Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How we perceive the world

Most people go about their lives without ever considering the basic functions of the human body.  Unless there are some issues or defects, the majority of us do not consider how the eyes work, or how we are able to hear, etc.  We take for granted the life science classes that describe how the sensory organs work, never considering how they shape our ideas of the world around us.  I want to describe in basic terms how our sensory organs affect our views and beliefs and why it is important to understand in order to judge what is and isn't real, which ultimately shape our beliefs.

I've written in a previous post discussing my view on perception and reality, but now I want to go a bit deeper into the subject matter.

Our eyes are lens that direct light photons to receptors at the back.  There are two types of visual receptors on the inside rear of the eye called rods and cones.  I won't go into detail about these structures (easily Googled), but they absorb the light energy and converts it into different electrochemical signals, which is sent to the back portion of the cerebral cortex called the visual cortex.  In this portion of the brain, the light signals that have been converted into electrochemical signals are then processed by the brain and in turn, we "see".  In physics, the entire electromagnetic frequency spectrum is considered light.  But "light" in visible terms is a very narrow range in the electromagnetic spectrum that travel as assumed particle wave duality, meaning it has force like a particle yet moves in a wave like frequency.  We only perceive with our eyes those frequencies in the visible spectrum and only if there is a light energy particle striking off another particle and reflecting into our eyes.  But if we could see beyond the visible spectrum, we would see the electromagnetic emissions of all matter and we would not need light photons to see things.  In a room with no light source, there is no energy bouncing off of atoms in the visible light frequency to strike the receptors in our eyes, and so we see nothing.  At least in terms of visible spectrum information, we perceive nothing because the receptors in the eye are not designed to detect frequencies outside of that range, but there is always energy emissions from all matter because all matter is energy.  So when we see something as "darkness", it is because we cannot detect the energy emissions outside of the visible spectrum and so we mentally interpret it as "darkness".  Many animals can see in the "darkness" because their eyes can respond to frequencies outside of the visible range.  If we had eyes that are capable of receiving those frequencies outside of the "visible light" range, then we would never see "darkness".  The visible portion is a tiny subset of the electromagnetic frequency spectrum and it restricts our perception of the world.  I know I'm repeating myself, but I want to emphasize the fact that our ability to perceive is only based on our eye's ability or inability to see energy.

So what does "see" mean?  What is "sight"?  As you can tell by the description in the previous paragraphs, it is the result of converting an energy wave into an electrochemical signal which is then interpreted by the conscious mind.  This interpretation by the mind is how we interpret a light wave converted into an electrical signal and finally into a concept.  The concept has meaning and thus that meaning is interpreted as being real.  These concepts with meaning is called a symbol.  We do not think of a table or a chair as a symbol, but that is exactly what they are.  It is what allows us to recognize one type of table from another without getting lost in the differences.  The symbol represents both a concept, which describes a thought or idea, with the meaning, which puts significances for that concept.  You can think of these two components as thought and feeling.  It probably sounds funny that I'm including feeling into the definition of a symbol, but feeling is much more than a body signal.  It is the energy that drives motivation in all things.  Feelings in the body are interpreted as concepts such as love, anger, sadness, etc.  But that is just another form of interpretation of energy, just as the description of light waves being interpreted as sight.  The more interesting aspect is that we just "know" what even a concept is.  How does someone "know" anything?  What does "know" mean?  These are all questions that seem to be unknown to us consciously, and yet we understand and use our ability to "know" without ever thinking about it, just as we can "see" without thinking.

While I have said that our eyes cannot detect the frequencies beyond the visible range, it does not mean we cannot detect these frequencies at all.  There are many who are able to perceive the emissions, and we call this the "auras".  In religious texts, the concept of a halo is the perception of this aura around all things in various colors, but especially around those things that have high frequency emissions.  "Love" aka "Light" is considered the highest frequency and so it will be the strongest to be perceived.

