My life as a graduate student consists of coming up with crazy ideas related to machine perception of the visual world. Somewhere between the cold objective yet uninterpretable reality and the resplendent human mind lies the human visual system. I'm not actually into retinas per se. However, I strive to understand the process that is responsible for understanding the visual world. Inadvertently, I am into gateways between the objective and the subjective (ie I'm into eyes in the metaphorical sense).
Many people would agree with the statement that the personal experience of 'thinking' is rather subjective, while the personal experience of 'seeing' is rather objective when two different people are looking at the same thing. However, I dont agree with this statement. I'm rather skeptical of a hard split between the objective world and the subjective realm inside us. If vision is observation and thinking is theory, then Popper's thesis that all observations are theory laden translates as follows: seeing is tainted with intelligence. I'm not saying that it is the eyes that are doing anything magical to transform the cold soulless material world to the warm and fuzzy subjective real of inner consciousness; however, visual information is processed via this gateway and if we want to ever reconstruct (or at least fit a naive model) someone's inner realm then we have to start hacking the eyes.
Perhaps we should not be looking for intelligence in people's brains. Perhaps we (I?) should look at the gateway between the objective and the subjective.
I like to wear sunglasses so that people don't know what I'm thinking. The gateway is the weakest link and I don't want to be exposed to crackers. Even though I'm not overly afraid of van eck phreakers peeking into my soul, I still wear shades. But you and I don't really need expensive van eck phreaking apparatus (fMRI?) when we have our own eyes. Peek into an eye today and learn an idea tomorrow.