Friday, October 19, 2012

Our perception of the world

The adage ‘Ignorance is Bliss’ can easily be proven wrong when we realize that our civilization have a higher level of material comfort provided by the latest technologies achievements, our life expectancy is much greater than our ancestors' was, we are traveling all over the world and we are having fun just because our scientists always found pleasure in discovering more and more.
The Simpsons, episode 257 "HOMЯ"Lisa Simpson was proved wrong when put “As intelligence goes up, happiness goes down. See, I made a graph.” The Simpsons, episode 257 "HOMЯ"

leia este artigo em Português

So, the key to our development is in the knowledge of the world around us. Each animal on the planet has different tools for these purposes; these "organs of the senses" vary widely from animal to animal and provide them with different interpretations.

How does a one-millimeter worm perceive the world around it?

We know that we have a far better perception of the world around us than a roundworm – the question is – is our senses the best tool to understand the world?

Perhaps strange phenomena such as the manifestation of ghosts, apparition of UFOs and precognition are mere natural events, which our sensory organs together with our brain’s discernment does not allow us to understand.

A dog has no idea of the enormous amount of information that exists in a library and may interpret the shot a shotgun as the "wrath of human gods". And so much for the worm, it does not make the slightest idea of what a bridge is.

Perhaps when we find a far more advanced living being and ask him about ghosts and UFOs, his explanation would be extremely difficult for us to understand. We may have the same difficulty to understand his explanations as a dog trying to learn how to project and build a bridge using advanced software and the utmost technology.
Sebastian Stoskopff, L'été ou Les cinq sens - July 13, 1597 – February 10, 1657).

Human consciousness is still in a stage "experimental" - is a very recent acquisition of nature. Life began on Earth 3.5 billion years ago, but we just achieve consciousness about 6000 years ago (if we take the writing as the first manifestation of consciousness). This is a subject rarely addressed by science, because misoneism makes us seek solace in religion, which gives us a greater sense of comfort.

There is an animal on our planet that can help us better understand how we interact with our universe, in 1963, Sydney Brenner proposed that the small nematode called Caenorhabditis elegans should be considered the perfect model organism for scientific investigation of animal development and behavior. With about 1 mm long, the C elegans are not parasites, they are free-living, spend 14 hours as an embryo, live in soil and feed on bacteria. It is the first multicellular organism for which scientists have been able to sequence its whole genome.

C. elegans has two types of sex: hermaphrodite and male. A hermaphrodite makes sperms when its in a larval stage and makes ova in an adult stage. A male can only make sperm. Males are a little smaller than hermaphrodites.
the range of electromagnetic perception we have is extremely narrow

The perception that a Caenorhabditis elegans has about the world is much simpler than ours. While this worm has only the somatic sensory system, humans have the traditional five senses of Aristotle; we hear from 20hz to 20,000 Hz, we see from 400 to 790 THz (it is imperative to say that the range of electromagnetic perception we have is extremely narrow, see comparison chart above) we have the sense of touch, smell and taste, and some others like nociception (pain); equilibrioception (balance); proprioception and kinaesthesia (joint motion and acceleration); sense of time; thermoception (temperature differences); and possibly an additional weak magnetoception (direction), and we have a very sophisticated brain to analyze all those data.

The process of perception begins with an object in the real world, termed the distal stimulus or distal object. By means of light, sound or another physical process, the object stimulates the body's sensory organs. These sensory organs transform the input energy into neural activity—a process called transduction. This raw pattern of neural activity is called the proximal stimulus. These neural signals are transmitted to the brain and processed. The resulting mental recreation of the distal stimulus is the percept. Perception is sometimes described as the process of constructing mental representations of distal stimuli using the information available in proximal stimuli.

The Caenorhabditis elegans has about 302 neurons in the brain /whole nervous system, with ~ 5,000 synapses. (Humans have about 85,000,000,000 neurons in the brain /whole nervous system, with ~ 1014-1015 synapses). The nervous system is by far the most complex organ in C. elegans, almost a third of all the cells in the body (302 out of 959 in the adult hermaphrodite to be precise) are neurons. 20 of these neurons are located inside the pharynx, which has its own nervous system.

C. elegans has no eyes but they are affected by the ultraviolet light by its transparent body, they should react to the radiation in order not to be exposed to it.

More complex animals have intricate perceptual systems that respond to many different features of their environment – insects, despite their impressive eyes, are most sensitive to trails of chemicals; bats are blind to light but responsive to sonar pulses; dogs and pigs depend more on smell than vision for sensing the world.

Non-human animals may possess senses that are absent in humans, such as electroreception and detection of polarized light.

Many animals (salamanders, reptiles, mammals) have a vomeronasal organ that is connected with the mouth cavity. In mammals it is mainly used to detect pheromones to mark their territory, trails, and sexual state. Reptiles like snakes and monitor lizards make extensive use of it as a smelling organ by transferring scent molecules to the vomeronasal organ with the tips of the forked tongue. In mammals, it is often associated with a special behavior called flehmen characterized by uplifting of the lips. The organ is vestigial in humans, because associated neurons have not been found that give any sensory input in humans.
Dogs do not go to libraries to read, worms do not build bridges and the man still believes that many natural phenomena are supernatural. We all have our limitations of perception and consciousness.
What should be the next steps in the evolution of humans?

The starting point for assessing what would make us smarter would be by improving our brain. But scientists insist that the size of the birth canal is the factor that ultimately limited brain size. For that I have the appropriate answer:
The same way that organs like the lungs and heart are protected by a bony armor called the ribcage, which is deformed at birth, allowing passage through the birth canal and then returning to normal, the brain could be inside that same structure (if this morphological alteration take place, we would look like Blemyas - lol).

But what benefit would we have if we had a brain bigger? - I believe that the most important modification would be our communicability, since our social need should be greatly increased.

According to Dr. A. K. Pradeep in his book “The Buying Brain: Secrets for Selling to the Subconscious Mind”, we received a tremendous amount of information in our brains, but we have great difficulty to process it consciously and an even bigger difficulty to communicates them.

Dr. Pradeep says that we receive approximately 11 million bits through our senses, but we only process consciously about 40 bits a second.

And when we have to tell an experience received in our brain, we have to translate this billions of bits into a few words, task extremely synthetic, which allows millions of information to be omitted and also allows noise and communication errors.

So our next step in the evolutionary response would be 'Homo blemmyae'. In his/her large brain would have billions of neuronal transmission and reception organelles, and thus would be able to practice telepathy.
Blemya Talk Show - Maybe monsters like the Blemya make us better understand monsters like the Blemya

Since we can directly interact in the minds of our fellowmen, lack of reliability would be eliminated, the feeling of pain of our mate would affect us directly, thus we would eliminate all the things that can cause suffering on others, such as treason, corruption, etc.. We also should eliminate poverty, indifference, and hunger since we do not want to feel the effects of these ills issued by someone next to us.

This would be called the era of the 'Homo blemmyae collectivum'.

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