Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘sensory organs

Let’s experiment

Posted on November 26, 2010

Whether we admit it or not, every person has constructed a mental model of how he views the universe and life.  

For example, was the universe created, is it infinite, is it timeless… 

And what is life, the purpose of life, what happens after death, is there a soul, what happens to the soul, is the soul individual or a collective soul…?

Since antiquity, philosophers have been discussing and reasoning on the following matter:  

“Do mankind enjoys an innate general spirit (regardless of ethnicity, culture, gender…) that expresses how he views the construct of the universe, or it is an individual learning process relevant to the manner the various sensory organs observe nature and people and organize the information”?

The hypothesis is

Do people with sensory handicaps (blind, deaf…) extend the same kind of subjective understanding of the universe and life as “normal” people do, across all ethnic cultures with oral and written myths and traditions?

First, we need baseline stories on “What do I know about the universe and life?” from “normal” people with “normally” functioning sensory organs (vision, audition…). 

The baseline stories should be captured from varieties of ethnic cultural entities in the five continents, privileging the oral cultures with No recognized written documents, and minority cultures with written cultures but Not read or disseminated universally. 

The baseline stories must discriminate between genders (between group factors) and the ethnic stories within each gender groups.

The baseline stories must discriminate among the stage of maturity of the storyteller (young, adult, middle age, and older people). 

The baseline stories must discriminate among the literacy levels of the subjects (such as they read and write in one language, read only, and only orally literate subjects).  Thus, the team of experimenters must be trained to adequately record answers and stories in uniform fashion.

The next phase of the experiment is gathering stories of sensory handicapped people in the above ethnic and gender groups (blind, deaf…)

We may extend this experiment by artificially handicapping a normal subject by preventing him to see or to hear while resuming his “normal” live for a period.  Do you think that his mental model of the universe might be altered significantly?

Another extension may be involving normal sensory subjects but with different mental capabilities and limitations (over developed or under developed brain powers).  

This experiment would answer the question: “Are reading and listening to stories generate different types of observational data due to further brain processing mechanisms?”

The most essential preparation for the experiment is the designing of an exhaustive questionnaire with exhaustive options to educate the subjects on the varieties of viewpoints and myths. 

For that purpose, the questionnaire will be tested on many preliminary samples of ethnic cultures in order to catch and collect the varieties of relevant options, sort of exhaustive compendium on the different myths and mental models. 

I would recommend that the design requires every question to be answered. This means that those logical procedures of demanding the subject to skip several questions, as in filling tax forms, be eliminated:  We should not fall in the bias of enforcing our rational logic on oral culture ethnic groups and the illiterates.

It is advisable that follow-up oral stories accompany answering the questionnaire. Then, another follow-up written story be attached to the oral story. 

The written story would condense the individual story into a comprehensive and coherent story after the preceding two educational sessions. 

The teams of trained experimenters would have to fill the initial questionnaire with the new information generated by the oral and written stories; missing information can be filled by default, using the original questionnaire for each subject. 

Thus, data analysis can be conducted on the two questionnaires: the before learning process and the after learning process of the mental models.

I find it interesting that, after the written story, the subject would give his opinion on the current theories of astrophysicists on the universe in order to check the cohesion and compatibility of the subjects in their perception of the universe. 

For example: what they think of the theory that this universe is the product of a collision between two universes; that a universe revolves around each black hole; that what we see is a simulated universe of a matrix universe; that the sky is a wall on which the image of the stars and galaxies are projected onto it (a universe as hologram); that the universe keeps changing every time we observe it… 

Do you think that you might change your view if a theory (coming from an astrophysicist) impresses you?

The spontaneous suggestion is “why not ask a subject to tell his story before answering a questionnaire? At least we can have an original version, unbiased by constructed questionnaires.”  

This suggestion is pertinent if it is feasible to nudge a subject to start telling a story without a prompt sheet containing the necessary lines of thoughts to guide the subject in the endeavor: The prompt sheet must be devoid of any biased suggestions.  

In any case, I believe that devising such a prompt sheet is necessary, even if not applied in the experiment, in order to get the questionnaire developed and cleaned of idiosyncratic allusions and local imageries.

The experiment is complex and will need to be subdivided in meaningful stages of shorter experiments.

It is time intensive and for a long duration.

It requires training of large teams of researchers and experimenters.  Preliminary experiments would show the best ways of experimenting piece meal this vast project.

Note 1:  I tend to include materials we read and stories we heard as sensory inputs since they are processed by the brain, at various levels, as sensory observations.

Note 2: Many scholars present the view that what we actually sense are in fact “processed observations”, and not the raw sensed data, since all sensing observations are data processed by the brain at different levels of manipulations.

Good enough: We are dealing with what mankind is observing: That is what is available to forming a coherent structure of the universe and the environment we live into. 

The follow-up lesson is:  Other reasoning species must be viewing the universe differently since their senses have different capacities and limitations, and their brain structures are different from mankind.

Note 3:  The essential question that the previous experiment might offer an answer to is:  “If an individual is handicapped in one or more sensory organs then, by reading or listening to stories, can his brain re-establish what normal people comprehend of the universe?”

