1 Art and the Rise of Consciousness
1. No less important, historically, was the very influential American school of functional-ism, notably Chicago functionalism, led by James Angell (see Hilgard 1987), who proclaimed (Angell's APA Presidential address in 1906) that the mind operates to mediate between the environment and the needs of the organism. American functionalism was applied to many subfields such as child development, clinical psychology, and animal behavior, all of which reflected a psycho-Darwinian adjustment theme. Despite functional-ism's promising beginnings, they were cut short by "objective" psychology as championed by behaviorists.
2. Such conjecture is purely speculative and is based on the assumption that an arrow shot into the air continues on its course. However, it does suggest that various enhanced states of consciousness might be achieved in the future, as some experimental means have already undertaken to do. Some people attempt to realize these "elevated states" through drugs, trances, and meditation. In addition, if consciousness is viewed as a variable, it is conceivable that other creatures, say those from alien civilizations, may have a type of hypercon-sciousness that reveals itself in a form of total awareness of self and of others. Or perhaps a type of consciousness may have evolved that is specifically related to the range of senses detected by a creature's sensory system—much as a dog's "consciousness" might be dominated by olfactory considerations.
1. I have spent many enjoyable hours studying arrowheads found in Colorado, Nebraska, and other parts of the West collected by my grandfather, Dr. J. W. Pressly, Sr. These fascinating artifacts range from instruments exquisitely crafted from proper stone to crudely made rough implements obviously fashioned from the wrong kind of rock. Yet each place a shard has been chipped off has attracted my careful attention. Boswell observed in the Life ofJohnson that "Man is a tool-making animal," and I contemplate the hand that produced these small objects. Who were you? What were your thoughts? How did you live? Die?
2. There are specialists in this sort of thing. Father Breuil, a French Catholic priest of the early twentieth century, described almost every ovoid and subtriangual form as "puden-dummuliebre" or resembling the female genitalia. Others deny this interpretation to the point of prudery. Given what we know about the powerful forces of libidinous hormones coursing through young men's bodies and the images they erect therein, my interpretation clearly favors vulvas. Similar sketches used to decorate toilet walls, hidden corners of corn cribs, and grade school textbooks.
3 Art and Vision
1. This representative date is chosen because it saw Galileo's invention of the telescope.
2. Light at 325 nm is about 1,000 times more damaging to the eye than light at 589 nm (yellow). (See Werner 1998.)
1. The value of "intelligence" as a survival tool is in itself a terrific mystery, especially as the brain—the seat of intellect—is such a fragile, expensive, and awkward bit of survival gear. The improbability of "thinking" as a survival technique is reflected in its rarity on earth, the fact that intelligence did not emerge until the last second of life's terrestrial history, and that intelligent life may be rare to nonexistent outside of the earth.
1. "The Artist's Brain" was part of a larger project called "Artist's Eye Project" initiated by John Tchalenko and sponsored by the Wellcome Trust.
2. While I was traveling in the outback region of Kenya with a group of tourists, a band of Mari natives crowded around our small van. One Mari woman stood out because of what I thought was her spectacular beauty. Thinking my observations were my own, I said nothing to the others, but during dinner that night someone else remarked on the woman's beauty. Then every one of the group, who were from many different countries, confirmed my observation. This Mari woman turned on the "beauty cells" in men and women alike.
6 Illusion: Sensory, Cognitive, and Artistic
1. Without logarithmic transformation, which, in some instances, shows the relationship in linear form.
2. Instruments also suffer from a similar type of calibration problem, which instrument makers are always fretting over.
3. It is difficult to prove an argument of our inability to understand the unknown, as it assumes that the writer knows the unknowable and uses that unknowable knowledge as a basis for showing what we do not know. My logic is based on the acquisition ofknowledge over the past three million years, which has been palpable. Even in the time since the ancient Greeks, technical knowledge has increased considerably. Given the past as a basis for predicting the future, I conclude that knowledge of the cosmos will continue to grow and that more of the unknown will become known. Since human cognitive abilities seem to be reasonably fixed by biological constraints and the accumulation of knowledge seems to be expansive, the "end of knowledge" may actually be an "end of the capacity for human understanding." Major questions of the universe, both physical and philosophic, still are unanswered, and, if answered, may not be understood. Such is the nature of trying to teach calculus to a dog. But then, we will never really know what we cannot know except, perhaps, by means of some type of artificial intelligence tutor who will explain it in "Dick and Jane" language. For further discussion of this topic see Solso 1996 (unfortunately the article is only available in Russian).
4. My thanks go to David R. Topper of the University of Winnipeg for pointing out this effect, as well as commenting on an earlier manuscript. See Topper (1984) for further details.
5. Poggendorff ascribes the figure to F. Zollner, a noted perceptionist known for creating many visual illusions. The illusion became know as the "Poggendorff Illusion" when so called by Boring (1942).
6. The term "first-order isomorphism" was introduced in this context by Roger Shepard. 7 Perspective: The Art of Illusion
1. A similar phenomenon can be observed if you try to touch the ends of each index finger. Try it. Now, close one eye and try it. Why is this difficult? What other cues do you use to do this successfully?
2. Try this little demonstration. Select an object for viewing. Hold up your index fingers, with one closer to your eye than the other. Close one eye. Align the object, your distant finger, your near finger, and your eye. Now, move your head to the right (or left). It appears that both fingers move, but the closer one moves farther and faster while the distant object does not appear to move at all.
3. These simulations, called "virtual reality" systems, are particularly effective in training pilots, astronauts, and the like. Even though this technology represents a significant improvement in recreating the world as it actually is, it is far from convincing. As a subject in one of these contraptions, I can say that the experience resembled "reality," but not for a moment was I convinced that what I saw was "reality." Perhaps the next generation of virtual reality programs will come even closer to the real thing and spin off a new art form. It is predictable that they will find a market in arcade and home computer games. (If they become flawless, a person could, theoretically, have all the benefits of, say, an ocean voyage, a dogfight, or a hunting trip without leaving home.) Developments in this exciting new field bear watching.
4. Indeed, we often find fun in creatures visually confused. Take the cartoon world, in which a recurrent theme comes when a sympathetic character (e.g., the Roadrunner) is pursued by a "villain" (e.g., Wile E. Coyote). The pursued quickly paints a black "tunnel" on a mountainside. The pursuer, running like a flying speedball, perceives the black "tunnel" to have depth and is flattened like a pancake. The theme sometimes gets even more ridiculous when the pursuer actually enters the tunnel only to find he is in a train tunnel and a speeding locomotive is bearing down on him. "Yikes! How could that happen!" The stuff of Saturday morning in America.
1. There is much more to Duchamp's L.H.O.O.Q. than meets the eye. The art critic Robert Hughes comments that the artist "combines [Leonardo's masterpiece] with the schoolboy graffito of the moustache and goatee; but then a further level of anxiety reveals itself, since giving male attributes to the most famous and highly fetishized female portrait ever painted is also a subtler joke on Leonardo's own homosexuality (then a forbidden subject) and on Duchamp's own interest in the confusion of sexual roles" (Hughes 1980, p. 66).
2. The Picasso Museum in Paris contains a wonderful collection of African masks juxtaposed with similar Picasso paintings.
3. It may come as a surprise to many that Rockwell greatly admired Picasso. I have been unable to determine whether the respect was reciprocal.
4. For some people "art is the only true reality." This topic is an honorable theme for philosophic deliberation but, alas, would take us too far afield if considered here.
Was this article helpful?