Our brains have a remarkable ability to pick out one voice from among many. Now, a team of Columbia University neuroengineers has uncovered the steps that take place in the brain to make this feat possible.
The auditory cortex is the brain’s listening hub. The inner ear sends this brain region electrical signals that represent a jumble of sound waves from the external world. The auditory cortex must then pick out meaningful sounds from that jumble. The researchers were particularly interested in two parts of the auditory cortex’s hierarchy: Heschl’s gyrus (HG) and the superior temporal gyrus (STG). Information from the ear reaches HG first, passing through it and arriving at STG later.
The data showed that HG creates a rich and multi-dimensional representation of the sound mixture, whereby each speaker is separated by differences in frequency. This region showed no preference for one voice or another. However, in STG ” it is possible to amplify one speaker’s voice or the other by correctly weighting the output signal coming from HG”.
In other words: HG represents, while STG selects. It all happens in around 150 milliseconds.
The researchers also found that after selection, STG formed an auditory object, a representation of the sound that is analogous to our mental representations of the objects we see with our eyes. This demonstrates that even when a voice is obscured by another speaker – such as when two people talk over each other – STG can still represent the desired speaker as a unified whole that is unaffected by the volume of the competing voice. (1)
We learn to listen.
And distinguish voices from one another.
But could that be the problem of philosophy today?
Concentrating too much on specific voices? Caring too much on specific views? After all, there is no philosophical opinion today which has no opposition from an equally important philosopher. There is no case where the philosophy of one philosopher is not refuted in its entirety by the philosophy of another.
And this is where Harmonia Philosophica comes in play!
You see, for Harmonia Philosophica there is no right or wrong opinion!
For Harmonia Philosophica there is no right or wrong way of thinking!
Because for me, thinking itself IS the problem!
We must stop thinking and start accepting. Start truly living again as we once did.
You cannot explain the cosmos. You can just experience it.
You cannot understand what life is. You can just live it.
The highest forms of philosophy lie within the lowest forms of conscious thinking.
Where there is no thought to cast shadows under the light of Being.
Where there is no though to disturb the calm sea of One with ripples of existence.
The highest philosophy at the end is non-philosophy!
As I once wrote in my opening Harmonia Philosophica article, we must forget how to think in order to truly think.
Think about it…