The Fly’s Eye
When I was young the common attitude toward brain science was that we did not use 90% of it–the brain, I mean. At the time, we thought it must be just there as a reserve. A good friend of mine didn’t buy that thinking at all. He preferred to observe that we didn’t know what 90% of the brain was used for. Science has largely caught up with him.
Was it really 90%? I forget, now. It was a very long time ago. And 90% seems like a lot. But I’ve seen some pretty outrageous claims being made in the name of science. It would certainly not be beyond the pale.
What happens, though, when things like this are taken for granted by the majority of those in a field where important questions are sometimes considered? What too frequently happens is that is that questions of significant importance are simply ignored. Last night I dreamt about a similar phenomena which occurs when a possible explanation of a phenomenon is ignored rather than investigated because of a type of blindness accompanying certain basic assumptions. The dream dealt with a fly’s eye.
As is widely known, flies and many other insects, and some other species, even, have compound eyes, which mainly means they are made of many lenses. Vision is, in the human, largely a function of the brain. Interpretation of the images taken by the eye seems to be mostly done entirely there. So we see what the brain thinks we are seeing, more than just what the images perceive.
Whether that says anything about animals with compound eyes or not is part of what drives me to write this piece. This was at the heart of my realization that one of our assumptions is that such animals use their eyes very much like we do. What prompts that assumption? Suppose multiple lenses make the detection of molecular variations in the air possible? Perhaps flies perceive the presence of feces through seeing what we can only smell. That would make the wisdom of the old saying, “Honey attracts more flies than shit,” even if it is untrue, much more understandable.
Maybe the fly-eye view is more like looking at purple than like smelling something foul. Range would not only be increased but revulsion practically rendered a non-issue.That, too, would argue well for the old saying.
So it is at the old folk’ s home. As time passes, I find myself more and more drawn to issues like this than to the rantings of a nutcase, like Trump. Rome survived Caligula, why not us him? Well, what about climate change? Maybe if we just pretend it’s not an existential problem it won’t be.