Sunday, March 3, 2013

On Feb 3, 2013, at 3:30 PM, Kent Barshov wrote:

Hi Frank,

I'm only just now getting around to responding to your last email in this "slow motion" email correspondence.

The question/comment in your last email centered around the brain and whether and how it limits what we can think about.

I take it a simple given.   For example, the electromagnetic spectrum runs from infrared waves (and even "lower")  up to x-ray and beyond.  We see with our eyes only a relatively limited segment of the electromagnetic spectrum.  If we had eyes with a different capacity, we could see the x-ray beam hitting us when an x-ray is taken, or we could have night-vision sight without having to look through night-vision viewers.  Certain birds and insects, for example, can see in the ultraviolet spectrum, which makes the colors of the plumage of other birds and various flowers really stunning. We, on the other hand, can look at the same birds or flowers and see relatively few colors.

It is said that before the invention of writing, people had to think memorable thoughts, otherwise there would be little culture available to passed on to the next generation.   In a similar vein, we can say that we can think only "thinkable" thoughts.  The structure of our brains, no matter how complex, is still rather limiting. 

This has just been some thoughts regarding your most recent email.


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