Home; Articles and Op-eds; Interviews Panels & Podcasts; Support Heather; Contact; Interviews - Panels - Podcasts. Memory explodes the myth of separate senses. Ah, well, a statement here, in this station, certainly couldn’t be done today — perhaps next week? I don’t remember beginning to run after him, nor deciding to run. This Thread may be Removed Anytime! Save this thread as PDF Try unrolling a thread yourself! Later, I interpreted him as an associate of the two who attacked us — there was evidence of Scarface texting unknown others, and the unfriendly man had reversed course to stand in the shadows later, when the two attackers had been chased down again, this time by the police, and brought to us for identification. And wouldn’t it be nice to see, feel, smell, hear everything at all times, to never miss the gorilla on the basketball court. Even eye-witnesses are sometimes wrong. Perhaps, these new cops suggested, my friends could be taken to the hostel and I could be conveyed to a different station, where it would be possible to make a different kind of statement? On May 23 last year, Heying, who was on sabbatical at the time, got a call from a dean at the college. Déjà vu, yes, but also déjà entendu, déjà senti, and therefore déjà connu.
It lands gently, flatters you and charms you, makes you feel smart for recognizing how beautiful it is. We use past knowledge, stored in memory, to construct plausible scenarios which, when proven wrong, we modify.
Today something beautiful has died. We did less of that than you might imagine, since starting immediately afterwards, on day one, I had a whirlwind of other experiences planned, so retelling this story dropped faster on the do telllist than it would have in other situations. What happens when the story goes wildly off track? A first-hand account of an event in which the action was heard, but not seen, seems less legitimate, and even less likely to be true, than a first-hand account of an event told by someone who sawthe whole thing.
We know so much of what we think we know on the basis of direct sensory experience. Apparently, it’s harder than it seems. Truly. A botanist or gardener, however, with a vested interest in the timing of such things — or any careful observer of nature — will take note. Also, in the role of file clerk, we need decisions made about which experiences are sufficiently regular and repeating such that new versions only rarely need updating, and which are sufficiently unique to be remembered as distinct experiences. Keep Current with Heather E Heying. I was there and now it was loud and bright and chaotic, and not just because everyone was yelling and running, an entire neighborhood had appeared where before there had been no one, and the police improbably chose now to spring into action from god knows where, their wheels spinning on the cobblestones, sirens dopplering up from behind me. And the more naive we are, the less likely we take in data about it at all. The other man runs up to Jeremy and gestures for him to hand over his bag. I don’t remember running at him, but run I did, by the evidence, and the accounts of others who were there. We need editors to distinguish between all that might be perceived and all that is perceived; between what is perceived, and what will be remembered short-term; between that and what ought be remembered long-term. My brain keeps suggesting that this is a joke, some sort of play. The ear-witness has less credibility than the eye-witness. And we co-opt brain space when one sense goes off-line for a long time: some blind people echolocate to map the space around them and, at least sometimes, they use the visual parts of their brains to do so. At first. We had enough shared time together — in life, many months, and that day, many hours of shared exploration through a city relatively new to all of us — to trust each other to make good decisions. Individual creations all, sometimes they’re co-opted for a new destination, sometimes they dead-end at a wall. now, believe it or not, on twitter @HeatherEHeying. Add to "My Authors" Read all threads. If you enjoyed this, please consider sharing it, following me on Twitter, supporting me on Paypal, or on Patreon.
Or perhaps it was that we had won. Call on an event in your life as you read this, though, some event both notable and very recent, and try to determine the nature of all of the sensory inputs. We are always editing. So I’m writing now, quickly, in boilerplate, to whole classes that haven’t been living, learning communities for many years. My body felt fizzy, and everything I saw was both hazy, and in sharp relief. Did touch bring me back to full sensory awareness? Now, though, the sound has ensconced itself so fully in my narrative that I can not envision the knife dance without also knowing the sound. It’s hard to go back and reconstruct what senses might have gone off-line for the others, but even if each of us had a major sense shift or shutter, there was back-up, because we were a unit, and we had each others’ backs. Which we did. What do our internal editors let through, and give us access to? Mammals increase communication and connectivity in myriad ways — and we often do so through smell. I am told that, on some corners of campus, when our resignations were announced, there were tears, and shock. With that increase in size of the primitively olfactory forebrain, the Age of Mammals became, de facto, the Age of Smell. He was watching the scene quietly, while the rest of the neighborhood had broken out into a block party, with music, people hanging over balconies, old women coming up to congratulate us for fighting back, and to tell us that these two had been trouble in the neighborhood for a while now. I watched, and then I acted. Tears were streaming down my face. Remember when? 1.7K likes. After the fact, you remember the constructed and hybrid narrative, and likely don’t have access to what you actually know from that moment in time. I have long held that the low bar that should be set for Evergreen faculty is that they a) fundamentally respect students as real human beings and b) have something real to offer, know something true about the universe. There was a lone, abandoned barn in the distance silhouetted waxing light. From a Twitter thread posted by author and evolutionary biologist Heather E. Heying, the wife of Bret Weinstein: Totalitarianism always flies in on the wings of beautiful ideals. Reaching out across space and time, in that tentacled way that modernity allows, and tapping you all on the shoulder. Stuffed four across into the back seat of a pick-up truck, the sirens blared, and a motorcycle cop escorted our truck through rush-hour Quito. In early fishes, those brain divisions — fore, mid, and hind — were loosely associated with smell, vision, and hearing, respectively.
