Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Persistence of vision

The persistence of vision, that founding principle of cinematography, has a wide range of possible applications. We might talk, pace Dennett, of ‘the persistence of consciousness’ as a kind of enabling illusion of motion and continuity in the mind; even (pace ontologists) of ‘persistence of being’, the sense that the striated and atomised constituent elements of existence sort-of blur and coalesce in our experience of them.

It is, in other words, a question of that enabling blindness to gaps (or perhaps that motion of the ground) and the partial fogging of our senses that enables us to see as flow and continuity what is not-flow and discontinuous. ‘Persistence’ is a good word in this context; existence, subsistence, sursistence, all set in place by the persistence.

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