One aspect of perception that hasn't been well explored is our remarkable ability to build a long-lasting template from a few occasional inputs.
Example just now:
I keep a little 40-watt incandescent table lamp behind the washer and dryer. When winter starts, I turn on the bulb and leave it on until we're safely out of hard frost. The laundry room doesn't have a proper heater, so it tends to stay about 20 degrees above outside temps in winter. The bulb is just enough to prevent the washer and hoses from freezing on the worst days.
Two days ago I decided that the hard frosts were done for this year, so I turned off the lamp.
This morning I ran laundry. As I stepped into the laundry room, I was peripherally startled by SOMETHING DARK AND THREATENING behind the washer! ACK! What was that horrible THING?
Oh. It was just the lack of light
after 6 months of seeing the light every time I stepped into the laundry room.
Seeing the light from this angle is a perceptual input that happens for about 1/4 second every three days. Yet these occasional split seconds are enough to establish a firm baseline, and enough to cause a momentary panic reaction when reality differs from the internal template.
Life is all about adaptation and deltas. Brightness deltas, color deltas, spatial deltas, temporal deltas, temperature deltas, pressure deltas, hormone deltas, aroma deltas, loudness deltas, frequency deltas, change-of-frequency deltas, dialect deltas, velocity deltas, acceleration deltas, change-of-acceleration deltas..... It's deltas all the way down.
Labels: Danbo, TMI