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Showing posts from November, 2004

The Evolution of the Sense of Touch: Questions, Ideas, Etc.

The sense of touch has with it two aspects that I understand… the sense of texture and hardness, and the sense of temperature. Perhaps there are other aspects… pain? I relegate this to both texture/hardness and temperature. Now, what if it were possible to feel only texture and hardness but not to feel temperature. Or what if I could only detect temperature but not feel the texture and hardness of a surface? Are the two interlinked? That is, can I feel one aspect without the other? Note that the same word, feel, is used for both aspects, as is touch. When I feel something very hot I feel a sensation of pain (assuming it were scalding hot). When I feel something particularly sharp, I might feel pain if I cut myself. If I had neither of these aspects of touch, I might certainly have caused severe if not lethal harm to myself as an unwary child. For these aspects seem necessary, and perhaps during the period of the evolution of life itself there were strange mutations of animal that had …

Music to a Deaf Man

If I were born deaf, I would never understand sound, or music. I might be able to understand it inasmuch as vibration, for if someone were to strike the strings of a guitar I could see the vibration of the strings and I could place my hand on the wood of the guitar and feel the vibration through the wood as it faded. This would be my only perception of sound and I would know it (and not know it) simply through the sensation of touch. Otherwise music, sound, pitch, volume, sour notes, heavy metal, whatever, would, for me, be all meaningless. It would be senseless for a deaf person to utter the words, inasmuch as he could, “turn up the volume,” for unless he was particularly fond of feeling the vibrations of beat and other sounds at the bottoms of his bare feet resting against a hardwood floor, what would he gain by asking? Perhaps to piss someone off who can hear, I suppose.

The External World

When I think of form and the matter that I believe comprises it; the atoms that make up the structure, the interaction of which determine its hardness, its transparency, its solidity, etc., I can’t help but think that there is a world external to my own perception of it. For clearly the world was here long before I was born, which I believe to be the case simply because my parents bore me and had to have existed before me. And I do believe that the world will continue external to my perception of it simply because like all others before me who have died, I too shall die and the world will go on without me as it has after those that have already died.

Thoughts on Active Reading and the Lure of Insanity

Reading by itself, I don’t think, is sufficient enough to build the vocabulary and expand the mind and the intellect and the mental processes, not even the active reading that Adler recommends in his book on reading. I think it takes not only active reading, but real participation, which is to say, writing and doing. Writing about the thoughts and ideas you’ve read about and doing things that would help you to further understand such ideas. In this writing and doing (this truly interactive form of reading) the vocabulary will increase as will the mind to new ideas, for ideas are all we bags of water and chemicals have to keep us from going insane during our journey from birth to death. Of course sometimes insanity grips the mind and, well, you give in and go with it and suffer until you die, or until the insanity frees its grip from your mind. Of course I wonder, is insanity all that bad? Would it not be wonderful to go completely mad and be put away in some comfortable white room; aw…

Panspermia and the Origins of Life on Earth

The modern notion of Panspermia, where the stuff of life came from the cosmos as our solar system and planets were forming, seems more and more an interesting and plausible notion. For if life is not so rare after all, when the end of one solar system that at one time teamed with life comes to pass, it makes sense that some of that life stuff, though dead and frozen and perhaps containing the building blocks for bacteria or other microorganisms, flying through space, might eventually coalesce and perhaps crash as a meteor onto the surface of some forming planet that would eventually have adequate conditions to support such life, or some variety spawned from it.