Our life- our Human Experience
Experiencing is to us humans that “feedback”, which brings us the answer to our volition and deed, and thereby helps us to maturing realisation.
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"I look at something..."- an easy, everyday procedure. One believes. On closer examination, human perception, human perception is revealed as the interplay of many processes, only a part of which we can observe and explain scientifically.
Human perception takes place in two steps. The first step includes all that can be measured objectively nerve excitation by a receptor organ such as the eye, transmission of information across intermediate steps to cerebral cortex. Here the visual information is processed mosaic-like in different zones, classified by form, colour and movement, and arranged in edges, numbers, words, objects and faces. In addition, the brain stores what is seen in categories, differentiating between animate and lifeless, animal or plant, bird or insect, duck or chicken if for example we saw a bird.
The second step comprises sensory impression and the actual perception. Both are subjective, and cannot be measured. What impression the perception releases must be ascertained by the person. Why that is so is discussed in the second part of this contribution. Let us first deal with what can be objectively measured.
Conscious and automatic senses
Human sensory perception encompasses the five known senses - sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell, which to us are processes that can be objectively measured and cause consciousness. Our perception, though, takes in other, less known senses, which we only become aware of when absent.
Let us look at the misfortune that befell the butchers's mate Ian Waterman, when he was 19 ears old and cut his finger! For him this small accident was at first nothing unusual, and he also did not look after it when the wound became inflamed. Finally he got a headache, had to lie down and soon felt as if he was floating in the bed. He did not feel his body, could not get up and in the long run would have been wheelchair-bound the rest of his life if he had not learned with great tenacity to plan his movements with the eyes. He needed one month before he could again straighten up in bed, three months before he could walk. Each morning he is totally depressed, because each day is more arduous than a marathon race.
What happened? Ian Waterman had lost his sense of propioception by a nerve inflammation, the feeling of exertion of muscles and tendons, which we need to walk and to move. An important sense, whose meaning we are usually not at all conscious of in everyday life. Other automatic senses are the sense of balance, the sense of strength, which becomes conscious when we lift weights, the sense of pain and heat.
Now let us go into specific features of our five senses and ask ourselves with which sense the thought faculty could have been originally linked.
Did it begin with smell?
It is reported of Friedrich Schiller, the poet, that he kept old apples in his desk drawer, whose smell inspired him to write. In fact, we know today that just the sense of smell is connected especially closely with our world of thought and feeling.
The sense of smell developed early in evolution. Fish have very good sense of smell. An eel can smell a tiny droplet of phenylalcohol on a dilution 50 million cubic kilometres of water - that corresponds approximately to the volume of Lake Constance. At this dilution the eel would have only one or two molecules in its nasal cavity. Minnows - small, lively school of fish - flee or dive to the bottom if they smell pike. Their well-developed sense of smell warns them of the predator and makes them react. Young salmon sniff their native river if, coming from the sea, they again find the arm of the river where they were spawned.
In the cerebrum, the olfactory brain is the first predominant in evolution. Only with reptiles is a small bit of neocortex formed, that is, the part of the brain which corresponds to the cerebral cortex.
In lower mammals the olfactory brain and neocortex are equally big, while man possesses only a small olfactory brain. Also the surface of the olfactory lining - that i, the nose area which reacts to smells- is much smaller in humans than for instance in the dog. The dog gets to know most of its surroundings via the nose and is known to communicate its presence unabashed to all animals which likewise obtain knowledge of their surroundings via the nose.
But important as the sense of smell is for perception, no one yet knows how smelling exactly functions. The nervous activity patterns in the nose are very complex, but also very specific, as can be seen in the illustration below. They already differ if one sent in comparison to another contains just one extra carbon group.
Smelling is strongly linked with our emotions. The animals determines prey, friend and enemy by smell. Man, too, chooses, unconsciously in part, by scent whom he likes around him. If we "cannot smell somebody", then the dislike is usually very deep
Because of the great importance of smell it is quite possible that emotional judgement - thinking: "Is this good for me or not? " - started with smelling. In the human brain the olfactory cortex lies very near the limbic system these brain areas process emotions. Smelling likewise has close connections with taste and over this pathway a further relationship with our wellbeing.
No smell, no taste
Smelling uses two ways to discover odours: externally originating smells are detected in the course of inhaling, scents from foods with exhaling!
