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LATEST DIALOGUES No Limits To the Human Senses

When you open your eyes and look around you, your brain is presented with an amazing amount of information.

But in spite of all the complexity that we capture through our vision — or our other senses — what we see is just a tiny fraction of what’s really out there. This limit to our perception, though, is not a function of our brain, but our senses.

Your eyes, for example, pick up a small band of the electromagnetic spectrum. At the same time, countless radio waves and X-rays and microwaves and gamma rays pass through your body — and you are completely unaware of them.

“Our experience of reality,” said neuroscientist David Eagleman in a TED Talk, “is constrained by our biology.”

Eagleman hopes to change our perceptual limitations by creating new interfaces — such as a sensory vest — that take in information that is currently outside the reach of our senses.

He is confident this will work, because the brain is designed to process any type of information, not only things like images or sounds.

“Your brain is not hearing or seeing any of this,” said Eagleman. “Your brain is locked in a vault of silence and darkness inside your skull. All it ever sees are electrochemical signals that come in along different data cables, and this is all it has to work with, and nothing more.”

The brain is able to take these signals and find meaning within them. This is true whether the signals are coming through the retina or eardrum. Or even through a vest that vibrates your skin in response to information fed to it from a camera, microphone or the Internet.

In a way, all perception boils down to vibration. And it’s through this vibration that the brain is able to reach out of its dark cave into the vast universe around us. 

Right now, most of that information comes to us through our eyes, ears and other senses. But soon we will be able to plug directly into the Internet or sense the universe across the entire electromagnetic spectrum.

“We actually have no idea what the theoretical limits are of what kind of data the brain can take in,” said Eagleman.

first published in March of 2015

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12 Responses to “No Limits To the Human Senses”

  1. March 21, 2015 at 3:54 am, Appan said:

    The scientific understanding is that everything boils down to vibrations in this universe. But the deep meditators and the self-realized experience the world as unified. Since science too now recognizes consciousness as the basis of existence, it may even be logically seen that in the uniformity of consciousness, there is no space to vibrate. The ultimate reality experienced is nondual and can possibly have no vibrations.

    • March 21, 2015 at 4:06 am, J. Richard Jacobs said:

      What did you just say, Appan?

      • March 21, 2015 at 7:29 am, Appan said:

        I said there can be no vibrations in non-dual consciousness.

        • March 21, 2015 at 8:12 am, John Sharman said:

          Could it not be said that consciousness gives rise to vibrations?

          • March 21, 2015 at 10:41 am, Appan said:

            Yes, as everything arises from consciousness.

        • March 21, 2015 at 5:58 pm, J. Richard Jacobs said:

          I am aware of the words you used. What does that mean, specifically?

          • March 22, 2015 at 9:31 pm, Ramesam Vemuri said:

            The Vedantic concept is that the basic Consciousness, which is Universal and One in all, and which has the quality of “knowing” does not move. That Consciousness when it moves, it becomes the mind. So the analogy is Consciousness is like Air; mind is like breeze. Consciousness, when not as mind (i.e. unmoving) will be something like deep dreamless sleep. There is no ‘other’ for it to know, when it does not move. In effect, the movement projects images and Consciousness itself, senses them. Now how do we fit all this into the sensing vest of David — an expanded mind?
            regards,
            ramesam

          • March 24, 2015 at 3:34 am, Appan said:

            In a condition where everything is consciousness and nothing else exists, where is space to move ? and what will move what and by what ?

  2. March 21, 2015 at 9:15 am, Paolo Manzelli said:

    –SEARCH
    FOR PARTNERS TO DEVELOP A RRI HORIZON 2015 PROGRAM

    Invitation
    by EGOCREANET ( NGO-Italy) :[email protected];
    see
    the call on RESEARCH & INNOVATION RESPONSIBILITY in :
    Type
    of action:
    Coordination and Support Actions.
    http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/portal/desktop/en/opportunities/h2020/topics/2419-issi-1-2015.html
    Proposal
    presented by NGO of R&D at the University of Florence.

    PRELIMINARY
    APPROACH OPEN TO A DIALOG (between partners) .

    1.Title
    (Acronym + Full title)“BREAK “ + /-

    “ Break
    Barriers of “Social Responsibility of Science and Art ”) .

    “Break”,
    will be a European program of events open to a pause for reflection
    on the need ‘to boost creativity socially responsible of Science and
    Art.

