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Is there a finite number of different images we can possibly see?


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As I understand it, there is a finite number of photo receptors in our eyes, laid out in an irregular mosaic. When light enters our eyes and strikes the retina, the photo receptors send an electrical signal along a chain of nerve cells to the brain. The Brain knows the signal came from a photo receptor because it knows where each and every nerve it wired to. Kind of like a security guard sitting at a control panel, if an alarm is tripped a light comes on, the guard knows where the intruder is because the light is labelled. From there the brain cobbles the signals together into our perception.

But this is what bothers me. Does this mean we can only perceive a finite number of different images?

Based on what I know, what we see must be made up of dots, each one a solid signal streamed from a photo receptor in our eye. I found an article that said that's exactly what happens, that the eye is like a digital camera and the brain smooths out the image so wee don't notice. They had this image:

MitZ1.png

 

But all digital cameras have a finite number of possible images they can capture, it's an inescapable result of their basic mechanism. There was even an art exhibit, a machine programmed to create every possible digital image by going through all the combinations.

I'm afraid that our eyes have the same limitation, if what we see is made up of organic "pixels", even if each one can light up at an infinite variation of intensities, it's still those fixed dots and each one a solid colour right? It would be like looking at the world through a colander but each hole shows only one solid colour, there are going to be things in between that you simply can't see.

Is this how eyesight works? This has been on my mind for a long time.

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Ok, I'll give it my last shot, being as there is no YES or NO answer. It is both KINDA and KINDA NOT. The eye has individual photoreceptors that are akin to pixels. There are 125 million of them

Your Question: “Is there a finite number of different images we can possibly see?”   You requested a Yes or No response and, in my opinion, the answer is No. In case you are interested

Light does not have a infinite number of frequencies you can see in the equation E=hf  that the frequency of light times the plank's constant is the energy and from that surmise that energy levels are

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2 hours ago, Omnifarious said:

I'm afraid that our eyes have the same limitation, if what we see is made up of organic "pixels", even if each one can light up at an infinite variation of intensities, it's still those fixed dots and each one a solid colour right? It would be like looking at the world through a colander but each hole shows only one solid colour, there are going to be things in between that you simply can't see.

Is this how eyesight works? This has been on my mind for a long time.

I believe the limitation does not lie so much in the ability of the eye to transmit what it observes as the ability of the brain to translate the information it receives. The brain is a prediction machine and what we see is the translation by the brain of purely electro-chemical information being transferred by the neurons. If the brain does not have the data for translation it is unable to "imagine" what the eyes are "seeing".

Example: 

image.jpeg.85527f775ca7b6e22417d2f6ffb32895.jpeg   ...............image.jpeg.38b4b254a919696107b2ec4e7eec006c.jpeg

 

Note that B is the identical shade of gray as A. But if we do not connect them the brain imagines that B is a lighter shade than A . The reason for this is that the brain knows that an item in the shade appears darker and makes a perceptual correction presenting it as lighter than it is. This is an evolved survival mechanism in the real world.

Even as we know A and B are identical the brain is unable to present this to your conscious image. It is really uncanny how such a internal deception can take place, but survival strategies can override actual  reality. Anil Seth calls this "controlled hallucination"

This excellent condensed lecture by Anil Seth is truly remarkable and informative.

 

 

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On 2/8/2021 at 5:58 AM, write4u said:

I believe the limitation does not lie so much in the ability of the eye to transmit what it observes as the ability of the brain to translate the information it receives. The brain is a prediction machine and what we see is the translation by the brain of purely electro-chemical information being transferred by the neurons. If the brain does not have the data for translation it is unable to "imagine" what the eyes are "seeing".

With all due respect I'm focusing on our ability to perceive the real world which is directly limited to what our eyes can send it.

Also, is the video you sent me implying that there is no afterlife?

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2 hours ago, Omnifarious said:

With all due respect I'm focusing on our ability to perceive the real world which is directly limited to what our eyes can send it.

Also, is the video you sent me implying that there is no afterlife?

