Saccades

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Today, while reading Tom Vanderbilt’s The Pleasure and Pain of Speed from Nautilus’ Issue 9, I learned about the saccade. This is the term for the rapid movement of eyes between fixation on different objects. Our visual perception is basically turned off during this time — which, apparently, makes up about 60 — 90 minutes of our day.

This ties in nicely to an anthropological theory I have that I wrote about over a decade ago: The Space Between Thoughts. I think we have an instinctual awareness that our perceptions are incomplete — and then we come up with all kinds of stories and theories for what happens in those gaps, and where our perception fails. What happens during a saccade. The saccade is where the coin reappears — where the magic happens.

It’s nice to finally have a word for it.