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Events

An event is a discrete bit of consciousness; an occurrence, experience or incident. Not all happenings are sensual, but many are. Indeed Anaxagorean sensations are selected for consideration exactly because experiencing one is a very common event for most people. So we assert the first hypothesis by defining a physical event as a mathematical set of Anaxagorean sensations. This definition formally limits the scope of EthnoPhysics. Events are generically noted using a letter, usually P, together with a subscript like this: \mathsf{P} _{\mathit{k}}  \; . Here are some examples that are expressed using the icons for Anaxagorean sensations. If an event called \mathsf{R} _{\mathit{a}} was experienced as a burning red sensation, we could write

\mathsf{R}_{\mathit{a}} \equiv

{

,

}

\mathsf{  =  \{ A, T \} }

Another incident that felt like a freezing red sensation on the left could be represented as

\mathsf{R}_{\mathit{b}} \equiv

{

,

,

}

\sf{  =  \{ A, B,  \overline{O}  \} }

As a third example, the occurrence of a tepid red sensation on the right might be expressed as

\mathsf{R}_{\mathit{c}} \equiv

{

,

,

,

}

\sf{  =  \{ A, C, S, O  \} }

The characteristic that all these examples share is the visual sensation of redness. So we use the letter R to identify them all. The descriptive method of EthnoPhysics combines sequences like these to build-up an account of more complicated experience.

Chains of Events

Events are often arranged in ordered-sets called chains of events. Then the subscript in a symbol is used to indicate location in the ordered-set. In general any sensation can be used to organize order. And to be put in order, happenings must be somewhat different from each other. But grouping phenomena together in a chain also implies that they have some common characteristics, at least enough to establish membership in the set. We often use the letter P without a subscript to represent these common attributes. The chains themselves are usually referred to using the Greek letter \Psi as in

\Psi ^{\mathsf{P}} = \left( \mathsf{P}_{1} , \mathsf{P}_{2} , \mathsf{P}_{3} \; \ldots \; \mathsf{P}_{\mathit{k}} \; \ldots \; \right)

For a specific example, we can organize the red events described above into an ordered-set where they are ranked by their thermal character; from burning to cold

\Psi = \left( \mathsf{R}_{\mathit{a}} , \mathsf{R}_{\mathit{c}} , \mathsf{R}_{\mathit{b}} \right)

And here is another example where events are arranged by their somatic attributes, left to right

\Psi ^{\prime  }= \left(    \mathsf{R}_{\mathit{b}} ,   \mathsf{R}_{\mathit{a}} ,    \mathsf{R}_{\mathit{c}}          \right)

Please note that ordering sets in these ways does not depend on any preconceived notions of space or time. Events are arranged using just their sensory qualities. But later we will use \Psi as a mathematical way of representing chronologically ordered experiences. Then as we go from discussing individual-events to chains-of-events our reports get animated. Chains may be called histories or processes. We can even think of them as little movies. And if these chains repeat some sequence of events over and over again, then they are easy to remember. Next we focus on such recurrent happenings, and call them orbits.

Events may be ordered, but not linear, as illustrated in this chromolithograph of Trachomedusae by Ernst Haeckel.
Trachomedusae (detail), Ernst Haeckel, Kunstformen der Natur. Chromolithograph 32 x 40 cm. Photograph by D Dunlop.