Let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that the reason the pigeon can navigate home from anywhere, even if he is prevented from “knowing” where he is, is because he is able to sense the magnetic fields which surround the Earth. Well, he didn’t just wake up one morning with that sense, he evolved it over millions of years.
Now, on the other hand, there is the physicist, some Maxwell or Einstein who never “sensed” the magnetic field, but received intuitive glimpses of it because his thoughts were focused in that direction. It isn’t likely that the ancestral pigeons discovered the field by incubating abstract laws of physics in the brain with the heat of ideas, but no doubt they did, also, begin with an intuitive sense of it. They sensed something qualiadelic in the air, and moved toward it, just as the ancestral bees intuited the color of a flower long before they developed the capacity to clearly sense it.
Concerning flowers and bees, an imperceptible hint of color attracted the ancient bees and they moved toward it; they ritualed with it and they evolved with it. The flower evolved, too – its colors grew stronger, brighter, more easily seen by bees’ eyes from further away. As concerns pigeons and the Earth’s magnetic field, of course, it is harder to believe that something so large as the Earth’s magnetic field evolved along with the pigeon’s ability to sense it. Yet it is not difficult to imagine that some small part of the field evolved with, or responded to the pigeon’s interest in it. The Earth itself, which is pretty big, too, is responding to the human race – and while we can’t really affect the “whole” Earth, we do have a qualiadelic relationship with parts of it. The weather and the climate is clearly altering its patterns toward us. Similarly, I imagine that the Earth’s magnetic fields accommodate the animals that can sense them; they, too, have a qualiadelic relationship.
More than one-hundred years after Maxwell and company pointed the magnetic fields out to us, we still can’t see them, or hear them, or feel them. Obviously, though, with science and engineering we are ritualing with them, we are developing a qualiadelic relationship with them. The problem is that we are not evolving a sense of them within ourselves, but only with the mediation of technology. The question that begs to be asked is, if the pigeons can do it without technology, why can’t we?
Even the ancient Greeks saw technology as a flaw causing an imperfect understanding of, and relationship with, the universe. For the philosopher Plato and others, the “technology” was the human body itself: only if we could separate the mind from the body could we aspire to pure knowledge. But the mind-body dualism is a fallacy. Knowledge, ideas, and all qualia are intimately related to our bodies’ ability to sense them. There are no pure ideas – we only know ideas, as we only know color, or as the pigeon knows electro-magnetic fields – because we have evolved to sense them over the millennia.
The answer to the question is that we don’t need technology to sense electro-magnetism, or relativity, or the fourth (or any other) dimension, but we do need our bodies. Technology may be a necessary step for us, in that it takes us out of our routines and gives us a perspective from which to look back upon our situation in the universe. But it is just a tool, a crutch, and we have to put it down sometime; eventually we have to grow up and begin consciously ritualing on our own.
Tony Brussat has a Master’s degree in Rhetoric and Communication, and he lives in the Mythical State of Jefferson. Purchase WELCOME TO THE QUALIASPHERE to learn more about conscious ritualing and the qualiadelic experience. Visit qualiadelic.com