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Forms Of Sensory Stimuli

Let us next inquire how this mechanism of the nervous system is acted

upon in such a way as to give us sensations. In order to understand

this, we must first know that all forms of matter are composed of minute

atoms which are in constant motion, and by imparting this motion to the

air or the ether which surrounds them, are constantly radiating energy

in the form of minute waves throughout space. These waves, or

ons, are incredibly rapid in some instances and rather slow in

others. In sending out its energy in the form of these waves, the

physical world is doing its part to permit us to form its acquaintance.

The end-organs of the sensory nerves must meet this advance half-way,

and be so constructed as to be affected by the different forms of energy

which are constantly beating upon them.


ether from the sun, our chief source of light, are so rapid that

billions of them enter the eye in a second of time, and the retina is of

such a nature that its nerve cells are thrown into activity by these

waves; the impulse is carried over the optic nerve to the occipital lobe

of the cortex, and the sensation of sight is the result. The different

colors also, from the red of the spectrum to the violet, are the result

of different vibration rates in the waves of ether which strike the

retina; and in order to perceive color, the retina must be able to

respond to the particular vibration rate which represents each color.

Likewise in the sense of touch the end-organs are fitted to respond to

very rapid vibrations, and it is possible that the different qualities

of touch are produced by different vibration rates in the atoms of the

object we are touching. When we reach the ear, we have the organ which

responds to the lowest vibration rate of all, for we can detect a sound

made by an object which is vibrating from twenty to thirty times a

second. The highest vibration rate which will affect the ear is some

forty thousand per second.

Thus it is seen that there are great gaps in the different rates to

which our senses are fitted to respond--a sudden drop from billions in

the case of the eye to millions in touch, and to thousands or even tens

in hearing. This makes one wonder whether there are not many things in

nature which man has never discovered simply because he has not the

sense mechanism enabling him to become conscious of their existence.

There are undoubtedly more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt

of in our philosophy.

DEPENDENCE OF THE MIND ON THE SENSES.--Only as the senses bring in the

material, has the mind anything with which to build. Thus have the

senses to act as messengers between the great outside world and the

brain; to be the servants who shall stand at the doorways of the

body--the eyes, the ears, the finger tips--each ready to receive its

particular kind of impulse from nature and send it along the right path

to the part of the cortex where it belongs, so that the mind can say, A

sight, A sound, or A touch. Thus does the mind come to know the

universe of the senses. Thus does it get the material out of which

memory, imagination, and thought begin. Thus and only thus does the mind

secure the crude material from which the finished superstructure is

finally built.