Sensorial deficit fosters guesswork and abstract reasoning
Daniel Kish: Blind Vision
The development of the guessing attitude due to sensorial deprivation is a scientifically established fact. Its mechanism is similar to the way blind people develop compensatory abilities. It is known that people lacking some sense may develop extraordinary abilities. It was believed that this is a result of the sharpening of the other senses. However, in the last decades this thesis has been experimentally disproved. Now it is known that compensatory abilities are the result of brain reorganization, and not of a sharpened sensitivity of the intact organs of sense. The brain of blind people creates images of reality using the information of the intact senses. Seeing is brain-generated, it is rather in the ability of the brain to form perception than in the eyes while the organs of sense are merely instruments of the visual brain that it uses to form mental images. When there is no proper instrument the brain uses the available substitute senses to create what it is designed to do.
Any perception is partly invented by the brain. But the invented part of perception is greater and the perception is more subjective in sensory deprived people due to imperfection of the substitute senses. Blind people have more general, less detailed or more abstract idea of their surroundings than seeing people. In other words, sensorial deficit fosters abstract reasoning. It takes much more time for the blind people to orient. Compared to the seeing people they are preoccupied with seeing. Therefore the abstract reasoning that sensorial deficit fosters is obsessive.
Generally the same applies to the sensorial deficit caused by circumcision. Of course, the effect is smaller and much subtler because erogenous sensitivity is neither of vital importance to immediate adjustments nor is totally removed by circumcision. It is the subtlety of the mental effects of circumcision that empowers them and spreads them. They concern mainly spirituality. They affect the type of thinking, the attitudes to sexuality and security and only secondarily manifest themselves in practice. For that reason the long term-effects of pleasure deficit are most evident in historical trends, ethnic stereotypes and intellectual tradition.
Foreskin cortex that is considerably larger than one will find in most textbooks actually functions as a pleasure cortex. It is designed to feel pleasure and does so whatever the genital state is. When there is no foreskin (for a long time) the foreskin cortex constructs pleasure from the remaining erogenous sensitivity and from other senses. Non-pleasure information begins to feed the pleasure cortex and to bring satisfaction to those who are circumcised.
Undoubtedly, those who are circumcised have more general, less detailed or more abstract idea of sexual pleasure. They use more brain and emotional resources to satisfy their cravings. Compared to naturals they are preoccupied with achieving gratification. Circumcision renders both the foreskin and its sensitivity abstract and hence stimulates the introvertive and conceptual thinking. It fosters a type of pleasure-seeking abstract reasoning. It facilitates the formation of abstractions that gravitate towards sensual paradises, material plenty and emotional security.
The loss of receptors reduces physical sensitiveness and increases the participation of mind in forming the perception. It imposes an extra informational filter and fosters guesswork and imagination. The informational deficit worsens the ability for direct discrimination and the acuteness of judgment. The loss of sensitivity increases the brain potential for abstract reasoning at the expense of concrete thinking. It deepens the mind but removes it from reality.
The abstraction enforced by loss of receptors is artificial. It tends to be more biased, more detached from reality or more intellectual than ordinary abstract reasoning because of the reduced sensory information it feeds on and because of the lack of self-regulation due to the lack of direct informational feedback. Yet the quality of the lost sensitivity preordains the character of the bias in the abstract reasoning.
The loss of receptors triggers a cortical reorganization that compensates for the reduced sensory input by developing and expanding the interpretation of the available ones. It prompts the forming of concepts of what is not experienced and fosters simplification, idealizations, deductions and generalizations. The loss of sensitivity enforces the development of abstract reasoning and stimulates imagination.
Associative reasoning links different sensory experiences by apparent similarities. Its neurological basis proves to be the blending of the signals of different somatosensory pathways. Associative reasoning combines different otherwise unrelated sensations. It facilitates the development of intuition, fantasy and creativity. It also diversifies interpretation and enhances resourcefulness. The associative reasoning relates to synaesthesia[i] which is the phenomenon of a union of dissimilar sensations in perception.
The cortical reorganization ensuing the loss of receptors alters the associative reasoning as it eventually links the inputs of usually unconnected somatosensory pathways. It stimulates development of imagination and creativity.
The brain structure is preordained so the missing sensory input still indirectly affects perception. The lost sensation remains implied in the interpretation of the redirected information because the nervous system is hard-wired. Thus a touch near the insensitive scar is interpreted as coming from a region of the skin that includes the scar implying the skin is intact.
In effect the redirection of sensory input from the active sensory areas toward the deactivated area is a substitution of the missing sensory input with that of the intact somatosensory pathways. The reactivated sensory area delivers atypical information to the parts of the brain involved in the interpretation of sensory perception.
The lost sensory input cannot be regained. It can only be substituted. The regions of the brain that normally receive the information of the lost receptors become engaged in interpreting that of the existing ones. They do not know that the input they receive is aberrant. So the redirected sensory input is unconsciously associated with the quality of the missing one in the perception. The lost sensitivity mixes with and tints the existing sensitivities. Its quality infiltrates them. The lost sensory input creates gaps in perception and reduces the accurateness of discrimination while its substitution falsifies it.