Note 4: I conjecture that all the facts, observations, experiments., philosophy… will Not tell us anything “sustainable” of what is life and the universe. What this experiment could boils down to is to “know”:

How the majority, in any ethnic group, likes to conceive the nature of Life and the Universe?

This is fundamental to to evaluate the evolution of human “Emotional Intelligence

Did our sudden Neo-Cortex outgrowth stumped our survival process as a species?

A few of the human species developed this Neo-Cortex outgrowth that was as big as the current species, and they have gone extinct.

The Cro-Magnon barely made use of this outgrowth and they never changed their dwelling habit and tools.

The Neanderthal species left very detailed painting in deep caves and vanished about 30,000 years after spreading in much of current Europe.

The current human species managed through sustained “nurturing procedure” to eventually integrate this process into their genes.

This qualitative jump allowed this species to tap into the potentialities of this new outgrowth, a gift that was Not that needed for its survival but played a big role in sedentary tradition, creating verbal languages and written languages…

The consequences were the forming of highly structured societies in hierarchical trends which affected our brains and sensory organs to structurally filter the multitude of stimuli (or background noises) that bombard our system.

Supposedly, these filtering barriers were meant to allow us to survive our daily tasks within our structured environment.

This Neo-Cortex might be a handicap for our survival since the materialistic “rational” interpretations of phenomena and events are disrupting the vast potentials of our cognitive system.

Since Aristotle, many intellectuals claimed that “Within a few years, all the mysteries and superstitions will be explained and resolved for our rational comprehension.”

And yet, we are no nearer of understanding the multitudes of mysteries surrounding us.

Probably, our deficiencies revolve around:

1. The Neo-Cortex was not “programmed” to resolve abstract concepts related to our death and spiritual quests

2. The tenuous assumption that the power and potentials of our brains have No limits.

Mankind survived for thousand of years and relied on telepathy, premonition, psychokinese, pre-cognition… and people believed on the power of a few leaders (shaman, medicine man, priest of the tribe…) to see the future of events, catastrophes and the like.

People believed in extra-sensory abilities to predict and see what our limited sensory organs can perform.

People accepted that many connections and coincidences were Not related to physical causative factors.

The first half of this century produced scores of Nobel laureates who challenged many classical physical laws and set the stage of a wider openness of the mind to interpret mysteries not resolved by pure cognitive methods. (See notes)

After taking hallucigen matters (natural or lab fabricated), of all kinds, the brains and sensory organs will start recognizing certain stimuli as acceptable inputs or sounds to be retrieved and stored as reality. With frequent intakes, the filter structure in the brains will relax their hold and let more stimuli to pass into the cognitive realm.

The same procedure is valid for these new “Augmented” technology for the sensory organs to enhance our limited perception power.

The difference is that the Augmented technology should be more efficient than those over-doze intake of chemicals that are already in our system, because they create new side networks of neurons and synapsis that circumvent and bypass the hierarchical structure in our nervous system.

The problem with chemical intakes are addictive and prohibit the individual from experimenting with a life without those chemicals, even though with focus and determination they could experience the same extra sensations after they quit.

Mankind is going through a period of totally relying on the autonomous sub branches in our internal hierarchical structure. Most of the experts in sub-field are totally ignorant or uninterested in other disciples.

Barely a few of the intellectuals check with the higher levels in the structure to seek an integrative and holistic view of the problems the word is going through.

Note 1: Essay inspired from Arthur Koestler in “Janus” 1978

Note 2: The first half of the 20th century witnessed a new world view:

1. Heisenberg stated the “Uncertainty Principle“: In the atomic level, it is not possible to accurately measure simultaneously the location and the speed of a particle. Atoms are Not things or have to be viewed as physical objects with local space, speed, dimensions or energy. At the atomic level,  the world of space-time stop to exist

2. The “Mach Principle” states: The properties of inert matters are determined by the Total Mass of the universe. Inertia is Not intrinsic to the physical body.

3. “Bell theorem” states: When 2 particles interacted and went on opposite directions, any interference with one particle will instantaneously affect the other particle, no matter how distant they are from one another.

4. Wolfgang Pauli “Exclusion Principle” states: No two electrons can occupy the same orbit around the nucleus.

5. “Woltereck Principle” states: Nature has the tendency of creating new forms of life (Anamorphous)

6. The biologist Paul Kammerer stated: Series are universal occurring phenomenon. There exist in the universe a tendency to unite same items in categories that has nothing to do with causality. A sort of selective (sympathetic) serial phenomenon is omnipresent and continual in life, nature and the cosmos.

7. John Wheeler stated: Black Holes and White Holes are two hyper-spaces. Each point in a hyper-space represents a complete 3-dimensional world

8. Feynman stated that particles can go back in time for brief instances.

9. Poisson probability distribution is a universal paradox where a large number of incertitude events generate a certainty.

10. Pic de la Mirandole stated:

1) Unity of the beings is so that each in One with itself, consists of itself and adheres to itself (Associative tendency)

2) Unity of each creature to all the other creature and the world (transcendental or integrative tendency)


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