## Understaning infinity through the visual field

-This takes far longer to describe than to do: 1.) stare straight ahead. 2.) Now put you arm out straight out to your side, and point one finger up. 3.) slowly swing your arm forward until your finger pops into your peripheral vision.  From where did the finger come? “Outside the visual field” is its own unique kind of invisibility.

-Ruyer draws attention to the peculiar fact that, unlike a screen or picture, the visual field has no edges. Things are outside or inside of ones visual field, but the field itself is not seen. It has borders in the sense that something can be inside of it or outside of it, and even an angle of space it takes in, but it is not limited by something like itself.

The space making up a cat or a square is limited by the space outside of it that is like itself. The space of the visual field as visual does not have this property and so is infinite. It has a real finitude too, but only when we abstract from vision and consider the mere space.

-Don’t consider the field as a potency to acts, but as not sharing in the border or limit that all its finite objects possess.

- You measure the angle of your visual filed and then draw it on a piece of paper.  So you look at it and think to yourself “look, my visual field is finite”, going from here to here… and owl’s is over one hundred degrees larger”. Not so fast – marking off the line son the paper requires the same white outside of them and inside of them (you can change the colors or cut out the lines without changing the main point). But your actual visual field is not limited by anything like itself. What is outside of it and inside of it are not the same sort of thing.

-A Euclidean line is infinite when we do not think about the edges. But we don’t see edges of the visual field.

-The finite is what we can set in front of ourselves- a thing whose edges are given. But the visual field cannot be set in front of ourselves. To do so requires putting it in a field.

- We miss the infinity of the visual field because we try to make it finite – intelligible – by comparing it to what is outside the field as opposed to comparing what is within it to the field itself.

-We are not dazzled by infinity because we figure it is just one more thing we could put in front of ourselves: A dog, a cat, my memory of last Wednesday, an infinite being, this token of the letter Q… But the infinite being is the-visual-field-as-opposed-to-thing-within-it. The infinite is not just God – but in different ways the intentional field, existence as opposed to essence, the soul (and its “intelligible field”) etc.

1. #### thenyssan said,

August 5, 2012 at 6:19 am