As a psychiatrist, I am fortunate to have a lot of time to ponder how the brain works. And this greatest of all mysteries is beginning to yield up some secrets. This blog is an attempt to tie what I am learning about the brain with some of my major interests: photography, music, and our experience of consciousness.
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Photography captures what we see in the world. But it captures something about ourselves. Sometimes it illuminates something beneath the surface of what we can see. When we photograph we cannot escape creating art. And art enevitably changes us. Photography captures an instant in time. An instant which what we thought to have been lost has been frozen forever. And in this way we believe we can stop time.
But we are fooled. Each time we view the image its meaning changes before our very eyes. “I never noticed that before.” “It has become more beautiful.” “Finally I understand”. Experience in the past and experience in the present cannot be separated.
In truth, I do not think that time really exists at all. I believe that our experience of the passage of time is an inevitable artifact of the workings of the human brain. And so we come full circle. A photograph captures our perceptions, our feelings, and our imagination. And what are these but processes in our brains. But our brains can only function in time. The timelessness of the image is trapped in the movements of our thoughts in the irresistible current of our lifetimes.
Wayne Phillips Boulder, Colorado
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