    Scope:

    Break
    Program will
    organise publicexhibitions and participatory events throughout the
    whole of Europe to engage citizens in advanced science understanding
    . Break Program Exhibitions and participatory events will be
    interactive and adapted to local/regional conditions (i.e.: use of
    relevant case-studies) and shall take place in the local languages.
    Exhibits shall provide material for dissemination for dissemination
    of Responsiblity Research Innovation Toolkit . Break Program will
    make use of existing multimedia and other relevant technology (e.g.:
    social media, virtual reality, scenarios, gaming, etc.) and shall
    employ inclusive participatory techniques to engage with multiple
    publics (children, youth, women, adults, and other relevant
    stakeholders).

    2.Teaser:

    Rethinking
    Science : scientific research has changed the world.

    Now
    it needs to change itself with an higher rsponsibility.

    → The
    Break Project would enhance innovative scenarios of science with
    and for society , aiming to for improve new ideas , strategies and
    management for enhancing social creativity potential of citizen in
    Europe. The above goal will be implemented of about the
    fast-technological modernization of communication of advanced science
    and technology , looking to favor a more conscious and responsible
    foundations for improving human values in science research &
    innovation more adapted to building an open participatory future
    knowledge society.

    3.
    Scope .

    Science
    and innovations are often hidden behind simple buttons and patterns
    touchable with a finger. The Project would BREAK Barriers aiming to
    improve Social responsibility of science . A principal goal will be
    to make explicit for young people to overcome the existing
    barriers between generation through
    for developing a
    sense of conscious responsibility of the role of science in
    civilization’ of contemporary era. As a matter of facts often
    emerging technology contains high levels of complex science hidden
    behind the touch of a finger on a screen or press a button, causing
    difficulties in advanced science knowing for youth and in general for
    normal people. . So that the stimulus response behavior, activated by
    the touch of your fingers on screens or buttons, could generate high
    levels of un-consciousness. For example, the natural activity of
    sharing emotions developed by the “mirror neurons”, may be
    excluded using the modern ,ITC tools of a distance education These
    and other considerations involve a careful reflection on what
    systematically today tends to increase the irresponsibility of people
    living in a high technological-era. The project Break would develop
    in Europe various cultural activities about science popularization
    and dissemination to counter the continuing gap of knowledge about
    advanced scientific discoveries. In that way the Break project may be
    the basis to strenght the knowledge of excellence in science and to
    advance
    the
    contemporary creativity of people to meet the demand and the
    expectation of understanding as it is necessary to improve a more
    disruptive and transformational innovation for improving a
    responsible scenario of social change . Therefore EGOCREANET offers
    to scientists and artists to participate in the Horizon project
    entitled “BREAK” to favor a responsible creativity focused
    to encouraging a responsible contribution to overcoming the
    contemporary economic and social crisis and rethinking the future
    trends of knowledge in Europe.

    4.Aims
    and Basic information

    Premise:
    As we may see, till today technology have advanced quickly and
    significantly over the past two centuries. Often the “best”
    technology one day rapidly becomes “outdated” the next and is
    conveniently replaced with something “better” for made a lot of
    work both intellectual and manual simply pushing with a click of some
    buttons. It seems that nothing can stop humans’ desire for making
    more and more simplify technological advancements to substitute human
    work .

    But
    what happen about human consciousness and social responsibility ?

    What
    about “human values and ethics ”?Has
    knowledge society advanced over the recent years?

    5.Description
    of the research and reports of the project

    RRI-
    BREAK Project first proposal by EGOCREANET- 02 FEB .-2015:

    The
    BREAK project aim to better incorporate scientific knowledge societal
    values, needs and expectations in research and innovation. Actual RRI
    goals are evolving in a way that the future deliberate focus of
    research and the products of innovation will be more and better
    oriented to achieve a social or environmental benefit of RRI European
    strategy

    6.)
    Goals

    a)
    The consistent, ongoing involvement of society as useful to assessing
    and effectively prioritizing social, ethical and environmental
    impacts, risks and opportunities, both now and in the future,
    along-side the development of future knowledge economy.
    b) Develop
    conscious creativity to anticipate and manage problems and
    opportunities which are also able to adapt and respond quickly to
    changing both environment and knowledge for a more secure and clean
    living in Europe.
    c) Identify and implement the best systemic
    organizational and managerial approaches to increase the public
    responsible participation to remove obstacles and barriers to science
    & technology foresight to growth social benefits for all
    generations .

