Frequency Limitations

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How we live and learn within our biological sonic limits defines our degrees of freedom. If I am hearing impaired and you are not, we are both determined, but you have greater degrees of freedom.

Let us consider the frequency range of hearing for humans and various selected animals:

SPECIES                     FREQUENCY (hertz) lo-hi
Humans      20-20,000
Cats    100-32,000
Dogs      40-46,000
Horses      31-40,000
Elephants      16-12,000
Cattle      16-40,000
Bats 1000-150,000
Grasshoppers & Locusts    100-50,000
Rodents 1000-100,000
Whales & Dolphins     70-150,000
Seals & Sea Lions     200-55,000
Reference: Encyclopedia Britannica

The human ear is exquisitely tuned to discern different sound frequencies, whether such tones are high or low, near or far. But the ability of our ears pales in comparison to the way single neurons in our brains distinguish between the very subtlest of frequency differences. Reporting in the Jan. 10 issue of the journal Nature, Dr. Itzhak Fried, professor of neurosurgery and director of the UCLA Epilepsy Surgery Program, and colleagues from Hebrew University and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, show that in humans, while having limits to “ear listening”, a single auditory neuron in the brain exhibits an amazing selectivity to a very narrow sound-frequency range beyond what we ordinarily hear. In other words, our limits are ambiguous, depending on context.

As previously stated, to me the work of Erv Wilson is about freedom – greater degrees of freedom. For there to be any degree of freedom, there must be limits. A distinction is a limit. Our own body structure innately limits our experiences of a universe that is seemingly limitless. Being limited by our bodily structure has led us to innovate extensions of our physical resources: our senses, our ability to see and move in space, to create forms of time, etc. In this way, we have extended ourselves into the world.

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Gary David

Gary David, Ph.D. in epistemology, is currently engaged in a private counseling practice, as well as giving seminars teaching the role of the biology of emotion in the meaning-making processes of the whole human being. A former professional musician, he was the leader of an experimental jazz group called "The Sound of Feeling," and was one of the early, longtime students of Erv Wilson.

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