Chain

Carter and James both say the consciousness is a steady continuous stream; consciousness depends on paying attention, it hones in on what one person notices – it is a “subjective life” (James 239). Both Carter and James argue however that the consciousness is separated by gaps, interruptions, time gaps, or inconsistencies in thought – but the two writers discover that each thought seemingly do not belong together but everything in the consciousness is interlocked and interconnected, “like a string of beads” (Emerson 473). Therefore, the consciousness is a succession of experiences, and as the owners of our subjective lives we select what we pay attention to. James admits that past present and future are interweaved into a “community of self [that] the time-gap cannot break in twain, and is why a present thought, although not ignorant of the time-gap, can still regard itself as continuous with certain chosen portions of the past” (239).
Carter takes these gaps and analyzes them through visual media and experiments. She notes, with this experiment as an example, that when two images are next to each other whether on a page or in time a difference can be noted. However, when the latter image of the pair comes after a time-gap, even if it is just a second, no difference will be detected. This is a form of blindness, which reminds me of Holmes’ “self-blindness,” and like the blind spot that Cater mentions also one does not detect a change until it is brought to their attention. A person with a blind spot may not realize something passes their vision, or what might have passes their vision, without being prompted to guess what the picture is. Carter’s examples here are in conjunction with James’s idea of past and present joining into consciousness, for one might not see the gap from present to past unless one is looking for it.
“Consciousness unfolds in time,” (18) writes Carter, but does that take into account the gaps and time-stills? With Carter’s examples she is highlighting “Our startling lack of consciousness of what is in front of our eyes” (14). If consciousness is so linked in time, and if time literally does not stop, then how do we have gaps in our sight or current stream of consciousness? I noticed that with Carter most of the visual aids to her arguments had an underlying objective to trick sight or to trick consciousness. James made it so we have control over our consciousness, “Thought tends to Personal Form” (225) and Carter agrees to some extent. Still, if visual perception can morph our consciousness into seeing something that is there or which is not, then how much does Carter’s theory depend on our own will to denote sight? Carter kept saying we are conscious of the words we are reading and the page it is on but we are conscious of other thing too, and also not conscious of everything on the page. But what about being conscious of what we are unconscious of, where does that fit in? Does this constitute as a gap? “Does your consciousness flow smoothly, continuously, and in real time? Or does it lurch along, punctuated by jump-cuts and freeze-frames, flashbacks and fade-outs” (Carter 12)? Do these questions constitute as phases of consciousness, because consciousness does not just bring things up along a linear line. Consciousness is not cookie-cutter like these texts suggest; consciousness is a complexity.

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2 Responses to “Chain”

  1.   Dominique Says:

    Another way to state the phases of conscioiusness you’re describing: a series of “flights and perchings”…

    Also, think of what you’ve written about James’s discussion of “time-gaps” in relation to Muybridge! (“James admits that past present and future are interweaved into a “community of self [that] the time-gap cannot break in twain, and is why a present thought, although not ignorant of the time-gap, can still regard itself as continuous with certain chosen portions of the past” (239).”) What’s the effect of breaking down a body in motion into individual frames?

    (4/4)

  2.   harde schijf repareren Says:

    harde schijf repareren

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