Perception: Purely Conscious?

Allow me to virtually introduce myself… I’m Colleen, and new to the class.  I haven’t been assigned a group, and am not exactly sure what the guidelines and requirements are for blog posts.  As I catch up on the readings for my first class tomorrow, I figured I would go ahead and contribute to the discussion.

I’m intrigued by Bergson’s definition of memory as “just the intersection of mind and matter” (13).  Our physical body simply serves as the as the center of action, and our brain is where we create perception.  We “give birth to the representation of the external world” (19).  We perceive the matter around us via images, images which exist regardless of whether they are perceived.  From what I gather, it is our perception of the image that creates [intangible] knowledge.

This perception is influenced by (or perhaps completely directed by?) our memories.  Bergson states that there is no perception which is not full of memories.  He introduces the idea of pure perception, which (I think?) he is claiming does not exist.   Our perception is always “complicated” by memory.

Pure perception:  “There is in matter something more than, about something different from, that which is actually given… But between this perception of matter and matter itself there is but a difference of degree and not kind, pure perception standing toward matter in the relation of the part to the whole” (71).

Bergson discusses how our perception is directed by conscious choice.  Do we consciously select what to perceive?  Or just how to perceive?  I think the idea of selective perception would be interesting to discuss.  What draws my curious eye and directs my turned head to see a car wreck, and thus perceive and digest the images I capture, unpleasant as they may be?  Equally, what draws my sight/perception to one particular painting amongst a gallery of art, to hone in on a specific visual image before me?  What is the relationship between the physiological seeing and conscious/selective seeing?

I look forward to meeting the class and further discussing this and the other readings!

~ by Colleen Heavens on September 12, 2010.