Symbiotic Planet: A New Look at Evolution

By Lynn Margulis | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8
GAIA

There is no Silence in the Earth so silent
As that endured
Which uttered, would discourage Nature
And Haunt the World ( 1004)

Proprioception, the perception of movement and spatial orientation arising from stimuli inside the body, is a medical concept.Although the name for it is not well known, the phenomenon is familiar to all of us. Our proprioceptors incessantly inform us that we are standing up, inclining our head, squinting our eyes, or clenching our fists. Proprioceptors work as sensory systems not for outside information about others or the environment but inside the body.Nerves attached to muscles fire when they detect motion such as change in positioning of the body. These self-monitoring nerves tell us whether we are standing on our feet or our head or are on the bus at a standstill or jogging along at thirty-five miles an hour. The Earth has enjoyed a proprioceptive system for millennia, since long before humans evolved.Small mammals communicate the coming earthquake or cloudburst. Trees release "volatiles," substances that warn their neighbors that gypsy moth larvae are attacking their leaves.Proprioception, the sensing of self, probably

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