neuron highways!

A quick illustration on the theme of Neuron Highways

Our brain has about 100 billion neurons in them. When you read this blog now, or when you smell the fragrance you wear, when you hear sounds, in short, when you do everything, electrical signals race between these neurons along billions of tiny neuron highways. The messages sent by neurons in your brain is more than the messages sent by all phones in this world. All neurons together in the brain can generate enough electricity to power a low-wattage bulb. Knowing our senses, knowing ourselves, and pondering on the wonders is the key that unlocks many mysteries of this world.

The World is Inside You

Part of Ponder Series

Reflecting on Shadows

If you remember, we started the ponder series by a small post about perceptions. Today, we’re thinking about something very subtle that we don’t think about much – shadows. For our new readers who aren’t familiar with this series, Ponder Series is an initiative from The Border of a Mind Studios in exploring and pondering on those miraculous themes all around us to which we shut our eyes and thoughts to in the daily life gallops.

A shadow is technically a region of darkness that forms on a surface when an object is between a light source and the surface. The shape of the shadow resembles the periphery and outline of the object casting the shadow. For example, when we shine a torch on a wooden box sitting near a wall, the wooden box outline would be the shadow cast on the wall. Although this looks pretty straightforward, the size of the shadow is depended on several factors. The primary thing is the distance of the object from the light source. When the object is closer to the light source, it casts a larger shadow. When the object is closer to the light source, the shadow is of a smaller size. Also, inclinations also have an influence on the outer periphery of an object cast as a shadow. When we see something in front of us, what we’re seeing a visual representation of it at the visual center at the back of our brains. We’re not seeing the “original” of what is in front of us, but a copy at the back of the brains. Imagine a view of a busy street with people walking and cars on the way. This “image” is seen at the back of our brains. Brain researchers working on the subject have found out that if a person resting in a lab is fed with these “signals” of a street, they’d feel that they’re in the street when actually they’re not. The image in the visual centre at the back of our brains is so perfectly rendered in all its 3-dimensional feel and layering such that we mistake it for the original without thinking that it’s only a copy that exists in our minds. Among the several factors that make this so convincing like distance, light, depth and colors, one important aspect in making this visual experience so real is shadows and shades. Artists, painters, and craftsmen use shadows as a tool to give a sense of depth and realism to a work of art by traversing avenues of shades and perspectives. If we look at the world around us, the shadows are intertwined so miraculously around us forming the visual experience we savour and we don’t even notice it as it’s so entwined in our vision. I truly believe that’s the masterful craftsmanship of the Almighty.

“Feeling at peace, however fragilely, made it easy to slip into the visionary end of the dark-sight. The rose shadows said that they loved the sun, but that they also loved the dark, where their roots grew through the lightless mystery of the earth. The roses said: You do not have to choose. 

Robin McKinley, Sunshine

glistening sky

Bank of clouds at the entrance of my office building inching across the sky. Bright radiant blue skies weaved with a tapestry of clouds. We find these “windows” in architectural themes. In these kinds of photographic narratives, the top portions are often composed in a way to give a perception of a window. Notice the subtle contrast in colors between the walls and the dark blue skies.

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
― John Lubbock, The Use Of Life

Vision | Pondering on the intricacies

Today’s disposition is to write something into our ponder series. For new readers who aren’t aware of these series, below is the thematic intention of this initiative that I mentioned in my first post on this topic.

”  Often in the rush of our routines, we fail to appreciate certain hidden subtleties and nuances of living in this universe, which we can only admire if we consciously make an effort to think deeply with profundity.  We have to pause for a moment and ponder, and hence the name of the series.

Let’s ponder on vision today. We are aware of the technical description of vision and how it’s accomplished in our bodily systems. The intention here is to delve in little deeper and explore the miraculous aspects of this process which we deem as pretty novel and relegate as trivial.

    ..Illustrated by The Border of a Mind Studios…
The illustration above shows a person gazing at a candle. Light bundles from this candle fall on the retina upside down. The image of the candle gets converted into electrical impulses and is transmitted to the centre of vision situated at the back of the brain. As you would know, the brain is pitch dark inside and it’s totally insulated from light. It’s technically impossible for light to reach this centre of vision. But we see the candle image transmitted there. In other words, the world of lights and depth is formed in this tiny spot which does not receive any sort of light from outside. The candle outside is hot. This applies to all senses. If we think about it, when we see the light of the candle and even when we feel its heat, the inside of our brain is completely dark, pitch dark and there’s not temperature change there. Isn’t that truly miraculous? Spare some thought into it. Ever wondered on how this happens? Those are the first steps that open up our thought process on several important things that we tend to wade off in our routines. Those who have been reading me for a long time might recollect the post “perceptions” which also conceptually shares the same context.

In his famous book ‘Eye and Brain: The Psychology of Seeing‘ , Richard Gregory writes:

“We are so familiar with seeing, that it takes a leap of imagination to realize that there are problems to be solved. But consider it. We are given tiny distorted upside-down images in the eyes, and we see separate solid objects in surrounding space. From the patterns of stimulation on the retina we perceive the world of objects and this is nothing short of a miracle.” (Eye and Brain, 1966)