The real world exists whether we can observe it or not. It is the brain that is the perceiver (translator) of a stream of electro-chemical information and if the brain is not familiar with the information it perceives it cannot recognize it. 

 Visualize a morse code. If you have learned morse you can read it. If not Its just a series of  duh duh duh daah daah daah sounds.

The audio part of the lecture clearly demonstrated this inability of separating unfamiliar sounds and the immediate perceptive clarity after the words were provided. The brain is a prediction engine, but it cannot predict what it doesn't know.

When the brain dies there is only oblivion and no after life other than as a disintegrating body of individual molecules. Your afterlife may be part of a flower growing on your grave or a memory in your friends (legacy).

But when you die, YOU cease to exist, utterly and completely. There is nothing to be afraid of. NOTHING AT ALL!

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2 hours ago, write4u said:

 

But when you die, YOU cease to exist, utterly and completely. There is nothing to be afraid of. NOTHING AT ALL!

Actually the idea there is no afterlife scares me more then ANYTHING and I'm not going to change that opinion. I agree that there is nothing to be afraid of, the nothing is there to be afraid of, I'm terrified by the idea of nothing, just contemplating the idea of nothing gives me panic attacks. And I would appreciate it if you would acknowledge that what you posted last was an opinion. One shared by you, possibly the man in the video and some other people in the world. But it can only be an opinion because it's not a proven fact.

Are you sure that was what the man in the video was talking about anyway?

But to talk about my original question, does the eye send that kind of digital image to the brain?

I would also appreciate hearing from some other members as well.

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3 hours ago, Omnifarious said:

One shared by you, possibly the man in the video and some other people in the world. But it can only be an opinion because it's not a proven fact.

Are you sure that was what the man in the video was talking about anyway?

Sorry that this scares you. But if you have ever been under total anesthesia you should know that there is nothing to be scared of. There is nothing at all. 

I have been under total anesthesia and I can testify there was nothing to be scared of during that time.. In three weeks I'll be under total anesthesia again for a heart ablation. After that surgery I'll wake up or not. Personally I'll be pleased if I do wake up, but if I don't I won't ever be aware of it. It will be as if I never existed at all.

This is a proven fact.

Watch the video again (I have watched it 15 times) and "listen" to what that scientist is saying about being under anesthesia, as compared to waking up from a deep sleep.

It is the YOU (your brain) that creates your reality. If YOU cease to exist there is no longer a reality to be afraid of. It won't be heaven or hell, it won't be anything at all, but YOU won't care because YOU no longer exist. 

I'll admit I am an old man and have lived a long and very interesting life. I could write a novel of my life's adventures.  I would make a guess you are  a young man and have much to look forward to, which is a matter of concern. But trust me, when you do finally die, there is nothing to be afraid of.

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MitZ1.png

 

Note that in order to understand the electrical signals that spell A in your brain, your brain must first know what is. This is an important consideration and explains why we need schooling to "learn" to read and write the alphabet.  Note the difficulty some dyslexic kids have in reading and writing. It is their brain that has a problem in storing and recalling what has been learned so that it can properly interpret what it experiences. 

Dyslexia 

image.jpeg.78c59bc62095bfeba25db09b16020977.jpeg

 
A learning disorder characterized by difficulty reading.
Dyslexia occurs in children with normal vision and intelligence.
Symptoms include late talking, learning new words slowly, and a delay in learning to read.
Most children with dyslexia can succeed in school with tutoring or a specialized education program.

This ability is essential in consciously observing and experiencing all external information and sub-consciously experiencing and controlling your own bodily functions.  Hence Anil Seth's use of the term "controlled hallucination".

It also allows us to experience empathy, where our brain acts as a "mirror neural network" which allows us to experience someone else's emotional experiences, such as pain.  Have you ever winced watching someone else being hurt?  That is your neural network reflecting the situation and producing the same chemical responses that makes a person wince. It is what makes you drool watching someone eat a tasty morsel.

