dimming of the optical field implied by the squint with the optics of disclosure and the rhetoric of blindness (de Man)

  7. Oct 2016
    1. With a wicked pack of cards.

      The clairvoyante’s cards seem to be Tarot cards in this stanza.

      Most obviously, “The Hanged Man” is the name of one of the major arcana/trumps, representing a traitorous person, or a crossroads. “The Wheel [of Fortune]” is also a trump, and represents change and movement, and the cycle of life.

      The other cards all appear to be minor arcana. “The drowned Phoenician Sailor” seems to refer to the Ten of Swords, representing anguish and defeat, but with a chance of hope. (It is considered one of the most negative cards.) “Belladonna / Lady of the Rocks / Lady of Situations” is the Queen of Cups, representing a difficult road with a large reward at the end. “The man with three staves” is the Three of Wands, representing a journey, or hope for renewal. (Interestingly, this card often depicts a man looking out on a wasteland.) Finally, “the one-eyed merchant” would likely be the Six of Pentacles/Coins, representing equality and generosity.

      This could be read into much more deeply than the general meanings of each card, but overall, the message appears to be “bleak, but with hope of salvation or reparation.”

    2. Those are pearls that were his eyes

      This piece is repeated from the first book of the poem during the tarot reading. This repetition draws me back to that and makes me think that section has power through the entire poem. Not only that, but it takes on new meaning because this book has great emphasis on wealth and material items.

    3. Tiresias

      as previously mentioned, Tiresias lived life both as a man initially, but he was transformed into a women for several years. He makes appearances in many Greek legends and stories, but the one that stands out to many is his role in Oedipus the King. He speaks truths that people often don't want to know (like when Oedipus asks who killed Laius). His prophesies always come true through the actions of others (even as they try to prevent it). Even in the afterlife, he advises Odysseus, which is what is alluded to in the following line: "bring the sailor home from sea." Tiresias experiences a doubleness which allows him to see more.

  8. Jun 2015
    1. exposed the limitations of assuming that colour is straightfor- wardly a visual phenomenon
    1. glancing, glimpsing, scanning, surveying, and other forms of casual or disinterested looking, staring

      I like the diversity of ways of looking laid out for us here.