Reflections on reflected light source information

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

This is a bit of a ramble, but its something I've been ruminating on for years. Its the first time I've written on the subject, so I apologize for any and all discontinuities you might find if your brave enough to continue!

Throughout our evolution, Homo Sapiens have received and processed visual information via reflected-light sources, save for fire and the stars, the only sources of direct light available to us for thousands of years. During World War Two the cathode ray tubes of RADAR, the SONAR became our first direct light information sources (statement unsubstantiated).
From these beginnings came television, our first mass direct-light source medium. Television's evolved into the computer monitor and the iPhone touch screen so direct-light-source media is now in almost every home, hand, classroom, and workplace in our culture.
For thousands of years prior to television and the computer monitor, our brains evolved almost exclusively processing reflected-light source visual information. Information that effects our old brain, that part of concerned with survival issues... food, danger perception, and reproduction among them; information also effecting our mid brain, where our emotions are generated, and our new brain or consciousness. So its only since the 1940's our brains have been processing direct-light information sources.
My question: Are direct-light sources as effective as reflected-light sources in activating subjective cognition in our minds?
I'd like you to think of favourite movie you saw years ago... can you conjure images and feelings that movie evoked as you saw it (a light source projected onto a screen and then reflected back to your eye, and then to your brain) ? I think you probably can. Now, think of a television show you saw two weeks ago... can you conjure the same clarity of image recollection, or of feeling they evoked in you? I think probably not. Is that because our brains have not evolved to process those direct-light images as deeply as those reflected light source images you experienced in a movie theatre?
Think about it. Then think about the effectiveness of so called direct-light "learning" sources being promoted today. Think about the ramifications of this thesis. RSD

7 comments:

Trevor said...

Semaphores, hilltop signal lights, lighthouses: admittedly they only transmitted a small amount of data, but they were direct-light information transfer long ago.

Rocket Science said...

Hi Trevor, you've a point, though those examples are stricly binary, on and off, and symbolize a predetermined convention rather than convey intrinsic information.
Your thoughts?

paul.nystedt said...

Greetings Denton, Another example of transmitted light, that may be pertinent to your thesis, is stained glass. It is one example of transmitted light, pre-1940’s, or pre-this millinium, that doesn’t entirely fit into the mould, as it was meant to teach and inspired awe. Though, perhaps, this is still one of the emotions current forms of transmitted light illicit are also meant to illicit, awe that is. A ponderable.

Coffee said...

Oh, you sparked a thought here...

Direct light learning sources have been predominant in Mac's education - since he was 2 he has been using the computer to learn. His knowledge base is inspiring and a bit precocious. He doesn't feel he would get anything from a traditional university education because he is so well educated through reading and his direct learning sources, including the television and channels like the Discovery, History, etc. I believe that the direct light learning has served him well.

Now, where you sparked my brain is in relationship to the emotions. I am wondering if there is a connection with what I percieve as a lack of emotional ties and connection to much of anything in his generation. It seems to be all about them that brings them happiness.

Mac is well connected with us, but in watching his group of friends and through some of his conversations with us, I have the impression that emotional attachment is missing in their lives.

Do you think this element may be a piece of your theory?

Denton said...

Paul,
What an interesting addition to historically available direct light-sources!
I wonder, could it be said an illustrated stained glass window, when viewed directly, is designed to tell its specific story, so it's legitimate for us to interpret that story as a transmission of rational data?
Conversely, all that coloured light reflecting off church interiors and illuminating dust motes to create magical rainbows of light within churches, from cathedrals to chapels enhance the spiritual, or subjective experience of religious interiors.
I wonder, might we then say the power of direct light lies in the transmission of the rational while the magic of reflected light lies in the creation of the subjective?

Denton said...

In response to Coffee's post above:

Its interesting to read of Mac's knowledge without an emotional connection. It seems to fit in with my response to Paul's comment about the nature of stained glass. That direct light's more appropriate to the transmission of data while reflected light is more appropriate in adding subjective context.

paul.nystedt said...

Greetings Denton, I know there's a difference between direct light, and reflective light transmission, with respect to learning, and I continue to think about your current theory. We are drawn to the light of the sun, the greatest form of direct light transmission we live with, like a plant; to bask, to be brought out of the dark, to be stimulated. However, this relationship with transmitted light may be beyond the pale of the current theory of forms of light and forms of learning.

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