Watson, Lyall - On synaesthesia
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Lyall Watson – Supernature
A living organism depends on outside information. This arrives in 3 forms – electromagnetic waves – such as light; mechanical pressures – such as sound; and chemical stimuli - such as those giving rise to taste and smell. If the organism is an animal, all 3 kinds of signal are converted by sense receptors on the outside of the body into impulses of electrical energy that carry messages in to the central nervous system.
The fact that all news travelling along the nerves is conveyed by some kind of vehicle can be shown by diverting the traffic. If a nerve fibre from the tongue is connected to one leading from the ear to the brain, a drop of vinegar in the mouth is 'tasted' as a loud and startling explosion. This is how hallucinations occur, by drug or stress induced short circuits in the sensory systems that allow music, for instance, to reach the brain as patterns of light.
A strong signal from the environment cannot generate a larger electrical charge in the nerve; it simply does so more often. So the intensity of the sensation as appreciated by the brain depends only on the frequency of the impulses coming in.