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The Extended Sensorium

February 2011

This article appears in the February 4, 2011 issue of Executive Intelligence Review and is reprinted with permission.

Research Report

  1. The Extended Sensorium: Overview
  2. Synesthesia: Beyond the Five Senses—Oyang Teng
  3. Helen Keller: Mind over Instrumentation—Meghan Rouillard
  4. Following the Beat of a Different Drummer—Peter Martinson
  5. Polarization Sensitivity: a Strong and Weak Sense—Meghan Rouillard
  6. What is Circularly Polarized Light?—Jason Ross
  7. Insects and Infrared—Oyang Teng
  8. Magnetoreception—Benjamin Deniston
  9. Unheard Melodies: Electric and Magnetic Senses in Humans—Sky  Shields
  10. The Sounds of a Cosmic Chorus—Aaron Halevy

[PDF version of this article]


"Thus, in summary, we are confronted with three categories of direct, or indirect human experience: 1.) What is traditionally regarded as the subject of human sense-experience; 2.) An intermediate domain, which recognizes qualities of sense-experience which can be recognized in domains much broader than conventional notions of sense-perception; 3.) The known domain whose characteristic is the role of specifically human creative powers of insight and innovation.

"In earlier reports on this subject, the emphasis had been placed on the crucial importance of the second, middle ground, that of sensible experiences beyond the category of the five heretofore 'conventional' notions of sense-perception, including the prominent role of the added experience expressed by aid of the role of scientific instruments.

"Now, in this present report, our attention is focused on the domain of a middle stage of our obligatory investigations, a stage which is represented by the seeking out of the subject of those additional sensory powers which are expressed within the ranges of cosmic radiation, which now includes what are both useful and tolerable for both human and other forms of life, but are, nonetheless, not yet the voluntary expressions of specifically human creative powers.

"Although these extended powers of sense-perception, include, for example, the special senses expressed as being employed through the design of migratory birds, the extended categories of sense-perceptions, such as those of such birds, do represent an intermediate quality of types, which all share the quality of the intermediate quality lying between what might be regarded as presently accepted notions of sense-perception and the cognitive powers unique to the human species among known species of living organisms. Next, comes creativity in and of itself.

"It is my function in this report, to identify the mission which this indicated set of steps implies, the mission which other members of the team will, chiefly, carry out."

                                            —Lyndon LaRouche,
                                               `What Makes Sense?"[1]

In the following report, you'll find a discussion that is of the utmost significance to understanding not only the current strategic situation, but also principles of economic science more generally.

The recent events in Tucson, Ariz. have prompted many to present ridiculous kinetic arguments in a search for what "set off" the shooter. In reality, there is no simplistic point-to-point explanation for what occurred. There is only the explanation that the events of that day were a singular expression of a much more general cultural trend, which is connected to the last several decades of cultural and economic decline in the United States and the world; a decline which is now finding its lawful expression in a generation of youth with no sense of a viable future for the human species, a generation plagued by a vicious and pervasive existentialism, in complete philosophical agreement with the hedonistic and anti-human purposelessness of "market economics."

The question of what such youth are responding to in their singular moments of explosive violence (of which the shooting in Tucson is only the tip of the iceberg), is not to be found in an examination of the shooter's personal history, or what he read on the Internet in the weeks prior. His characteristics, as a singularity, are to be found in the characteristics of the medium that produced him. An investigation of that relationship between singularity and medium is most clearly carried out via a study of what Lyndon LaRouche has referred to as "cosmic radiation."

In the report that follows, you will find an arc, meant to serve as a jumping-off point for that investigation.

The first chapter, by Oyang Teng, is titled "Synesthesia: Beyond the Five Senses." In it, he will demonstrate that, even what we commonly tend to recognize as sense perception, cannot be neatly divided into five distinct categories.

This idea if further developed in the chapter by Meghan Rouillard—a case study of Helen Keller titled, "Mind Over Instrumentation." Here, we will begin to see the peculiar relationship between mind and the senses, and see that mind, as a principle, is not, in fact, dependent upon any specific "set" of given senses.

From this point, we begin to expand our notion of sense perception, with an examination of the peculiar—sometimes unconscious "senses" to be found in the animal world.

Peter Martinson's "Following the Beat of a Different Drummer" is a study of biological rhythms in animals and humans, and discusses the ability of organisms to respond to solar and other extra-terrestrial cycles. (For related reading, see Sky Shields' earlier paper on correlations between astronomic cycles and biospheric evolution, "Kesha Rogers' Victory Signals Rebirth of a Mars Colonization Policy," EIR, March 19, 2010, also addressed in his paper below.)

A more detailed view of the role of electromagnetic phenomena in the biosphere is contained in Meghan Rouillard's "Polarization Sensitivity: A Strong and Weak Sense," where she describes a sense which might, at first, seem alien to humans: the ability to sense polarized light (the characteristics of which are described in an appended note by Jason Ross).

Oyang Teng continues this thread with a discussion of insects using infrared emissions as a sense of "smell."

This all sets the stage for Ben Deniston's detailed discussion of the still-puzzling phenomenon of magnetoreception in birds and other animals—their ability to perceive the detailed structure of the Earth's magnetic field, for use in navigation.

With the discussion of electromagnetic perception so situated, Sky Shields then takes up various expressions of the human ability to perceive electromagnetic phenomena in his chapter, "Unheard Melodies," with a specific emphasis on the electromagnetic conditions to be found as humanity migrates poleward, as we implement the proposed The Sounds of a Cosmic Chorus."

Readers who are interested in continuing this discussion, are invited to read an earlier report by Cody Jones, Sky Shields, and Michelle Lerner, entitled "In What Sense do you Mean Immortality?" That report might serve as a sort of appendix to the current one, taking up the necessity for space-faring humanity to alter fundamentally its relationship to its sense perceptions as it moves towards an electromagnetic environment which differs fundamentally from even that found at Earth's poles.

[1] Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., "Science's Next New Undertaking: What Makes Sense?" or EIR, Dec. 17, 2010.