Earlier this year I stumbled across a phenomenon known as the ganzfeld effect. From Wikipedia: The ganzfeld effect (from German for “complete field”) or perceptual deprivation is a phenomenon of perception caused by exposure to an unstructured, uniform stimulation field. The effect is the result of the brain amplifying neural noise in order to look for the missing visual signals. The noise is interpreted in the higher visual cortex and gives rise to hallucinations.
It’s interesting that no one has mentioned this phenomenon to me before now. I’m more than a little surprised that I’ve not once come across it with all the reading I’ve done. Granted, it’s associated with sensory deprivation and my research has been more into sensory overload, but still. In any case this is an amazing find. It validates so much of what I’ve been seeing and experiencing. Humans have been willfully creating hallucinations (without drugs) for themselves since Pythagoras. His followers would go into a cave, sit in the dark and receive wisdom through their visions. So many similarities to Upsight. Some major differences too.
There must be some literature that discusses the similarities between the ganzfeld effect and Charles Bonnet Syndrome. If you’re paying attention you can’t help but notice. Interesting. There is plenty of literature on Schizophrenia and hallucinations. Plenty more on Schizophrenia and genetic markers.
What if Upsight is a mutation in the human genome that has been available to us for thousands of years? Would geneticists consider it an evolutionary change? Mutation happens first, so how long would a mutation have to stay around for geneticists to decide it has conferred some advantage to the human species? A few thousand years? 20,000 years? What’s the magic number? Is the human species already divergent? Have we been passing an advantageous gene along to our children without even knowing it? Of course it’s possible. I would say probable. We pass diseases through our genetic line unknowingly. We could be passing unknowing advantageous traits as well. What if the only way the gene was switched on was through a catastrophic event? Otherwise it stays dormant in the human species. These are questions that I would like some answers to.
Or, what if we discover a new gene? A gene expressed more highly in some humans than in others. Is it possible to show that the gene is ‘upregulated’ in some human lineage? If you don’t have any other data, you don’t actually know whether that change is meaningful—whether it’s part of the adaptive evolution of the human brain. But if you take a network approach it puts genes in a true functional context.
If I understand things correctly, some genes are very central in networks, just as an airline hub such as Atlanta is for Delta Airlines. Now you expand the Atlanta hub so more flights (information) moves through. At first the network might start to experience delays. Problems even (schizophrenia- addiction-autism) It takes a while for the rest of the network to handle the additional traffic (information). Expanding the Atlanta hub has a big effect on the entire system. Eventually the system gets used to the traffic and can handle the additional flights (information). Not only that but the additional flights (information) change the entire network in the process. After a few months of delays (generations-millennia), it makes it more efficient. Faster. Better connected.
Perhaps, in my case, giving the system (my brain) emergent qualities. Said another way, if we see that a gene’s position changes within a network, let’s say from being peripheral in one person to being a hub in another, that would prove that that gene has actually changed function. Without that kind of network context, it would be more difficult to find a functional role to changes in the genome. I’m not sure if this is possible to prove. I’m not a geneticist. I’m just trying to reason through a few possibilities.
What do you think? Is it possible? Does Charles Francis Xavier have a school for middle age men? Do you know where I might find an application?