Here are a few of my own speculative ideas about the processes of sensation and perception:
----If our perception also depends on "senses" that detect the inner world as
we know it does for the outer world, then parts our brain and body are sensing each other.
----While we wish to be careful not to muddy the definition of the word "sensation,"
we could attend to a new conception of it.
----Our brain senses the functioning of the body's other organs
through both neural and hormonal channels.
----Our immune system serves as a sensor for foreign bodies (pathogens), even those
generated from within.
----The ability of the body to sense and perceive what happens to it could be understood
as an input/organization/output sequence.
----In this case, where in the process does perception occur? Transduction occurs
in the sensory organs for the seven main senses, but it may not be necessary for these others, (e.g., the immune system) if they are to be considered
senses at all. One difficulty with studying the whole issue of sensation/perception/consciousness
is that each blends into the other.
One question I like to ask is, where do we draw the boundary between the inner and the outer?
----Perception today is mainly regarded as a process of organizing and interpreting sensory input. But this ignores the common use of the term "self-perception."
Do we not also organize and interpret the world of thoughts, ideas, fantasies, emotions, etc.?
----Our process of gestalt perception may, as Frederick Perls thought, allow us to have top down, holistic awareness of our own inner lives.
Perls believed these experiences of inner wholeness drive us forward to personal growth and authentic living. He places perception, even
more than consciousness, in the driver's seat of our emotional lives.
----Is consciousness necessary for sensation? Certainly not. Reflexes are responses
to sensation in which consciousness plays no necessary role. In fact the view of sensation as the experiencing of the world by the brain alone is
not accurate, as reflexes demonstrate. But, is consciousness necessary for perception? This is a trickier question that depends on one's definition
of consciousness. Those who follow psychodynamic thoughts would certainly say that most perception is unconscious processing. But what about
this so called self perception? Perhaps we develop habits of self perception that operate without our immediate awareness. Freud (and Perls) called
these ego defenses. How might we organize our lives so that we have more accurate and useful self perceptions? More functional and adaptive inner gestalts?
These ideas are simply food for thought. What do you think?