The bounds of space are the bounds of consciousness


Visual awareness produces a supreme weirdness: “I,” the subject of awareness, seems to pervade the whole space presented by (and, we will see, identical with) my visual field. I can generate a relaxed, non-specific visual awareness and put my attention on how my awareness occupies every (x, y, z) subject to my awareness. This indicates that my awareness is positioned everywhere in space inside the distance spanning from the “I”-center all the way to the horizon. This means that I fill the gap between self-center and the boundary of reflective surfaces around me. Go out to the ocean or desert and you’ll find your consciousness penetrating all the way out to the horizon line.

How do we determine distance? If an object looks like a human but is the height of a penny at arm’s length, then the human is far away. An object that is lateral to my line of sight moves towards it as it moves away from me. Over time we learn the correlation of away to up or down and left or right.

This process we carry out in the imagination to construct the sense of depth (z-dimension) belonging to something that could quite easily be taken as x- and y-positions on a 2-dimensional screen immediately in front of us. The depth of the z-axis does not come merely with the crossing and diverging of the eyes. It is schematized as lateral movement along the y- and x-axes. Always: moving away is also moving to the center. We are very comfortable with representing depth as change in y and x.

Since the “distance” of “empty space” between me (an extended three dimensional body) and the horizon (or surface) of my vision is nothing, it is therefore mine and full of me. Consciousness inhabits surrounding space with self. Empty space and the horizon/surface belong to the self. They are subjective prehension. The bounds of space are the bounds of consciousness here and now.