The cortical reorganization ensuing from the loss of receptors develops abstract reasoning that re-creates the idea of the missing sensation and tends to integrate it into the existing ones.This type of associative reasoning that blends virtual and actual sensations relates to ideasthesia,[ii] a phenomenon in which concepts evoke perception-like sensations. With regard to their effect on perception the ideasthesia is conductive to confabulation[iii] and paramnesia, which are psychiatric terms referring to genuine falsifications of memory.
Both synaesthesia and ideasthesia are ordinary cognitive phenomena and only their highest forms are rare. The same must be valid for confabulation and paramnesia. For instance, it is not so rare an occasion that one begins to believe that he really took part in some story that he only observed or even only heard of especially after he repeatedly narrated it. The fabricated memories alter the perception of the present and shape the future in the same way as mythology does.
The cortical reorganization ensuing the loss of sensation fosters the abstract and associative reasoning. The former simulates the missing sensitivity by replacing it with a concept while the latter incorporates it in perception. The cortical reorganization modifies the actual sensations by imprinting them with a brain-generated feeling.
The associative reasoning ensuing the loss of receptors tends to falsify reality in perception much the same way as cortical reorganization substitutes for the missing sensitivity. Whatever is the psychological term that best describes this, one thing is certain: the loss of receptors favours the forming of new associations and relates the missing sensation to them.
The associative reasoning fostered by the loss of receptors embeds a virtual sensation in the existing ones. The implanted sensation is more autonomous, subjective, uncontrolled and capricious than the ordinary associative reasoning because it is disconnected from its origin and lacks informational feedback.
With the advance of the cortical reorganization the lost sensitivity gradually distributes among and merges in a greater number of brain activities which authenticates the implanted sensation. The gap in perception is filled in a trustworthy manner so the sufferer is unaware or at least unsure of its existence.
The associative reasoning is scatter-brained and wandering. It is the mental frame of the abstract reasoning that eventually canalizes it. The abstract reasoning gives direction while the associative reasoning supports it with assorted information. Abstraction prompts assumptions while association inspires imagination. Abstraction creates simplified models of reality while association makes them consistent. Abstract reasoning generates virtual reality while associative reasoning authenticates it. The abstract reasoning ascribes meaning while the associative reasoning improves its plausibility.
The removal of receptors removes from reality and the ensuing cortical reorganization makes the removal believable. The two types of thinking that the loss of sensitivity stimulates effectively cooperate in the invention and support of conceptual fables that are not based on facts. They collaborate on forming brain-generated perceptions and experience-like sensations. This incorporates false elements in perception and prompts mythification. The latter makes interpretation of reality easier, and hence more attractive.
The loss of receptors prompts the unconscious fabrication of credible myths. The reliable mystifications are attractive because they are simplifications that make interpretation of reality easier. The results are realistic simplifications, believable idealizations, mythmaking, piety, moralization and creative imagination. All of which relate to ideasthesia, confabulation and paramnesia.
The simulation of virtual realities or of their components is indispensable in religion, philosophy, literature, abstract sciences and arts. The loss of receptors increases the brain potential in these fields. The circumcision must be especially efficient in that as it removes receptors serving a primal and powerful sexuality. Note that the nonfigurative reasoning requires an abstract and invisible God which is typical for the circumcising religions.
Knowledge depends on learning and faculties on their exercising. The cortical reorganization is the neurological basis for that banal truth. It develops slowly and according to the activity of the brain. Therefore, the development of mental faculties or the utilization of the brain potential depends on both the quantity and the quality of experience. The remoter and the more exercised the areas that redirect through the deactivated zone are, the profounder the cortical reorganization is.
The less related to the lost sensations the activities that the subject is forced to perform are, and the longer and the greater their loading is, the profounder is the cortical reorganization and the larger the sphere of activities that the brain potential utilizes are. Or as they say, persistent practice leads to perfection.
The loss of receptors increases subjectivity and bias as it facilities nonconcrete thinking and deprives the nervous system of informational feedback. The loss of sensitivity fosters free associations in conditions of informational deficit. The cortical reorganization utilizes the brain potential according to the environmental conditions. Loss of identical receptors is to produce the same cortical reorganization in the same conditions. The same modification of the body tends to cause identical conceptual bias.
The loss of sensitivity quickens the grasping and forming of ideas by disregarding particularities but impedes all-inclusive comprehension. It enhances the faculty of thinking to ascribe and perceive meaning to facts but impedes its ability to acquire thorough knowledge. It stimulates logic and suppresses factuality. It fosters intuition and imagination but inhibits rationality and blurs the precision of judgment. It offers wisdom but withdraws accurateness.
The loss of sensitivity creates inadequacy and is emotionally upsetting. It intensifies the spiritual life. It weighs down the balance of reasoning toward what is spiritual, emotional and moral. It urges introversion, subjectivity and bias.
The abstract reasoning generalizes rather than gathers accurate information, moralizes rather than researches. The intelligence of the abstract reasoning increases the role of morals in reasoning. The moral message is socially conditioned due to the lack of direct informational feedback so the intelligence of the abstract reasoning fabricates moral programs. The loss of sensitivity tends to increase the social dependence and to suppress individualism. Its social character is conservative.
- Paramnesia (Psychiatry) – a distortion of memory in which fact and fantasy are confused. [Webster’s Dictionary]; A disorder of the memory or the faculty of recognition in which dreams may be confused with reality [World English Dictionary]; A distortion of memory in which fantasy and objective experience are confused. [Medical Dictionary] → Back