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2 hours ago, write4u said:

 

Note that in order to understand the electrical signals that spell A in your brain, your brain must first know what is. This is an important consideration and explains why we need schooling to "learn" to read and write the alphabet.  Note what difficulty some dyslexic kids have in reading and writing. It is their brain that has a problem in storing and recalling what has been learned so that it can properly interpret what it experiences. 

 

I'm not asking about the brain, just the eye, the retina photo receptors and optic nerve. Does it work as I fear, does science know for sure how these things work and how does it know that? 

3 hours ago, write4u said:

Watch the video again (I have watched it 15 times) and "listen" to what that scientist is saying about being under anesthesia, as compared to waking up from a deep sleep.

Ok I've watched it but I'm still not sure if he's saying there is no afterlife either way. There is a difference between being unconscious and being dead. Please just spit it out.

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2 minutes ago, Omnifarious said:

I'm not asking about the brain, just the eye, the retina photo receptors and optic nerve. Does it work as I fear, does science know for sure how these things work and how does it know that? 

This is the structure 

 

Figure 1. Structure and function of the eye. (A) Vertical sagittal section of the adult human eye, and schematic of human peripheral retina (Panel adapted from Webvision and reprinted with permission from webvision@hsc. utah.edu # 2011.) (B) Schematic enlargement of retinal cells. (Panel adapted from Roy et al. [2010] and reprinted, with permission, from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. # 2010.)

Figure 1. Structure and function of the eye. (A) Vertical sagittal section of the adult human eye, and schematic of human peripheral retina (Panel adapted from Webvision and reprinted with permission from [email protected]… Continue Reading

https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Protein-misfolding-and-retinal-degeneration.-Tzekov-Stein/a2159ab94b4e227c2973a28c8f18cb25e84ede39/figure/0

The rods and cones capture the wave frequencies and translate them into electric signals which are transported to the brain for translation and visualization.

The eye itself is no more than a lens and the retina contains the color sensitive nerves (rods and cones), but the eye does not produce an image. The image is produced by the brain. This is how you can imagine objects while your eyes are closed or when asleep and dreaming. The experience of seeing happens inside the brain. 

When a person is color blind areas of the retina have damaged or faulty rods and cones and that prevents the color coding of some colors, even as the brain might be capable of translating the information.

A perfect example is in demonstrated in the color correcting glasses which  correct some of the color mixing in the retina.

 

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12 hours ago, write4u said:

 

The eye itself is no more than a lens and the retina contains the color sensitive nerves (rods and cones), but the eye does not produce an image. The image is produced by the brain. This is how you can imagine objects while your eyes are closed or when asleep and dreaming. The experience of seeing happens inside the brain.

 

I know the eye does not actually produce the image and I know that seeing happens within the brain. 

But what I am concerned with is the ability of humans to perceive the real world. Despite whatever goes on in the brain, seeing the real world is dependant on the physical makeup of our eyes and therefore must be limited by whatever limitations our eyes have. 

This whole thing has quickly turned into a really rotten situation for me, I didn't want to tell you this but I'm going to really put myself out there to explain.

I have always been a very creative person, it's my greatest passion in life. But then years ago I started thinking hard about eyesight and I reasoned that, based on my understanding of photoreceptors, it is only possible for humans to perceive a finite number of different possible images. And if that is so then any art form that is visual, which is a lot when you think about it, might as well also be limited, because the possibilities will not be perceivable with our limited eyes. Imagine if you were trying to capture all the works in a gallery with a camera that could only capture 10 pixel images, unless the paintings feature squares that are not smaller then the pixels, you will never be able to capture them. And if, hypothetically, that camera was the only way you had to see the outside world, there would be so much you would never be able to experience. So I'm afraid that, based on the structure of our eyes, it is only possible for humans to perceive a finite number of different possible images. A huge number but a finite one all the same.

This has been consuming me, on and off, for years.

I started looking into it and I found that image of how the eye works and it seemed to confirm my worst fears, the people who made the site said it was literally how sight worked. I put it on a website called Stackexchange to ask them to either confirm or debunk it. But I got very little response and it wasn't very helpful. So I came here hoping someone would say "no that's not how photoreceptors work, they are not limited like you said" simple and to the point. Instead I keep getting these roundabout answers that raise my anxiety and somehow my all time, most crippling, all consuming fear is brought up completely out of the blue.

