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The Hidden World of the Nearby

The Tragedy of the Missing Miracles


My View Of Life

As a young teenager I read all I could about how the universe came to be as it is. At the time little was known.

But I had much scientific training and as the decades went by more and more was discovered. Humans learned how they came into existance and this is a triumph of humanity yet science is rarely appreciated and understood nor is it taught properly and often enough.

Science is thought of as a thing whereas it is simply a process for learning truth more carefully. It may be the final tragedy that we destroy the earth itself for not knowing science.

Neglecting scienc is also a tragedy of the soul, for the miracles of seeing and hearing are so stunningly profound yet we use them for war far more than for experienceing joy and beauty. The ability to experience sight and sound are too close to us that we take them for granted, yet they offer us the paths to beauty and joy.

Miracles Inside Our Heads


Seeing And Hearing

At this very instant all you experience of the world comes from two tiny images on the retinas in your eyes. Science cannot explain this experience and perhaps never will. And it is the same for hearing. Yet we do not dwell on these miracles and then it is a tragedy how we use them. Instead of light and beauty and joy we use sound and sight to aim rifles and to listen for enemy fire. This is the saddest part of the tragedy of humanity.

I have asked myself for most of my life why we exist and tried to understand the big bang and the origin of the universe. They I thought to look the other way, from now, and I asked what are the best things in life, and I realized that scientists never mention them and as far as I can tell no one teaches them.

I have dedicated my life to making photographs and music for their purpose is to being joy and beauty into our lives and I realized that was the purpose of life, that the glorious paintings and music humans have created are virtually burried. How many of you have heard a live perforance of the music of Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert or Chopin. If you listen carefully you will hear yourself cry with joy.

We lived as hunter gatherers for a million years and so how did we know how to make this music. Listen. It is only 10 minutes but it took Krystian Zimerman, and Chopin and the piano builders a lifetime to learn. This performance has been listened to over eight million times on U-Tube. Why have you not heard it? Zimerman‘s fingers play this stunningly difficult music perfectly and as more beautifully than I have ever heard before.

Then there are the missing miracles: how we see, how we hear, how we think and how we become fully human.

I call my collection of photographs “The Hidden World of the Nearby.” Very, very slowly I began to think that “the view from here,” this picture in front of me was likely the most astonishing thing in the universe. Huh? It’s just what you are seeing. True. Then exactly what is this “seeing” business. Two small images on my retinas give me the experience of life. This takes a bit a dwelling for it to sink in. It is the most ordinary of all. It is experience. An infinitely complex picture that reveals everything. That stays put when we wiggle our retinas. When we walk we do not carry it with us. It tells us what we will feel when we touch. This is our retinas speaking to us of all there is, creating a picture from a picture.

Think for a minute what you are learning from your retinas. The mood of a loved one. The entrance into the room of your child. The sun rising and setting.

This is called sentience. It is inexplicable. Something happens in our brains that recreates reality so that we experience it. Think about it. The same with our ear drums. Symphonies. Chopin. Babies.

This link The Auditory Cortex gives a hint of how complex things are going to get. I am not qualitifed to draw a conclusion, but at this stage it seems that pure chance is out and evolution plus the nature of nature is ruling what happens.

The list of what the auditory system can do is staggering pushing right to the limits of what physics perits. For example: Put a young person with good hearing in an anechoic chamber and wait a bit. The person will begin to hear the therman motion of air molecules. Anything more would be useless. Yet the same ear can tolerate sounds 120 dB lounder, a ration of one trillion to one. An this is just the beginning.

So why? If we could not see or hear, the universe would be like Schroedinger’s cat. Our sensing it makes it real. Without the sensing, existence is moot, purpose or reality of anything.

What more can I say. Open your eyes and ears and marvel. And enjoy. And teach. And learn...

Then there are the missing miracles: how we see, how we hear, how we think and how we become fully human.

I call my collection of photographs “The Hidden World of the Nearby.” Very, very slowly I began to think that “the view from here,” this picture in front of me was likely the most astonishing thing in the universe. Huh? It’s just what you are seeing. True. Then exactly what is this “seeing” business. Two small images on my retinas give me the experience of life. This takes a bit a dwelling for it to sink in. It is the most ordinary of all. It is experience. An infinitely complex picture that reveals everything. That stays put when we wiggle our retinas. When we walk we do not carry it with us. It tells us what we will feel when we touch. This is our retinas speaking to us of all there is, creating a picture from a picture.

Think for a minute what you are learning from your retinas. The mood of a loved one. The entrance into the room of your child. The sun rising and setting.

This is called sentience. It is inexplicable. Something happens in our brains that recreates reality so that we experience it. Think about it. The same with our ear drums. Symphonies. Chopin. Babies.

This link The Auditory Cortex gives a hint of how complex things are going to get. I am not qualitifed to draw a conclusion, but at this stage it seems that pure chance is out and evolution plus the nature of nature is ruling what happens.

The list of what the auditory system can do is staggering pushing right to the limits of what physics perits. For example: Put a young person with good hearing in an anechoic chamber and wait a bit. The person will begin to hear the therman motion of air molecules. Anything more would be useless. Yet the same ear can tolerate sounds 120 dB lounder, a ration of one trillion to one. An this is just the beginning.

So why? If we could not see or hear, the universe would be like Schroedinger’s cat. Our sensing it makes it real. Without the sensing, existence is moot, purpose or reality of anything.

What more can I say. Open your eyes and ears and marvel. And enjoy. And teach. And learn...

One More Thing...Well, Two.


Why? How?

Paul Davis and others are arguinng that once you have atoms and molecules it is only as matter of time before you get ears like this. They cannot prove it nor can anyone else who has a theory.

However, in his book The Goldilocks Enigma Davies argues that once the laws of physics are set as they are here, evolution takes over and it is only a matter of time, although a very long time, billions of years.

Supposedly evolution simply keeps making decisions based on the fitness for survival and I will accept that. However, once you get a double-helix of DNA in every cell, it is hard to believe that it is just laws of physics. The game is rigged.

Then you toss in the addition of frontal lobes, and the astonishing capability of the human brain and my head is spinning.

Does that mean god. No. It is just that a think the game is rigged more than meets the eye (or ear). How far does it go? For me Chopin Ballade No. 1 blows me away. Emergent phenomena. A startling jump in creativity and technical skills: playing, composing, listening, making instruments, and every player committed to the music through the conductor. And, of course all the teachers.

The illustration below hangs in the exam room of my otolaringologist. The engineer in me screams engineering. It is so beautifully designed (I do mean designed), and performs its functions so well that I draw the conclusion that the way our elementary particles are made lead inexorably to function, to something that works. May be trial and error, but the physics has to be capable of doing all these things, however long it takes to find the right combo. The fact is that there is a combo.

Diagram of ear
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