Blog #3

William James and Rita Carter although coming from two different time periods shared some similar views in terms of the consciousness.  Carter seems to argue how our consciousness provides us with a delayed world consisting of mostly illusion.  Our consciousness constructs this delayed scene in which we are virtually blind to most of the picture.  She used an example of how you could be driving for miles with no memory of it, or read a page and at the end have no recollection of what you read.  This “inattentional blindness” primes us to ignore things we are not looking for.  This is similar to “change blindness.”  Certain things can be altered without the mind being conscious of it.  According to Carter, “Within the moment visual consciousness is not, then, the rich and detailed panorama we think it is.  It is limited to a handful of clear perceptions, and the apparent detail is an illusion.  Our minds are fooled because consciousness unfolds in time, and the construction of the experience depends on merging the consciousness of one moment with that of the next.”  Our predetermined perceptions of the world from previous encounters will layer our present visual more than the perceptions we are witnessing of the visual right now.  This is why people with Anton’s delusion think they can still see.  They are viewing the world from their consciousness just like us except that their consciousness is unable to make the necessary tweaks to the new folds of their surroundings.  Our consciousness is prone to approach similar visuals in much the same manner.  As James points out something as simple as grass has so many elements in it.  Shades of green, smell and length are all characteristics our conscious is prone to skip unless the length of the grass is brought to the attention of the consciousness.   “The grass out of the window now looks to me the same green in the sun as in the shade, and yet a painter would have to paint one part of it dark brown, another part bright yellow, to give its real sensational effect…The sameness of the things is what we are concerned to ascertain; and any sensations that will assure us of that will probably be considered in a rough way to be the same with each other.”(James.)  This idea is similar to the one Carter makes and the cycle that someone with Anton’s delusion is doing at every moment.  Our consciousness is our reality but our reality isn’t necessarily reality in the sense of the word.

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