For centuries, in metaphysics, the idea of essence was a framework for understanding the perceivable world. An object could be perceived in countless ways, and could have varying characteristics, but it would always have the same essence and thus always be the same object. The idea of essence was what made it possible to collect the scattered sensory data in a meaningful concept. The world was knowable, understandable, and it could be mastered by the mind.

The idea of essence has lost its position in modern thinking, and this has changed the role of perception. This change is particularly associated with the spread of digital recording - through the camera and the hard drive. Sensory impressions are no longer ephemeral, but can be stored in a digital code, and has thus been absolute. Today, it is the sensory data that is permanent, and the essence that is disappearing, and as a result, the conceivable object is equal to its cumulative properties. A phenomenon is now recognized by the accelerating circulation of its properties - through the accumulation of data that form an orbital structure.

The absence of the idea of essence meant the re-enchantment of the world. Instead of being viewed through an absolute mindset, the world was once more versatile and enigmatic. Like looking through a prism.

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