Schizophrenia.com

The UMWELT


#1

I like to say one day humanity will grow up, put away their “toys” of science and reason, in the toy box in the attic to be glanced at wistfully once in a while but left behind as neoteny mostly, and come up and out and join us, as we pursue our inner nature and our destiny, and search for mystery and wonder.

And the idea of a test tube of human knowledge is spreading, in the philosophy of neuroscience circles, as they launch the term “umwelt”, that’s their name for the stuff that fits in the test tube. Umwelt, what little we can know about the “reality” that must be “out there”. Other animals can see other aspects of the infrared light, the light spectrum all around us that is invisible to us. That must be outside our “umwelt”.

And schizophrenia is the expansion, sometimes massive expansion, of the umwelt, for better or for worse!

"Visual illusions reveal that perceptions generated by the brain do not necessarily correlate with reality. Hallucinations, dreams, and delusions illustrate the same point.

And the story goes even deeper. We don’t have a strong grasp of what reality “out there” even is, because we detect such an unbearably small slice of it. That small slice is called the umwelt.

Each organism presumably assumes its umwelt to be the entirety of objective reality. Until a child learns that honeybees enjoy ultraviolet signals and rattlesnakes see infrared, it is not obvious that plenty of information is riding on channels to which we have no natural access. In fact, the part of the electromagnetic spectrum visible to us is less than a ten-trillionth of it. Our sensorium is enough to get by in our ecosystem, but no better.

The concept of the umwelt neatly captures the idea of limited knowledge, of unobtainable information, and of unimagined possibilities. I think it’s a good starting point for our intuitions about our own experience."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/apr/29/neuroscience-david-eagleman-raymond-tallis

also, i have a quote on my wall in a new york times article,
i take that quote to be the concession speech of moder science,

"Steven Weinberg, of the university of texas at austin, who won the nobel prize in1979 for using the higgs theory to unify two of the forces of nature, declared mournfully in the new yrok review of books: “Physical science has historically progressed not only by finding precise explanations of natural phenomena, but also by discovering what sorts of things can be precisely explained. These may be fewer than we had thought.”

THESE MAY HAVE BEEN FEWER THAN WE HAVE THOUGHT !

And any pdoc i have ever said this to has agreed:

schizophrenia is psychiatry’s waterloo -
they don’t understand, and don’t know what to do.

welcome to the mystery.

  • wonderdonkey