— THINKING — 

Entering the Temple Between Our Ears:

Now we get to the amazing part, even more amazing than huge galaxies above us or tiny atoms below us - the greatest mystery of all lies - of all places - between our ears. In the morning, when I look in the mirror I see myself. You and I know, and some other animals know too - when we look in a mirror we see ourselves. But then one day suddenly I knew, as in this young explorer:

eyesbaby

That is the universe looking back at me, exploring.
Click on images for full size in separate window.

Eyes:

Types of animal eyes

The universe has grown eyes - yours - and mine. Eyes developed from natural processes, just like flowers - another amazing development. But there is no evidence that they were created by some magical being or advanced alien. They started from light sensitive spots on cells long ago and grew to meet the needs of emerging organisms. Eyes - Now they are many - looking, and seeing.

eyes03

Even more amazing is the fact that by the time we reach our  level of development, our eyes are attached to, indeed even part of, a large complex network computer - our brain. We now know that some image processing occurs right in the eye itself. It recognizes motion, edges and corners, for example. But when you view a scene in your head, only a small spot in the center is new live information. 

The rest you are seeing is filled in by your brain from past experience and assumptions. It’s making it up!!

Just as we became aware of the tremendous scale of stars and galaxies, atoms and molecules, here we will find that the scale of information around us is even larger. How do we start to understand and represent this magnitude? Try this:

TVindianhead640x480

Remember these test screens from early TV? The picture is made of dots. In the US, the early black and white TV screens started with 640 columns by 480 rows, giving 307,200 dots. So each picture sent to this screen is just a 307,200 bit [binary digit] number = a 92,477 digit decimal number.  We could make a movie containing every possible picture of everything that could ever happen - by producing every possible number from 0 on up, filling 92,477 digits.

Although most of the pictures would be useless snow, At standard TV speeds, it would take more than a human lifetime to see every possible picture. So you can see that this universe has only explored a small portion of the possibilities here thus far. The possible information on a simple TV screen with 307,200 dots greatly exceeds the scale of the known universe. For comparison, our heads have 80 billion neurons and trillions of connections - far, far beyond a mere 307,200 dots on a TV screen.

There are more synapses in your head than there are stars in the Milky Way.

Now we begin to see ... the scale of information and the processor in our heads. There is something far beyond big going on here.  It is even far beyond astronomical - a term we have used in the past to mean tremendous. 

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Next >> Sensation & Awareness

[For more of this, read: 
 The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood, by James Gleick, easy reading;
The Recursive Universe: Cosmic Complexity and the Limits of Scientific Knowledge by William Poundstone, medium reading;
The Mathematical Theory of Communication, by Claude Shannon, a milestone but not easy reading. ]

© Gareth Harris 2017       --------        Contact email: garethharris@mac.com        --------         see also: GarethHarris.com