Friday, 15 July 2011

Paris and I ~ 'Sandcastles of my Brain'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Sandcastles Of My Brain ~

Sandcastles of my Brain, originally uploaded by Paris Set Me Free.

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Happy days are here again... Or Paris Beach is back, at least, that much we can say.

And this year there is a rather special attraction: a fabulous sandcastle sculpted by, well, sandcastle sculpting experts I presume, from all over Europe so the blurb goes.

It is indeed a wondrous thing, and I'm sure I'm not alone in wondering also, why, for Thor's sake, doesn't it just blow away, or disintegrate into an inelegant heap with all this wind and rain we've been having lately.

This reminds me of a classic philosophical connundrum: when is a sandcastle not a sandcastle.

If that seems rather obscure, don't worry, it is. The reasoning goes like this...

We look at what we see here before us and see... a beautiful sandcastle. Most of us would agree with that.

But what if the wind blew, ever so gently, and one, just one tinsy-winsy little grain of sand sadly fell from this awe-inspiring structure. Would we still see a glorious kingly, fairytale structure? Probably.

But then you keep on doing this, again and again and again. Most people would also agree that the sandcastle is made from a finite number of grains of sand; you could count them, in other words, if you were that mad or that bored.

Therefore we could imagine, after a pretty long time, admittedly, that we would be down to the last few grains of sand of our erstwhile marvellous masterpiece. Let's face it, it would be pretty difficult to still call a handful of sand consisting of, say 500 grains of sand, a magnificent such as we see here.

And yet, at no time in the process of removing grains, one by one, could we honestly say, "Ah hah! Now, with that last grain that just blew away it's most definitely changed from being a beautiful castle to just a pile of sand." The chances are we won't notice the slightest bit of different between beautiful sandcastle and beautiful sandcastle minus one grain.

So what's going on? At what point, if any, does the castle become a crumple, and how can we be so sure of there being two distinct states (castle and no castle) and yet not be able to perceive the change even through extremely close observation?

It probably says a lot about the way we peceive the world and what it is necessary and just as importantly not necessary to be aware of. I guess if we needed, of some reason, to see things actually changing over a long period of time, we'd have been given the capacities to do so.

As it is we'd need a sort of timelapse brainography to register these changes, during which we'd be wasting our lives away, so don't. It's quite simple really. Kind of. Like getting old. Are you aware of it? Forget about it. Enough of building sandcastles in my brain. Think I'll go and build some in Spain instead.

© 2011
Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

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