But I have not regretted the work that I did there. We had known each other for months back on campus in the States, but this was day one of the trip. His failure to play by usual rules in this setting — I say hello to you, you say hello back, or at least nod pleasantly — had been notable to me. Put another way, you have to have enough information in advance to know that an event is novel. If you aren’t attentive to when plants flower, when the huckleberries outside your window bloom earlier than they usually do, you won’t notice, even though the information is there to be had, and it is new. I received so many wonderful responses.
Shortly thereafter, we viewed a street ahead and decided to turn there and head North, towards our temporary home. What then, to make of the fact that my memory of the mugging includes no sound or color?
Each of our individual senses pulled a selective attention edit on us, and so we all forgot some things on every channel. Heather Heying is an evolutionary biologist and former Professor at Evergreen State College. In the moment of emergency, when you can not know what among all the possible inputs will prove to be important, all systems are go. A small group of rogue mammals emerged some time ago with opposable thumbs, small snouts, and large eyes oriented to the fronts of our heads, however, and we primates, particularly the monkeys and apes, came to prioritize vision over smell. Not even — I had arrived late the night before, and most of my students had arrived a few days before me. Therefore your brain must constantly be uploading the banal experiences of daily life, and discarding them after a time, you none the wiser, at least not consciously.
Those ideals? You were worth it. Or traits may simply appear, with no common history, in distantly related parts of the tree of life — neurotoxins in poison frogs and pitohui birds, syntax in parrots and people. None of this beauty around me, that is now my life, would have been possible without you. Please excuse the mass email. I was in Ecuador with 20 undergraduates, about to lead them in a six-week biological expedition around the country. We began climbing, stopping to admire the view of the Virgin in the distance, the tall winged statue visible from many points in the city, or to catch our breath. Jeremy also remembered no color.
5 min read. At the mugging, I had internalized the unfriendly man who passed us moments before, but he hadn’t registered for the others. What do schools teach American kids about political power? Nine thousand feet up on the equator, the sky is clear, the parks filled with fruit vendors and picnicking families. The sun was coming up on another day and lightly touching their tassels. They are now as I sit in an empty classroom preparing for the day. Tales from the 5th Grade — The Pop Quiz Incident. Unofficial fan page for Evolutionary Biologist & Professor in Exile Heather Heying.
| While most nontraditional universities are private—and pricey—Evergreen is a public school, with an acceptance rate near 100 percent. But we were that most human of things, the social group with both shared history, and shared fate. We were at the top of the wide stone stairs, and then — I was on the other guy, mid-street.
Arthur acted it out, making the chhh-chhh sounds vocally. But novelty only keeps our attention, gets past those editors into stored memory, when it breaks expectations in some way. Two for Tea (with Iona Italia and Helen Pluckrose) April 2019.
Not that it’s not really happening, but that it’s theatre. The college gave us less than 72 hours. If you enjoyed this, please consider sharing it, following me on Twitter, supporting me on Paypal, or on Patreon. He was the only other human on our entire climb up the stairs, so they must have seen him at the time, but their brains had thrown it out as useless information shortly after the fact. And I did. Attempts to become fully conscious of our bodies, and attentive to everything around us, promoted by myriad traditions throughout the world, will indeed provide a sense of greater time. I also received one hateful one. When a young boy sees a backwards six, and says — that’s wrong, it’s too orange, six is redder — he is living the blurred boundaries of evolutionary history. And no color. I just wanted to reach out right now, in this moment and let you know that you are loved by people in the world. In the mountains, many physical realities make it difficult to smell our world — the dry air, and low air pressure; the high evaporation rate; the low density of aromas.
Our learning communities were flawed, weren’t they, but they were rich. Novel events are only noticed when they don’t fit with our already constructed models of the world. Bret and I had offered to help turn Evergreen’s reputation around, to help make it a bastion of truth and actual inclusivity, of Enlightenment values.
Our ancient animal ancestors had a tripartite brain with the same three primary divisions that persist in all vertebrates today. A splash of royal blue, notes played on a mandolin, the smell of low tide — how much is required to take us spiraling back to a moment we have not thought of in years, perhaps did not know we knew? Those forward-facing eyes gave us binocular vision, and thus depth perception, but our big and growing forebrains were already dominant, so visual processing took over some of the neurological real estate that, long ago, was primarily the domain of smell.
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