On the way back from work, looking out of the window: noticing--or rather not noticing--exactly what was going on that let me see the things I was seeing. Not paying attention, but still all that preprocessing going on. All the edge detection; the white balancing; assumptions about shading, orientation of objects. Not paying attention to any of the cars or the people and realising that all this was still going on effortlessly.
Then, in a bigger shock: seeing a reflection of the moon in the window; realising that that instant a photon had finished its journey that started with its birth in the sun, zapped through roughly a hundred and fifty billion kilometers of more-or-less empty space, bounced off the moon at precisely the right angle to end up negotiating countless air molecules, passing planes, buildings, trees to go through a window and then bounce off another, through the lens of my glasses, wiggled its way through my eyeball and struck my retina. Then realising that was happening all the time.
Then, even more annoyingly, properly realising for the first time the absolutely stupendous journey that light from, say, Delta Pavonis had taken should I have been looking at it.
I don't need a god. This is more than enough.
31 comments and trackbacks