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7. LECTURE VII. THE DEFINITION OF PERCEPTION (continued)
In our illustration of the actor, we spoke, for the moment, as though each spectator's mind were wholly occupied by the one actor. If this were the case, it might be possible to define the biography of one spectator as a series of successive aspects of the actor related according to the laws of dynamics. But in fact this is not the case. We are at all times during our waking life receiving a variety of impressions, which are aspects of a variety of things. We have to consider what binds together two simultaneous sensations in one person, or, more generally, any two occurrences which forte part of one experience. We might say, adhering to the standpoint of physics, that two aspects of different things belong to the same perspective when they are in the same place. But this would not really help us, since a "place" has not yet been defined. Can we define what is meant by saying that two aspects are "in the same place," without introducing anything beyond the laws of perspective and dynamics?
I do not feel sure whether it is possible to frame such a definition or not; accordingly I shall not assume that it is possible, but shall seek other characteristics by which a perspective or biography may be defined.
When (for example) we see one man and hear another speaking at the same time, what we see and what we hear have a relation which we can perceive, which makes the two together form, in some sense, one experience. It is when this relation exists that two occurrences become associated. Semon's "engram" is formed by all that we experience at one time. He speaks of two parts of this total as having the relation of "Nebeneinander" (M. 118; M.E. 33 ff.), which is reminiscent of Herbart's "Zusammen." I think the relation may be called simply "simultaneity." It might be said that at any moment all sorts of things that are not part of my experience are happening in the world, and that therefore the relation we are seeking to define cannot be merely simultaneity. This, however, would be an error--the sort of error that the theory of relativity avoids. There is not one universal time, except by an elaborate construction; there are only local times, each of which may be taken to be the time within one biography. Accordingly, if I am (say) hearing a sound, the only occurrences that are, in any simple sense, simultaneous with my sensation are events in my private world, i.e. in my biography. We may therefore define the "perspective" to which the sensation in question belongs as the set of particulars that are simultaneous with this sensation. And similarly we may define the "biography" to which the sensation belongs as the set of particulars that are earlier or later than, or simultaneous with, the given sensation. Moreover, the very same definitions can be applied to particulars which are not sensations. They are actually required for the theory of relativity, if we are to give a philosophical explanation of what is meant by "local time" in that theory The relations of simultaneity and succession are known to us in our own experience; they may be analysable, but that does not affect their suitability for defining perspectives and biographies. Such time-relations as can be constructed between events in different biographies are of a different kind: they are not experienced, and are merely logical, being designed to afford convenient ways of stating the correlations between different biographies.
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