The process of converting an electrical signal into a concept is not known because a concept is not defined as being physical, thus unable to describe a physical process.  If you assume the energy is just a static and limited thing, then you will not understand how energy can be converted into thought.  My belief is that there are actually two processes going on.  One is the physical detection and processing of the energy by the body's senses.  The second, and most important, is that the energy itself contains information.  It is not just a packet of energy as described by science (work), but it is a packet of knowledge, and that energy is interpreted somewhere somehow (my belief is that the energy is received and interpreted by the non-physical self before the physical detection and processing occurs in the body).  Take for example these words that you are reading on this page.  The letters and words have no meaning in and of themselves.  They are nothing more than different intensities of light.  And yet, I can convey not only thoughts, but also feeling through these blobs of color.  It makes no difference what language symbols are used.  They all are able to convey thoughts and feelings, just as paintings, songs, etc..  I already described that symbols are represented as concepts and meaning, or thought and feeling.  Sound works the same way, transferring the energy from sound as electrochemical signals by the ear into the brain and forwarded to the consciousness.  It is clear that the mind controls the function of sight and sound because the visual and auditory systems capture the information, but it is the mind's focus that allows us to see and hear.  Without the mental focus, we would only see a blur or hear just a jumble of noise, unable to recognize or understand anything.  It is our minds that not only filters out information, but translates that information into the symbols.

Many scientists believe that the brain and consciousness are one and the same.  This is because certain experiments that removed or damaged parts of the brain prevented specific functions located at those areas of the brain.  But experiments have also shown the resiliency of the brain, which seems to negate the idea that the brain is segmented into functional areas.  Also, there have been accounts of patients who are blind at birth being able to describe visual details, either from actually visualizing details or from using information that they have heard, which would be impossible if not for the mental ability to "see".  Those that are able to visualize may not be able to describe what they are seeing exactly unless they understand the symbology used by the sighted population.  Those that have learned the visual symbology can describe visual scenery as vividly and with as much feeling as a sighted person because using symbology (this is necessary because we are translating a mental knowledge into a physical form of communication, whether it's speech, writing, or other forms), the information that is transmitted carry both thought and emotion.  In terms of focus, if the brain is the mind, then one must ask where the impetus to filter information come from?  Described another way, the brain is for the most part, a static structure, where the neuronal pathways are already created during the growth period and chemical neurotransmitters is the messaging system.  The brain does change its structure over time due to certain types of mental activity, but not in terms of having immediately changing thoughts.  What triggers the neurotransmitters when a thought occurs?  Is thought a physical thing that can be defined as either a specific neurotransmitter pattern that happens to form somewhere or is it a location in the brain that somehow spontaneously sends out a signal which is interpreted as thought?  Neither of these would be a good answer because it would presume a spontaneous or uncontrolled thought process.  Clearly we have control over our own thoughts (for the most part).  In addition, the concept of will must somehow be tied in with thought, but nothing in neuroscience describes will in the brain structure.  Will is not a type of thought.  It is another word for emotion.  So where does will reside and how are we able to control it along with thought?

We all accept that speech carries thought and emotion, but all mental thought is energy that is transmitted.  There have been devices created recently that is able to capture the brain wave activities of thought and translate them into actions.  The more emotion is put toward the thought (concentration/focus), the stronger the brain wave and the stronger the response to that thought.  This demonstrated the idea that emotion is the energy that propels thought.  Thought is in simple terms, a pattern of energy, while emotion is the amplitude that powers the pattern into action.

All functions of the body operate through these energy messages.  If that is the case, then we must at some level innately understand how to interpret the message otherwise we would not be able to function.  As it stands now, the majority of us can only see the effects of that energy as thought and physical actions.  If you really think about this, you would be amazed that you can even have thought, for what is thought itself?  How would you describe "thought"?  We take for granted many aspects of the body and assume that what we perceive is what we think we are perceiving.  But just as science is trying to understand the fundamentals of material processes, we must try to understand the mental processes that allows us to interpret the material world.  Otherwise, the assumptions and limited understandings can cloud the real processes at work.  In the end, because we do not understand how the material world truly operates at the deepest levels, we cannot know for certain if what we perceive is truly there or is a vivid creation of our mind.  Consistency, consensus, and repetition is not proof of reality.  It merely demonstrates the rules of the environment in which the reality exists, meaning our eyes work the way they work because it is a product of this environment, so it functions specifically for this environment.  But there is an aspect of each human being that is outside of the environment and it is what allows us to function.  It knows how to interpret the unseen information into action and we unconsciously assume it is our own conscious acts.

