Human perception and virtual realities (H. Maturana)

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The cognitive biologist Maturana Romesín and the psychologist Verden Zoeller stress “that for us human beings nothing that we live in flow of our emotioning, whether consciously or unconsciously, is irrelevant or “virtual” in our living.” Humberto Maturana Romesín further expands on his approach to human perception and virtual realities:

“Our nervous system is continuously changing along the flow of our living, and it does so in a manner that is moment by moment contingent on the course of our living, both in our conscious and unconscious, external and internal, relational psychic space. As a result, all that we live, regardless of what kind of living we live, arises in us modulated by the history of our psychic existence regardless of whether this takes place through our living in what an observer might call a virtual or a non-virtual reality. … In other words, as we live them repeatedly, realities that were initially virtual progressively stop being virtual. As features of our culture, they become part of our biological manner of living and, hence, of the non-virtual reality that we live. The problem with virtual realities, then, if there is any, is not how they occur, or if they occur at all, but whether we do or do not like the psychic manners of existence and the cultural transformations that we generate through them. Virtual realities are never trivial, because we always become transformed as we live them according to the emotioning of the psychic space that they bring about in our living, and this is so regardless of whether we like it or not. If we care about what happens to us and to other human beings through what we do through virtual realities, then it is our responsibility to act accordingly.” (Maturana Romesín 2008)

Humberto Maturana Romesín, The Biological Foundations of Virtual Realities and Their Implications for Human Existence,biological–epistemological – biology of cognition, (paper) 18 November 2006

This paper is comprises two appendices from the book “The Origin of Humanness in the Biology of Love” written in 1994 by Humberto Maturana Romesín and Gerda Verden Zöller (edited by Pille Bunnell). The appendices were written by Hunberto Maturana Romesin in the years 1996–1997. The book is in press with Imprint Academic, and was published 2008.

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