Now I am going to insist that someone answer these questions with simple, straightforward, yes or no answers.

Do photo receptors work like they do in the picture I found? Yes/No

Is the man in the video saying there is no afterlife? Yes/No

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59 minutes ago, Omnifarious said:

Now I am going to insist that someone answer these questions with simple, straightforward, yes or no answers.

Do photo receptors work like they do in the picture I found? Yes/No

Is the man in the video saying there is no afterlife? Yes/No

IMO, Yes and I think you are right in that we cannot observe everything down to quantum.  We are ever relegated to the macro world, except for our use of artificial instruments.  I.e. observe the propagation of light .

And Yes, unless you want to count continued existence as individual atoms and molecules in other patterns, there is no afterlife as a person or conscious intelligence. As Seth states. "there is NOTHING to be afraid of, NOTHING at all"

IMO, any model that predicts an afterlife is wishful thinking. Any appearance of intelligent processes are due to the mathematical functions and  potentials of spacetime, but that is like assigning emotionless consciousness to a computer.

As Seth states; "you don't have to be smart to feel pain, but you probably have to be alive".

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Quote

The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences

by Eugene Wigner

Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty, a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show. The true spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense of being more than Man, which is the touchstone of the highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics as surely as in poetry.

--BERTRAND RUSSELL, Study of Mathematic

https://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc/MathDrama/reading/Wigner.html

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21 hours ago, write4u said:

IMO, Yes and I think you are right in that we cannot observe everything down to quantum.  We are ever relegated to the macro world, except for our use of artificial instruments.  I.e. observe the propagation of light.

I know we can't see down to the micro or quantum world but that wasn't the question I asked.

Again, and this time just by looking only at the question itself and the image please...

Do photo receptors work like they do in the picture I found? Yes/No

 

And without giving your opinion on the afterlife...

Is the man in the video saying there is no afterlife? Yes/No

 

And with all due respect, why is it that I only get one user responding to me out of this whole website?

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1 hour ago, Omnifarious said:

I know we can't see down to the micro or quantum world but that wasn't the question I asked.

Again, and this time just by looking only at the question itself and the image please...

Do photo receptors work like they do in the picture I found? Yes/No

The picture you copied is correct. But as I said before your brain must know the electrical coding of the  letter A before it can understand what it means. i.e. #5 must be in memory before you can visualize what it means. This is why Seth posited that we create our reality from the inside out as much as from the outside in.

Quote

 

And without giving your opinion on the afterlife...

Is the man in the video saying there is no afterlife? Yes/No

YES, there is NO after life. The universe continues to exist, but YOU cease to exist including your consciousness. There is no longer a you or any self-awareness of you.

I don't know how to make that any clearer. There is no longer a YOU at all.

Quote

 

And with all due respect, why is it that I only get one user responding to me out of this whole website?

This is a sensitive subject to many people who are afraid what awaits them in the (for them non-existent) afterlife.  Hence Seth's declaration that for YOU there is no afterlife, there is nothing, NOTHING at all. There is no You !

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There is a known experiment with kittens, who were reared in a room that had only vertical planes with vertical stripes and many poles placed at random throughout the room.   As the kittens grew they learned to avoid and navigate the vertical poles .

Then they were introduced to a room that had not only vertical poles but also horizontal planes at various heights.  Amazingly  the kittens navigated the vertical object just fine, but constantly bumped into the horizontal planes.  After awhile they learned to recognize the horizontal planes and avoid them also..

The experiment proved that unless the shape and location of an object is in memory, the brain cannot recognize the object.  Just like a computer the cognitive algorithm must be present or it is "garbage in --> garbage out".

Do revisit the chess board illusion. The brain is unable to match the two squares even as they are the EXACT same shade if gray.

Note:  your brain will imagine two different colors, but the the colors are Exactly the same. This is remarkable mental phenomenon and almost unbelievable, but it is true!

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