Nowhere in Particular
Jonathan Miller writing about the book in the Independent
the capacity to resolve fine detail is confined to a surprisingly small area of the retina, the fovea, around which visual acuity falls off so steeply that it’s impossible to take in the details of a whole scene at a single glance. Try fixing your eyes on the last word of this sentence and see how difficult it is to read the surrounding text. The result of this restricted acuity is that our perception of the visual world has to be assembled in discrete installments. Although we are not explicitly aware of doing so we are constantly flicking our gaze from one part of the visual field to the next, and by bringing the specialised centre of the retina to bear on one sector of the scene after another we collect an anthology of sporadic snapshots from which we build up an apparently detailed picture of the world around us.