Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Life in 3-D: The God Eye See

I don't own a TV.  I rarely take notice of  this missing household amenity, except when walking first-time visitors through my home.  On "The Tour," I offer such insightful commentary as, "This is the kitchen;"  "This is my living room;"  This is the study/play room;" and "Here is my bedroom," and we end up at the back of my house in my laundry room, at which point we wander back to the living room the over little compulsory reactions and observations.  

Normally, about the time we re-group on the sofas, a few moments will pass and inevitably, someone speaks up with courteous curiosity --"So... do you not have a TV...?"  I explain that I actually "do not" have a TV, but I love movies, and have become quite the collectionista of Blockbuster finds.  But my computer is quite a capable viewing source, so this negates all necessity of a TV for me.  

Yet, to be honest, my abeyant MovieWatcher card would not reflect my proclaimed admiration for the cinema. The movie experience has somewhat lost its luster for me amongst the rising prices, rambunctious company--and then I would have to resist the convenience of viewing a movie in my own home and on my own time-frame, as well.  Effectively, I don't see many TV ads or trailors, so the anticipation of a premier doesn't lure me in to the big screen, either.  But occasionally, I am willing to buck all pretension and inconvenience for a movie that just "should be" experienced with more punch than my computer monitor and speakers can provide.  

Just two nights ago, I went to the theater to see the new Harry Potter movie.  I have never read the books or seen a previous film, but this one would be in 3-D, and apparently would be worth the experience.  Without digressing into a review of the cinematic legitimacy of the film, I will say--I was impressed and entertained.  For an IMAX film, the movie theaters always provide those ridiculous plastic "3-D glasses--" which results in my immediate time-port to my elementary years and the days of field trips to NASA, with "futuristic" IMAX special-venues of Space Exploration Films.  I remember even, how throughout the duration of any-given IMAX picture, the glasses would inevitably agitate me to the point that I would have to take them off.  And the same remains true today.  Even today, within the hours of an IMAX picture, I will feel the nagging urge to remove my glasses, just to endure the blurred dual-image projected before me, until I can eventually don my glasses once more.  

Well, I reached this point in Harry Potter.  Typically, I am frustrated with myself at the point that I begrudgingly remove my glasses for a reprieve.  But this time (perhaps a slight gesture towards maturity), I actually tuned in to the multilayered images, even so much as to develop an endearing appreciation and intrigue for their intentional distortion.  

During my momentary retreat, I somewhat lost touch with the plot and began experimenting with the passing images in an attempt to create the desired image, sans glasses.  I went through a serious of very scientific variable tests in my research--I tried crossing my eyes, squinting, closing one eye.  I even called upon my previous experience with the Illusion picture books that contained hidden 3-D images in the page designs.  The "squinting technique" would sometimes work then on difficult images, but I found my transferred skill to be far less successful at the cinema.  I have since realized the folly in my methods, but at the time, I considered my means to be plausible.  

Yet in my own silly science lab at a Harry Potter picture show, I began to formulate an idea that would take shape over the following days, and profoundly resonate with me in my understanding of this world.  With visions of grandeur, I even took the glasses home (with permission) to continue my exploration post-cinema through assessing the glasses visual impact upon the actual 3-D world.  

In the aftermath of this experience, I stumbled across some down-time and did a bit of research on the construction of a 3-D clip, specifically as compared a standard film.  Today, a 3-D image is often created by polarizating the light of dual images, tripling the frames per second as compared to a standard film, and projecting these images simultaneously on the same screen.  The immediate affect produces the blurred multiplicity I described earlier, but with a pair of eyes and a set of LCD shutter glasses, the images converge to add the illusion of depth, the lost dimension in standard 35mm films.   

The film is shot with two different lenses--one angled to record the images as viewed by the left eye, and the other to singularly capture the vision of the right eye.  The two sequences are layered during production and then projected at variant linear polarizations at the time of viewing.  

Those "ridiculous 3-D glasses" are actually specifically designed with left and right polarized lenses that project only the image intended for that eye, while concurrently block the other eye's image. 

Essentially, 3-D filmation reverses the cooperative efforts of our visual and central nervous system by separating the images in 2-D.  

Think of your 5th-grade lesson on sight.  Your teacher more-than-likely asked you to create a triangle with your two hands outstretched before you, and then instructed you to pick an object within the scope of the triangle.  You were then advised to close one eye.  All of a sudden the image would pop to a position outside of your triangle.  When tested with the other eye, the image would be somewhere in the vicinity oppositely congruent to its previous location.  

In case you got distracted making your best friend hop around your peripheral and missed the application that day, this exercise displays the functioning of our nervous system as it process the two images created on the retinae of our two eyes.  Vision is a pretty incredible sense.  Our eyes actually just record the data sequencing of the light reflected by all the objects in our scope of sight.  The data is burned on to our retinae at the back of our eyes, and the brain works to process this information by conceptualizing mere representations of the scene.  

Thus, when the object of our vision is a projection of light on a flat-screen, the convergence of empirical perceptions has already taken place, and the third-dimension is lost.  

In order to achieve depth perception (the third dimension) within a 2-D projection, the eyes must receive both simultaneous and singular input on each retinae, creating the illusion of an authentic perception.  Then, the physiological manifestation of sight may processes the images as if these "3-D" objects and images were actually before them.  