    7.Description
    of the activities and teaching materials of the project

    The
    overall contribution of the Break project would be focused on the
    following activities:
    a) develop an in-depth understanding RRI
    relationships with societal problems ethical issues and dilemmas in
    conducting responsible research in science with and for society ; b)
    provide of a set of recommendations and good practices, to be adopted
    by researches and managers teachers and students in a easy approach
    for including a large participation of citizen. c) developing and the
    web-community and to create a self sustaining ‘Responsible
    Creativity Observatory’ serving as a community portal and providing
    free access to all outputs of the project.

    8.RRI-
    Tool-Kit:
    Description
    of teaching materials, lesson plans, learning resources

    The
    RRI Toolkit will be an innovative and creative set of tools
    comprising practical digital resources and actions aimed at raising
    awareness, training, disseminating for implementing the RRI state of
    the art.

    Scientific
    issues
    :

    BREAK
    partnerschip will organise one great Festival of science as a public
    exhibitions and participatory events throughout to engage citizens
    (children, youth, women, adults, and other relevant stakeholders) in
    advanced science and technology to enhance and improve an higher
    knowledge dissemination integrated with an conscious sense of
    responsibility .

    As
    EGOCREANET , we propose the following topics to organize with the
    partners of the project and stakehoders , some , conferences,
    workshpos and production of educational materials for the TOOL KIT or
    by other modes of diffusion and implementation of the project, aimed
    to encourage the development of social and cultural responsibility
    science and art in Europe.

    Proposed
    themes:

    1
    Neuroscience social responsibility in order to promote creativity and
    health to allow the welfare of citizens.

    2)
    Synthetic Biology: Scientific and ethical issues of creating new life

    What
    rational and irrational fears are at stake when the human being
    becomes the creator of new life forms created in the laboratory?

    3)
    Topics of the frontier of innovation in medicine concerning the
    application of stem cells and nanotechnology

    4)
    Trans-disciplinay nano-science and future emerging technologies

    N:B:
    The list of the effective Working Plan in science topics will be
    chosen by the-Partnerhip. – (Thus these topics will take-up and
    further develop the information and training material produced by the
    RRI Toolkit developed by the Seventh Framework Programme project RRI
    Toolkit. )

    8.)
    List
    of projects and reports to be taken in consideration

    1)-
    RRI-TOOLS :http://www.rri-tools.eu/;
    2)http://www.euroscientist.com/science-in-society/;
    3) Gender
    Diversity:http://www.fraunhofer.de/de/leistungsangebot/forschung/gender-diversity/kontakt-fraunhofer-gender-diversity.html;(FRRIICT):http://www.oerc.ox.ac.uk/projects/frriict; https://renevonschomberg.wordpress.com/,

    BREAK
    Project (*) .
    Full title:

    BREAK – BARRIERS for IMPROVING “Social Responsibility of Science”.

    “Taking
    responsibility for future choices provides a reciprocal exchange
    of
    ideas of science and tech as the basis for a common trust in
    humanity.”

    Letter
    of Intent :
    This
    LoI is a Template for Community Partners signed as a simple
    preliminary gentlement agreement to participate in the project BREAK
    as partner

    (Name
    of Organization : )

    The
    (Name of Scientific or Artist or Organization),

    intend
    to participate as Partner in the project (Achronim of Project : BREAK
    ) that it is proposed by :

    (Name
    of the Promoter : EGOCREANET :ONG -Florence -IT) )

    See
    statute of the ONG (in Italian ) in:
    http://www.egocrea.net/quarte/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Registrazione-ONG-ONLUS-2014-05-09..pdf

    The
    (Partner- Organization ) will provide to an open collaboration with
    EGOCREANET to develop the project proposal till the date of its
    submission.

    Date/
    and Signature of Representative.

