Everything Observable

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here are only a finite number of things that you can see. This number is however "functionally" infinite, meaning that we can never exhaust its potential in any forseeable future.

Imagine a viewing screen 1000 x 1000 pixels on a side. And allow each pixel to be colored either black or white.
There are then 21,000,000 "distinguishably different drawings" that can thus be made (that is , distinguishable by a computerized analyzer with nearly infinite memory ; ).

Now paste this screen in front your face a foot or so from your eyes so that all you can see is whatever is on the screen. Then, everything that could possibly be seen is represented in one of the permutations of the 21,000,000 possibilities (of course, without color or shading which only masks the issue at hand). Motion is simply a series of related frames seen consecutively.

Now, about the quantities of various sorts of scenes.

Of all these permutations almost none are anything but even shades of gray composed of randomly scattered black & white pixels. In fact, if you picked randomly from among the
21,000,000 your chances of finding anything with even an asymmetric smudge are so small that you would not expect to find one if you picked for the entire present supposed lifetime of the universe.

What can one say then about an "artist" who proffers a canvas with a single uniform color on it? Obviously, he has shown nothing at all. Not skill, not philosophical insight, not selectivity. In fact, he shows

  1. NOTHING. Nothing that any other human couldn't also obtain effortlessly.
  2. Now, there are hosts of smudge paintings requiring the slightest effort on the part of the artist.
  3. Next in abundance are geometric forms not really related to anything in our normal experience.
  4. And then we come to a tiny subset of the whole which is things we recognize (but not necessarily integrated into any kind of scheme).
  5. That's the next subset ... related objects.
  6. Then ... lastly ... scenes of philosophical import, i.e. pictures which carry 'secondary' information about the inner state and workings of man.



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