If you really want proof/evidence of the unseen, I recommend you try to experience astral projection, aka. out of body experience.  There are several books that teach you how to do this, though you may or may not be successful at it.  There are certain people who are just not ready to experience this in their current lifetime, but when they are ready, it will be as easy as going to sleep.  "Out-Of-Body Adventures" by Rick Stack, "Adventures Beyond the Body" by William Buhlman, or any of Robert Monroe's 3 books, although they are more of a documentary of his experiences which is quite fascinating, are good reading material.  The techniques all teach different methods to become body asleep, mind awake.  Be warned, however.  If you have a vivid imagination or have negative beliefs or fears or other emotional negativity, I do not recommend doing this or you be strong in mind and spirit to accept any psychological challenges.  You will find the experience terrifying if you do not have the belief that all existence and all creation is ultimately good.  Your ingrained fears of death and pain, evil, or the fear of change will amplify itself in the out-of-body state due to the immediacy and projection of thought and emotion into separate and real entities, feeding off energy given through focused attention to them.  As has been said, it's easy to theorize or believe this or that, but only experience will provide some evidence or proof to each individual.  If you truly want to know and not just believe, and you have a deep curiosity for truth, make the time and put in the effort to learn and do the OOB exercises

The sleep transition is when your energy form, aka ethereal or astral body (there are different bodies for different levels of consciousness, including the physical body), leave the physical form every night you go to sleep.  Most of us "lose" waking consciousness, not because consciousness is lost, but because we do not retain the memory of the OOB experience.  If we do remember the experience, most of us will interpret it as a dream.  Dreams are the interpretation of the experience through symbolic forms, places, people, acts, etc.  For example, if you find yourself flying in your dream, that is because you were flying in your astral body and falling is the sensation of returning to your body (hence the sudden waking).

In the out of body state, you are fully conscious and aware while your physical body is "asleep".  In fact, the first time my body went to sleep, but my mind remained awake was the most fearful time I've experienced because not only could I not move my body, but I heard many voices chattering constantly and the fear of the unknown grew.  After describing this experience to my brother, he told me surprisingly of his "dream" where he fell through his bed and thought it strange.  Then he thought of flying, after which he said he took off into the air before returning to his body and awakening in amazement.  Was this just a dream?  Or did his consciousness actually leave his body?  This is what you must experience for yourself and determine for yourself.  Otherwise, it's only speculation and opinion.

An interesting aside regarding the fear I had from the voices while I was in the near-OOB state, here is a clip from Robert Monroe's third OOB book "Ultimate Journey" that seems relevant which I wish I had known about when I first attempted OBE:
The H Band Noise is the peak of uncontrolled thought that emanates from all living forms on Earth, particularly humans. If you consider it as truly all, even in a current time frame, you get a better idea of the magnitude of this disorganized, cacophonous mass of messy energy. The amplitude of each segment of the band is determined by the emotion involved in the thought. Yet our civilization does not even recognize that the H Band exists.

My impression is that it contains not only current time thought patterns, but all that ever existed. They are continuous and simultaneous, and it may be that the older radiation is layered over so all one perceives is the current emission.

To study it objectively, if one is so foolhardy, as to want to do so, all one needs do is move to that state of disassociation just beyond the last vestiges of any direct Earth-related Human Mind activity in the nonphysical There. It appears much like a reflective layer, beyond which the effects diminish rapidly. Passing through it quickly is advisable, just as one would try to work through a screaming, angry mob—for that is what it sounds like, in a multitude of accents and tongues.

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