    (Add
    the short profile of the partner’s Organization)

    _______________________________________
    Name
    of Scientific / Artist or Organization
    name of
    Representative:
    Name of Contact
    Person:
    Phone:_____________________Cellular:__________________,Fax:__________________
    Email:

    Address:
    Website:
    ———————————————————————–

    (*)-
    see the call on RESEARCH & INNOVATION RESPONSIBILITY in
    :
    http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/portal/desktop/en/opportunities/h2020/topics/2419-issi-1-2015.html

    NB:
    To date, ( 14thFEB.2015)
    the project partners sustaining the BREAK proposal are :

    1)
    EGOCREANET (NGO) c-o Business incubator -University of Florence (IT)
    ; http://www.edscuola.it/lre.html ;

    2)
    Departamento de Educación de la Theory, Facultad de Ciencias de la
    Educación y Philosophy,Institute of Educatiion Creativity, Avda.
    Blasco Ibañez, nº 30, (ES) Valencia; Contact: prof. Mª Carmen
    Moreno Bellver, telf. 96/386 4736, email. :
    in cooperation with the City of Science of Valencia (ES)

    3)
    The Museum of Chemistry Primo Levi University of Rome “La
    Sapienza” (IT): http://www.chem.uniroma1.it/strutture/museo,
    http://www.chem.uniroma1.it/museo/; Contact: Prof.Luigi Campanella
    .mail:

    4)
    Science for Promotion of Science in Serbia:
    http://www.cpn.rs/?lang=en;Contact
    Person : Divna
    Vuckovic

  3. March 22, 2015 at 8:09 pm, Joy Borum said:

    Yup. Thank you.

  4. April 19, 2015 at 4:21 pm, Sandy R. Killgo said:

    what about this observation:The majority of mankind believes only in what their senses perceive. Such persons accept as unquestionable anything that their senses convey to them. They fail to understand that their senses, at best, are imperfect instruments and that the mind is
    constantly employed in correcting the mistaken reports of the senses. Modern scientific thinking has reached a stage where physicists have been forced to abandon the ordinary world of our experience, theso-called world of sense perceptions. They have crossed the border that divides physics from metaphysics.
    The theory of Eastern philosophy involving the relationship between observer and reality is now utilized by modern physicists. In Vedanta philosophy the world is described as unreal from the absolute point of view.
    It has no independent reality without the senses and mind of the observer, and, hence, is true only in relative terms. And the knowledge that we gain through these various senses varies according to the nature of the instrument used to observe the object. Our senses delude us by bringing knowledge that changes often. We do not have a universal sense that will be a common machine to weigh the reality of the observer. “Common sense” often creates false pictures. A stick plunged into the water appears broken, though in reality it is not so. Sweet and bitter, hot and cold, sun and earth, the whole objective universe of matter and energy does not exist independent of the mind and senses. Even time and space are nothing but the power of the mind. There is nothing to limit man in time and space if there is no mind. All limitations and barriers disappear with the
    disappearance of the mind.

    At our present stage of realization, all our knowledge of the universe is a residue of impressions clouded by imperfect senses. Reality is far away from our present state of consciousness. There are electromagnetic waves such as gamma rays, radio waves, cosmic rays, X-rays that are not visible to the human eye. Yet, through new instruments, we are now aware of such lesser frequency and greater
    frequency wave lengths. These limitations of man’s senses are now studied by modern scientists and lead them nearer to metaphysics.
    Now the question arises, if ordinary senses are not reliable, what of extrasensory perception? Is it a fact? Can we believe in extrasensory perception?
    From the absolute point of view, the answer is that both extrasensory perception and ordinary sense experience have their limitations and are, therefore, imperfect, because all objective knowledge can behad only through the mind, which is imperfect.
    The highest truth is perceived only when we transcend the three-dimensional plane created by the senses and mind, and go beyond time and space.

    The ordinary experiences we get through the contact of the body and mind are from the three dimensional plane, and the so-called unexplained phenomena of the world (so-called extrasensory knowledge) are from the four-dimensional plane.
    The ordinary phenomena that happen in our lives are a miracle to those creatures who live in two dimensional planes. Let us suppose there are creatures who live in the two-dimensional plane. For them there is no awareness of space. Hence, they cannot perceive what happens in space.
    All the extrasensory perceptions and the so-called unexplained mysteries are the functions of the astral body in a higher dimensional plane. All our experiences in the waking state or in the dream state are the products of the mind and senses, as are also all the various products of the extrasensory perceptions. In
    fact, nothing can be seen or perceived without the mind, and the mind is everything for us at the present moment. Though the physical body and the astral body are different, both are controlled

    by the mind.

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  5. September 18, 2015 at 12:00 am, John Sharman said:

    “Eagleman hopes to change our perceptual limitations by creating new interfaces — such as a sensory vest — that take in information that is currently outside the reach of our senses.”

    Great. Just what we all need, to be bombarded with an ever-increasing array of sensory distractions. Anything to stop us looking within, at the stillness that is our true nature.

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