Consciousness and the Prior Given of Space and Light

This paper was presented to the Invencao - Thinking the New Millennium Conference, Sao Paulo, Brazil, August 1999

Conference presentation made possible by travel funding generously awarded by the British Academy.


This paper explores the human perception of space and light as a unifying and underlying principle in art, science and the spiritual. Space and light are presented as a joint entity space-light which is regarded as a prior given of human experience, both of the objective and the subjective. If science is the systematic investigation of the objective, then the spiritual is presented as a systematic investigation of the subjective, with art as a possible mediator between these two worlds. Two British mystics, Douglas Harding and Thomas Traherne, are introduced as having systems of thought with roots in the prior given of space-light, while the anthropic principle from science is introduced with some of its implications for light and space.

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