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Whitehead defines a perceptual experience by its systematic relationships to the body. Although these relationships may not be traceable, since the scale of our observation is limited, they involve certain geometrical strains in the body and a certain excitement in the body cells that produce qualitative feelings. This is not to say that the world exists only to stimulate our responses, but that, for perception, the function of perceived events outside the body is to excite these strains and physiological excitements within the body. Whitehead goes on to show how other means, such as mirrors and hallucinations, can produce similar results. He attempts to convince us of how perceptions are functions of bodily states transmuted to conceptual feelings of the object itself.

Whitehead’s distinctions may seem mostly syllogistic, but if perceived events are contemporary happenings, then perception demonstrates to us an extensive continuum in which these happenings are qualified by the bodily states. This statement is an application of his premise that all things are extensions of, and within, the same physical field. Thus there is always some relevance during the interaction between the body and any perceived event. Whitehead writes: “The correct interpretation of this relevance is the art of utilizing the perceptive mode of presentational immediacy as a means for understanding the world as a medium.”

This proposition encourages me to link very disparate objects in doing collage. For example, Athena #2, The Origins of War (shown at right) includes photos of brain tissue and the bronze head of Athena. The texture of the plates surrounding Athena’s face is painted to harmonize with the fibrous complexity of the brain tissue. Athena and monster are also overpainted with similar texture. By unifying these textures I implemented a metaphoric idea in which all these disparate objects can have significant formal likeness to encourage intersubjective feelings that may be felt as relevant to each other. It is an attempt to express “understanding the world as a medium.” If recognized, this idea would represent a high-grade propositional feeling. 

While I cannot be sure that I have accomplished a plausible representation to others, or that they would consider it important, I am continually drawn to the idea as a challenge to further effort.

Where does “understanding the world as a medium” get us? Whitehead writes:

The human body is to be conceived as a complex “amplifier”- to use the language of the technology of electromagnetism. The various actual entities, which compose the body, are so coordinated that the experiences of any part of the body are transmitted to one or more central occasions to be inherited with enhancements accruing along the way or finally added by reason of the final integration. The enduring personality is the historic route of living occasions which are severally dominant in the body at successive instants. The human body is thus achieving on a scale of concentrated efficiency a type of social organization, which with every gradation of efficiency constitutes the orderliness whereby a comic epoch shelters in itself intensity of satisfaction.  

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