Bearing Fruit

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fig_leaf

No greater thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.

Epictetus

To what extent do we have shared or unique perceptual experiences? We examine how the answer to this question is constrained by the processes of visual adaptation. Adaptation constantly recalibrates visual coding so that our vision is normalized according to the stimuli that we are currently exposed to. These normalizations occur over very wide ranging time scales, from milliseconds to evolutionary spans. The resulting adjustments dramatically alter the appearance of the world before us, and in particular alter visual salience by highlighting how the current image deviates from the properties predicted by the current states of adaptation. To the extent that observers are exposed to and thus adapted by a different environment, their vision will be normalized in different ways and their subjective visual experience will differ. These differences are illustrated by considering how adaptation influences properties which vary across different environments. To the extent that observers are exposed and adapted to common properties in the environment, their vision will be adjusted toward common states, and in this respect they will have a common visual experience. This is illustrated by considering the effects of adaptation on image properties that are common across environments. In either case, it is the similarities or differences in the stimuli – and not the intrinsic similarities or differences in the observers – which largely determine the relative states of adaptation. Thus at least some aspects of our private internal experience are controlled by external factors that are accessible to objective measurement.


2 Chronicles 7:14
The Message (MSG)
12-18 God appeared to Solomon that very night and said, “I accept your prayer; yes, I have chosen this place as a temple for sacrifice, a house of worship. If I ever shut off the supply of rain from the skies or order the locusts to eat the crops or send a plague on my people, and my people, my God-defined people, respond by humbling themselves, praying, seeking my presence, and turning their backs on their wicked lives, I’ll be there ready for you: I’ll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health. From now on I’m alert day and night to the prayers offered at this place. Believe me, I’ve chosen and sanctified this Temple that you have built: My Name is stamped on it forever; my eyes are on it and my heart in it always. As for you, if you live in my presence as your father David lived, pure in heart and action, living the life I’ve set out for you, attentively obedient to my guidance and judgments, then I’ll back your kingly rule over Israel—make it a sure thing on a sure foundation. The same covenant guarantee I gave to David your father I’m giving to you, namely, ‘You can count on always having a descendant on Israel’s throne.’

An Arab proverb illustrates the concept that as the tares and wheat grow, they show which of these God has blessed. The stalks of wheat bow their heads because God has blessed them with abundant grain. The more fruitful they are, the lower their heads. The tares lift their heads up high above the wheat, for they are empty of grain.

D.L. Moody once said, “I have a pear tree on my farm that is very beautiful; it appears to be one of the most beautiful trees on my place. Every branch seems to be reaching up to the light and stands almost like a wax candle, but I never get any fruit from it. I have another tree, which was so full of fruit last year that the branches almost touched the ground. If we only get down low enough, my friends, God will use every one of us to His glory….The holiest Christians are the humblest.”

When our prayers focus only on ourselves and our needs, they bear little fruit. When our prayers are focused on the Lord and His desires, they produce a great harvest. To yield what we want to what He wants is not only the key to prayers, but also the key to success in every area of our lives. Humility is the principle aid to prayer. If we see more humility than pride our adaptations of what is real, true and pleasing to God would recalibrate itself to believe those visuals rather than what we so often put our adaptations and normalizations on.

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