Proprioception can be defined as “perception of the body, its parts in relation to its whole, and its placement in space” or “one’s own-ception”. It could be considered the true “sixth sense”. Proprioception was also a favourite term of poet Charles Olson.

Physiology: the surface (senses—the ‘skin’: of ‘Human
Universe’) the body itself—proper—one’s own
‘corpus’: PROPRIOCEPTION the cavity of the body,
in which the organs are slung: the viscera, or
interoceptive, the old ‘psychology’ of feeling,
the heart; of desire, the liver; of sympathy, the
‘bowels’; of courage—the kidney etc—gall,
(Stasis—or as in Chaucer only, spoofed)
Today: movement, at any cost. Kinesthesia: beat (nik)
the sense whose end organs lie in the muscles,
tendons, joints, and are stimulated by bodily
tensions (—or relaxations of same). Violence:
knives/anything, to get the body in.
To which
PROPRIOCEPTION: the data of depth sensibility/the ‘body’ of us as
object which spontaneously or of its own order
produces experience of, ‘depth’ Viz
‘Psychology’: the surface: consciousness as ego and thus no flow
because the ‘senses’ of same are all that sd contact
area is valuable for, to report in to central. In-
THE WORKING spection, followed hard on heels by, judgment
‘OUT’ OF (judicium, dotha: cry, if you must/all feeling may
‘PROJECTION’ flow, is all which can count, at sd point. Direction
outward is sorrow, or joy. Or participation: active
social life, like, for no other reason than that—
social life, in the present. Wash the ego out, in its
own ‘bath’ (os)
The ‘cavity’/cave: probably the ‘Unconscious’? That
is, the interior empty place filled with ‘organs’? for
The advantage is to ‘place’ the thing, instead of
it wallowing around sort of outside, in the
THE ‘PLACE’ universe, like, when the experience of it is intero-
OF THE ceptive: it is inside us/& at the same time does
‘UNCONSCIOUS’ not feel literally identical with our own physical or
mortal self (the part that can die). In this sense
likewise the heart, etc, the small intestine etc, are
or can be felt as—and literally they can be—
transferred. Or substituted for. Etc. The organs.—
Probably also why the old psychology was chiefly
visceral; neither dream, nor the unconscious, was
then known as such. Or allowably inside, like.
This ‘demonstration’ then leads to the same third,
or corpus, thing or ‘place,’ the
‘one’s own’-ception
the ‘body’ itself as, by movement of its own tis-
sues, giving the data of, depth. Here, then, wld be
the soul is what is left out? Or what is psysiologically even
proprioceptive the ‘hard’ (solid, palpable), that one’s life is
informed from and by one’s owl literal body—
as well, that is, as the whole inner mechanism,
which keeps us so damn busy (like eating, sleeping,
urinating, dying there, by deterioration of sd
‘functions’ of sd ‘organs’)—that this mid-thing
between, which is what gets ‘buried,’ like, the
flesh? bones, muscles, ligaments, etc., what one
uses, literally, to get about etc
that this is ‘central,’ that is—in
this 1/2 of the picture—what they call the SOUL,
the intermediary, the intervening thing, the inter-
ruptor, the resistor. The self.
The gain: to have a third term, so that movement or actionis ‘home.’ Neither the Unconscious nor Projection
(here used to remove the false opposition of
‘Conscious’; ‘consciousness’ is self) have a home
unless the DEPTH implicit in physical being—
built-in space-time specifics, and moving (by
movement of ‘its own’) —is asserted, or found-
out as such. Thus the advantage of the value
‘proprioception.’ As such.
The ‘soul’ then is equally ‘physical.’ Is the self.
its own Is such, ‘corpus.’ Or—to levy the gain psychology
perception from 1900, or 1885, did supply until it didn’t
(date? 1948?)—the three terms wld be:
surface (senses) projection
cavity (organs—here read ‘archtypes’)
unconscious the body itself—consciousness:
implicit accuracy, from its own energy as a state of
implicit motion.
identity, therefore (the universe is one) is supplied; and the
abstract-primitive character of the real (asserted)
is ‘placed’: projection is discrimination (of the
object from the subject) and the unconscious is the
universe flowing-in, inside.
(Charles Olson, 1965)

Caveat: no guarantee the line layout matches the original City Light Books publication.

An essay on proprioception by Charles Wolf can be found here. Some quotes:

  1. Here, the word ‘proprioception’ will serve as a short-hand designation for the priority of dynamic embodied activity over isolated ‘mental’ and ‘physical’ regions. Rather than asking “How can a brain accomplish reasoning?”, the question becomes “How can a brain have experiences?”, that is, “What is it like for a brain to be embodied?”.
  2. The body which I experience is always my body, regardless of prostheses, hallucinations, etc.; experience is always my experience. In proprioception, I have an inner sense of how the various parts of my body ‘communicate’ among one other (cf. neurological interest in “body images,” the well-known phenomenon of ‘phantom limbs’, etc.), but also a projection towards the physical world around me, all at once.
  3. To understand what it means to think, to compute information, to have a trillion neurons firing in my brain, to have consciousness either at a 40 Hz frequency (F. Crick) or at the quantum level (Penrose), one must really understand this: it’s all about bodily sensation.

In the last few years, neuroscientists have been investigating proprioception and the sense of “body ownership”.

“Recent studies have shown that recognizing our own bodies depends upon integrated information from the senses of vision, touch and proprioception (the sense of how our bodies are positioned in space). These cues can easily be manipulated, leading to an altered sense of body ownership.” See here for a description of the original study from the University of London, which is published here.

In another study, researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden claim to have induced a “body swap” illusion, whereby subjects perceived the body of another person as belonging to themselves. An account of this experiment is here. The original research article is here.


About middleeuropeanmelancholy

64 year old Australian born male. Into travel, poetry, philosophy, music, popular physics, mathematics (especially topology)...
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