A new kind of relativity: Compensated delays as phenomenal blind spotsby Susie Vrobel

Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology

About

Year
2015
DOI
10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2015.06.009
Subject
Biophysics / Molecular Biology

Text

Accepted Manuscript

A New Kind of Relativity: Compensated Delays as Phenomenal Blind Spots

Susie Vrobel

PII: S0079-6107(15)00084-X

DOI: 10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2015.06.009

Reference: JPBM 1027

To appear in: Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology

Please cite this article as: Vrobel, S., A New Kind of Relativity: Compensated Delays as

Phenomenal Blind Spots, Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology (2015), doi: 10.1016/ j.pbiomolbio.2015.06.009.

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ACCEPTED MANUSCRIPT 1

Abstract for 2015 JPBMB SI

Susie Vrobel

The Institute for Fractal Research

Bad Nauheim, Germany

A New Kind of Relativity: Compensated Delays as Phenomenal Blind Spots

The French phenomenologist Merleau-Ponty identified the human body as the blind spot of perception and cognition. Being situated in its environment both spatially and temporally, the body forms a primordial field of presence, which is transparent from the obserpant’s* perspective and therefore creates a sytemic blindness. This paper is primarily concerned with what Merleau-Ponty calls the pulse of the duration of the body, which, in his view, “impregnates” our perception.

This notion of duration will be described in terms of the temporal extensions of an embodied obserpant. For biological systems, these extensions may be measured in the obserpant’s temporal endo-sphere, a time cone, which extends in two dimensions: succession and simultaneity (∆tlength and ∆tdepth, respectively). Obserpants are described not as having, but being a model of the world (including themselves).

The perception of ∆tlength and ∆tdepth results in a fractal temporal structure, which correlates with successive and instantaneous perception. This temporal structure becomes important during temporal recalibration, i.e. delay compensation. During such processes, the distribution of the temporal dimensions succession and simultaneity may vary from one obserpant’s Now to another’s. Furthermore, recalibration provides a window in which the obserpant’s Now may be tipped towards either temporal dimension.

We can measure the difference between obserpant A’s temporal extension and that of obserpant B in ∆tlength and ∆tdepth. The complexity of an obserpant’s temporal perspective – his temporal interface – can thus be compared and quantified by the size of his time cone. The units of this measurement are the number of compensated and uncompensated delays. During temporal recalibration, an obserpant can turn succession into simultaneity and vice-versa.

Moreover, what is successive in obserpant A’s Now may be simultaneous for obserpant B and vice-versa. This discrepancy can be modelled as time cones which display a new kind of (∆tlength–∆tdepth–) relativity. This new kind of relativity arises from the oberpants’ inability to spot the systemic blindness that manifests itself in anticipated, i.e. compensated, delays. *obserpant = observer-participant (Vrobel 2014)

Keywords: ∆tlength–∆tdepth–relativity, obserpant extension, delay compensation, temporal recalibration, anticipation, time cone

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ACCEPTED MANUSCRIPT 2 1. Introduction: Extensions and Blind Spots

The notion of an extended Now is not new. Neither is the idea of a perceptual and cognitive blind spot. We are drawing on a long philosophical tradition and a full review would exceed the scope of this paper. The concept presented here is that of an extended temporal perspective with a fractal structure and blind spots which result from transparent interfaces within the Now. It builds on and further develops a model presented in this journal in 2013 (Vrobel 2013).

My fractal model of the Now was inspired by the work of two phenomenologists, Maurice

Merleau-Ponty and Edmund Husserl. Both described a Now which is not a point-like boundary separating the past from the future, but an extended temporal perspective which displays depth. My model is also built upon concepts defined more recently: Benoit

Mandelbrot’s fractals, Robert Rosen’s and Daniel Dubois’anticipative systems and Otto

Rössler’s endophysics. The model also draws upon a number of experiments on temporal recalibration and embodied cognition.

Where to start? The leitmotif of this paper is a temporal perspective which displays depth and a systemic blind spot – both constituents of Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological description of the Now (Merleau-Ponty 2012/1945). Therefore, the Merleau-Pontean temporal perspective provides a convenient starting point.

The French phenomenologist surmounted the Cartesian Cut by focussing on the situatedness of our body in our spatial and temporal environment: Both subject and object are reconciled in bodily existence. Because our body, our perceptual apparatus, is immersed in time and space, it necessarily forms a blind spot, as our perspective is inextricably tied to our temporal and spatial position. Merleau-Ponty also dismissed the point-like Now of Einstein’s special theory of relativity, replacing it with an extended presence in which both spatial and temporal events around us are “eclipsed” by the very fact that we take up a position in space and time. And as this position perpetually changes, so do the blind spots which eclipse parts of the world. And as we are not aware of this constraint, we find ourselves unable to escape from our conditio humana. It is this Merleau-Pontean blind spot which we shall later draw upon when we explore the effects of delay compensation on the Now.