Brief components of meals, thus the aromas, radiate much wider in the brain relative to other senses than smells from the environment, for the simple reason that look and taste are added. As soon as a desire for certain foods predominates, an area in the cerebrum, called island (insula),is involved in recognition. It informs about the feeling in the stomach.
In the tongue are taste buds, mainly in front and at the rear edges (see above illustration). These contain the receptors for all five primary taste sensations: salty, sour, sweet, bitter and umani. Umami is the Japanese term for "delicious flavour". It is aligned to broth and is produced by protein components glutamate and asparate. No individual areas in the tongue are responsible for a certain taste, but all are always for the whole taste.
Each taste bud contains several cells. The receptors for various taste substances exist on different cells. There are sweet, sour, bitter cells that carry receptors only for this taste. In mice experiments receptors for bitter substances were put on sweet cells. The result was that the mice took to the substance were put on sweet cells. The result was that the mice took the bitter substance, because sweet cells, if they are active, produced always the perception of sweet, independent of which receptors they carry.
Receptors for sweet taste do not operate in cats. It is therefore probably futile to want to seek to lure kittens with sweet or tigers with honey, because they do not know what is sweet. But they are completely crazy about unami taste.
The five different taste variants result in a distinctive taste variants result in a distinctive composition together with brief aromas of meals.
Synesthesia two simultaneous sensory perceptions.
Taste has a special relationship with language, more precisely, words. This manifests not only in the fact that tongue is used for articulation. The relation is made especially clear with synestheses, who taste the sense of words. Synesthesia is the ability to have another sensory perception jointly with reading or hearing, thus for example seeing coloured letters. Some synesthetes taste a word before they can utter it. The sense of taste is awakened by thinking about a word, not necessarily by its sound or spelling. The taste is produces by the name. For example, the word "mince" can evoke minced meat taste just as the rhyming word "prince".
Synesthetes differ in the way the simultaneous perception looks, for example letter and colour. There are those who see, as it is for the normal person, green letters on the screen, thus outside by itself; others however, see the colour to the letters before their mind's eye, thus within.
From sensory impression to perception
How does the transition of information processing in the brain to the sensory impression take place? What do we know about it?
In seeing this screen, the eye, as we know, is picturing the screen. But who is looking at the page? The brain or= you yourself?
In the brain visual information is broken down into many details and is stored like a mosaic. There are, as we mentioned, cerebral areas for oolour, movement, faces and objects, for animal names, tools and people. How does a picture arise again? No one knows. No higher region is also known where all the threads gather. No homunculus, ego, has been located in the brain. Why do we not see only details? This border of the objectively measurable with the subjectively experienced cannot be crossed, since to receive a sensory impression, from which perception follows, we must be conscious of the picture.
There is occasional talk of the inner eye or mind's eye and from the term sensory impression it can be inferred that something must be there which can be impressed. Is it the spirit that is affected by sensory impression?
What is spirit?
What in us perceives?
By spirit, almost everyone understands something different today. Those who agree with Aristotle think of reason. Some see spirit as an adversary of the soul, as equivalent to intellect. It was seen in the past as a higher stage of being in the sense of conscious thinking. The philosopher Hegel made a distinction in subjective and objective designates capacity of abstraction, force of thinking, likewise perception and intuition. Objective mind covers more general human abilities such as art, science and language. Nowadays we are inclined rather to regard spirit as intellectual brilliance - in contrast to academic perspective of a mental soul in essential relation with the body.
While to one philosopher the brain mutates to the subjective mind, and the objective mind is an artificial product of culture, ideas and artistic creativity, another likens the spirit to computer technology, whereby spirit represents neither hardware nor software, but a kind of firmware hardwired in the brain by evolution. In contrast, to others, the spirit cannot be derived from the physical, that there is consequently a dualism of spirit and body, and that spirit represents the human person.
Which of the many contradictory views on the nature of spirit is right?
The concepts "absent-minded" and "present-minded" let us conclude that spirit must have something to do with consciousness. With absentmindedness the one concerned is not with it, his perception is occupied with something else. Present=minded is a behaviour in which the one concerned is not only with it, but is especially enthusiastic and acts fast. It is as if the spirit, the conscious and animated entity in us, is particularly active.
Abd-ru-shin writes in "In the Light of Truth" that spirit actually represents a non-physical condition, which exists in Creation in different gradations. One concerns the human spirit. The spirit, therefore, animates the physical body and also represents the personality of man.