I have learned about the functioning of the visual system before, but I outlook was refreshed by my new understanding in light of a 3-D film experiene.  And with this idea of sight, light, and dimension, my mind began its churning.  

Our eyes perceive the light reflected by objects.  Our eyes collect the data from this input and create two variant representations on our retinae.  Our brain receives the two separate images from our visual system and processes the details in the form of a streaming image.  

A singular image from just one eye would capture only two-diminsions, but our visual system maintains the reality of the 3rd dimension with the help of the central nervous system and the addition of a supplementary sequence of a simultaneous event.  

Our world contains three perceivable dimensions, yet receptive optical systems are only able to capture two of these dimensions on their own.  Consider a camera as an optical system similar to our own.  The input data is in three dimensions, but the capturing space can only contain two of them.  The brain detects depth perception in a picture by drawing on our visual experience with depth and proportion, but the film space itself only provides for two dimensions--length and width.  

Theorists are eternally claiming that time is the fourth dimension--and I tend to subscribe to this hypothesis, with the understanding that our linear position within time is probably more of an illusions than a reality.  So if time functions anything like light, our perception can only be achieved by assuming a duality in perception, as displayed by the visual system.  Have you ever noticed how a minute can seem like a lifetime, but a year can seem like the passing of a second?  Perhaps our placement and perception of time allows for this discrepant evaluation.  And although the relationship between time, dimension and perception intrigue me, there remain uncharted issues that, for me, are more provocative when I consider sight.  

The Text tells me that God created Light in this world before anything else.  And Jesus calls himself the light of the world.  Our eyes, the primary contributor to processing our perceived world, depend on light to "accurately" perceive the physical world.  The individual eye can only detect the images captured as a 2-D movie screen captures the light projection of a film. Our visual system, however, compensates for our own limitations in capturing images and the two recordings of our 2 receivers by allowing one image to enhance the other.  Interestingly, a 3-D movie actually disables the work of the visual system by merging the right and left-eye images before the data is collected.  However, in sight, each eye is only recording the images from its perspective.  In an IMAX film, both eyes are processing both angles.  Thus, to the naked eye the picture looks disjointed and distorted, and the eyes have no means of recognizing their individual projection.

There is so much in this world that I don't understand.  There are so many truths that seems to disagree much like a 3-D IMAX Film.  The inconsistencies in my understanding of my spiritual sight can sometimes leave my vision hazy.  

But then I consider God's truth--Truth refers to the ultimate reality.   We have been given the tools to perceive and process His reality--He has promised this.  We depend on the light of the first day to distinguish the physical reality,  so there must be a spiritual source which allows us to comprehend Truth.    

And yet, Jesus is the Light.  In our reality, the sun is our greatest source of light.  Jesus is the Son.  Light in this world allows us sight; perhaps the light of Jesus is the source of sight in the spiritual world.  If Jesus, the light, is our salvation, perhaps salvation is in being able to perceive and project the Truth of God's nature.  What if the redemptive nature of Jesus' ministry was to illuminate the nature of God.  As our eyes process the physical world, our hearts may be the eyes of our souls, perceiving the Truth of God. 

But even with the gift of this salvation, my spiritual vision sometimes feels a bit more like watching a movie than experiencing His nature first-hand.  I often have the spiritual sense that what I am involved in is something more than the "two dimensions" I am perceiving on the movie screen.  Just as our vision carries limitations--we can only capture and project a restricted reality of the images within the physical world--my hypothesis would be that these same barriers cripple our spiritual capacity to capture and project the reality of the ultimate world.  

I must wonder if there was ever a time when His truth was accurately and fully perceivable.  

Perhaps, at the creation of the world, at the birth of light. And if at the foundation of the Earth, all truth and fullness of God was both perceivable and projectable, when did our spiritual eyes adopt their limitations?  

There is a certain story of a certain man and woman in a certain garden, eating from a certain tree.  I cannot resist the situational irony presented by the description immediately following the couples' dinner menu choice--"and their eyes were opened."  I am struck that their eyes were not glued shut through their sin.

But then I remember what happened when I removed my special glasses at the theater.  Maybe the screen of God's Glory was already being projected into this world--not as a standard film--but as an IMAX film, intended to reflect the height, breadth, and depth of His Truth.   Maybe God has always chosen to reveal himself in "3-D."  But in our sin, we lost the special glasses when our eyes "were opened." 

But then I remember the Messiah.  Healer of the blind.  Light of the world.  The Way to the Father.

Maybe we do have the keys to the kingdom.  

Perhaps Jesus is the light in the sense that the light of the burning sun causes need for sunglasses.   Could His ministry have been to exude such blinding light as to give rise to adorning spiritual glasses, and ultimately offering us sight.  After all, caking mud on a blind man's eye seems a curious method for offering sight.  But after the man's commitment to Jesus' instruction to wash in the Pool of Salome, the man could see.  Maybe our faith commitment is in the choice to wear our glasses.  God's picture may have never changed.  We just may need the right set of eyes to see the Light of the Truth.  

Friday, July 8, 2011

jar of hearts