From this view, it is the spirit impressed by the process across the sensory organs and the brain, which perceives the happening consciously, and from it draws conclusions and decides, acts - provided our intellect permits the natural interaction between spirit and the physical world. Because the intellect can ignore the impulses of the spirit, our innermost core of being. This happens if a person has got into the habit of letting only earthly things count. That is also the reason why some can look upon the intellects as adversity of he soul (the spirit).
Spirit expresses itself in the volition and in intuition, which can be perceived as feeling in the stomach, longing in the heart, as enthusiasm, and which seizes the whole body, or - in the unpleasant sense - as weight on the shoulders, pressure in the tummy or as choking in the throat.
Spiritual experience therefore has very much to do with the daily condition -whether one is in a cheerful and happy mood or is beside his body, feeling uncomfortable.
For transmission of sensory perception regarding intuition,the above-mentioned limbic system is responsible. With its assistance there is recognition in a flash whether the person opposite is trustworthy or not. The limbic system becomes active and sends information down to the belly. There an evaluation is carried out, the limbic system ceases in activity, while the intellect in form of the frontal brain becomes active.
As long as the brain is busy processing external perceptions that are of conscious interest to us, it cannot at the same time take up intentions and perceptions from inside, thus from the spirit. To process impulses from within, leisure and silence are a good condition.
The importance of the contact across the limbic system with the spirit is shown by findings in people who have a damaged limbic system. They are generally very cold and act in many situations utterly thoughtlessly. In poker they play, for example, without consideration of risk. Although they may have a rational grasp of the danger, the thread of losing their entire possession does not deter them from acting in this way. Sound people get anxious and terminate the game- owing to their connection with the spirit, which - in form of the voice of conscience - intimates the right thing to do.
The spirit is not immaterial in the sense of a void, as is sometimes assumed, but is of a condition which differs fundamentally from the material substance of the body. Nonetheless a reciprocal effect between spirit and body is possible. We know how strongly we can affect our body with our volition and what can be achieved with will-power.
Perception of sense and spirit
What is the usefulness of perception? Naturally we need physical sense organs to live. To perceive the outside world impulses emanate from inside, from the spirit. With spiritual perception we can evaluate situations and verify the truth of a statement.
The biblical parable of the wise and foolish virgins is meant in this sense. The wise virgins, who have oil in their lamps, keep their spiritual perception alive and are therefore in the position to recognise the bridegroom if he shows up suddenly or, transferred to the present, if they hear his word. They are thus able to perceive the truth spiritually. The foolish virgins do not nourish their spirit, have no oil in their lamps, because they trust solely their intellect and suppress their spiritual impulses. If they meet the word of the bridegroom, they cannot grasp its truth. They go, figuratively, past the bridegroom without recognition.
We should strengthen our intuitive capacity and grant more room to spiritual perception. This inner perception expresses itself among other things in spontaneous "unconscious" decisions.
Spirit, the living core in us (yellow), perceives. It is cloaked by bodies of the soul (red) and of the physical world (blue). The physical brain belongs to the physical plane, but the intellect can ignore impulses of the spirit .
The fact that an unconscious recognition really is possible shows in the example of a woman who, due to a brain injury, can no longer identify faces, not even her own. If she looks at pictures of known and unknown people she makes no recognition. However, simultaneous measurement of skin conductivity showed that she probably emotionally recognises her friends. It shows how strongly our conscious perception ability is affected by certain brain functions and that there is another level of perception and recognition.
Even when it comes to complex questions we can unconsciously without thinking purposefully about something and rationally balancing the pros and cons- make the right decisions "from the gut". In a study participants had to find the qualitatively best car based on favourable and unfavourable signs. Deciding "unconsciously", 59 percent of the participants chose the right car, while with a rational decision only 23 percent were right.
In daily life intuition is extremely useful. If we developed an idea how a multifaceted relationship is to be interpreted, our intuition is announced. To spiritual activity likewise belongs artistic work, which is fed from the perception of the fine-material environment and intuition, as well as stirrings of conscience.
Since we should bear responsibility for our decision and these should agree with the Laws of Creation, if they are to be crowned with success, the conscience is a great help for the human being. It cautions if a decision does not correspond with the Laws of Creation, or affirmative, enchanting, if we decide rightly. Therefore it is important to recognise and act according to the general laws of life.
Compiled by Edeltraud Grace
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