Proprioception, Wikipedia, Wordie

Lauren asked for a definition of proprioception. Wikipedia’s page on proprioception is a great place to start.

Proprioception is the sense of the relative position of neighbouring parts of the body. Unlike the six exteroceptive senses (sight, taste, smell, touch, hearing, and balance) by which we perceive the outside world, and interoceptive senses, by which we perceive the pain and the stretching of internal organs, proprioception is a third distinct sensory modality that provides feedback solely on the status of the body internally. It is the sense that indicates whether the body is moving with required effort, as well as where the various parts of the body are located in relation to each other.

In this article, there is even some wrangling about the difference between proprioception and kinesthesia! I’m a language nerd and a poet, so this is just the kind of thing I love.

Proprioception and kinaesthesia are seen as interrelated and there is considerable disagreement regarding the definition of these terms. Some of this difficulty stems from Sherrington’s original description of joint position sense (or the ability to determine where a particular body part exactly is in space) and kinaesthesia (or the sensation that the body part has moved) under a more general heading of proprioception.

If you’re entertained by those ideas, check out the argument in the paragraphs that follow that one. Whilst I am a language nerd and a poet, I am not a philosopher, so logical arguments generally interest me primarily for how the syntax works. In other words, how the argument progresses or concludes doesn’t interest me, but how the language is used to MAKE the argument is fascinating.

Hey, I just realized that though I am a slacker cook and a relatively disinterested eater (meaning, too lazy for connoisseurship), I AM always puttering about with, and delighted in, the minute details of language. So not a foodie, but definitely a wordie!


Last night The Cop went to an armed robbery. And then off to a commitment of the lady who tried to light herself on fire the other day.

While he was off doing those things, I was reading Ka. Fell asleep thinking how beautiful the following passage is. It’s about Prajapati (Progenitor; Lord of the Creatures; antecedent of Brahma) creating idam (“This”) and idam sarvam (“All This”):

To bring forth “this,” was a long torment for Prajapati. And likewise to have it become “all this,” including the flies and the gadflies for which he was later reproached. Little by little he was overcome by a tremendous lassitude. A being would appear, and immediately some joint of his would come loose. The lymph shrank in his body like water in a puddle under a scorching sun. As his joints were coming apart, came apart, one after another, he gazed at bits of himself, spread out on the grass, like alien and incongruous objects. Suddenly he realized that all that was left of him was his heart. Beating, begrimed. As he struggled to see himself in that scrap of flesh, he realized he no longer recognized himself. He shrieked like a lunatic: “Self! Self, atman!” Impassive, the waters heard him. Slowly they turned toward Prajapati as though to some relative fallen upon hard times. They gave him back his torso, so that it might once again protect his heart. Then they offered up a sacrificial ceremony to him, the agnihotra. It might turn out useful, someday, they said — if Prajapati should ever wish to reassemble himself in his entirety.

To bring Jason’s triadic perspective into this, I suppose that in the general workings of my relationship with The Cop, I tend to look after the Brahma/creator aspect of the trimurti, which evolves into the sustain, the plateau, or the Vishnu/preserver aspect (which would be our everyday, stable personal life together) which is followed by the decay, the decline, the Shiva-destroyer aspect (which is more The Cop’s domain). Kinda interesting to think about.


Yay! Saturday! Day off from work, day off from practice. I have nothing that I HAVE to do. Nice.

Perhaps I will make maple cupcakes.


6 Responses

  1. So, the next question is how is a prop proprioceptive?

  2. 🙂 Using the wall helps MY proprioception: it helps me understand where my chest is in relation to my arms, which is helpful, since I am trying to get my chest more “over my arms” — the whole getting the armpits open dealio. Without the wall, I can FEEL like my chest is over my arms — but WITH the wall, I get a better perspective, and can SEE that my chest is far from the wall (and therefore not over my arms). So basically, the wall is telling me something that I can’t feel myself.

    This is useful because then I understand logically that there is further for me to go. And once I know that, space seems to open up, the possibility of going further unfolds — despite the fact that it seemed physically impossible to go further when I was using what I was feeling as my guide. I have no idea how to make that more clear — it’s definitely something I am familiar with in sports. And honestly, I have never tried to put it into words before…

    The wall is also useful because it helps me understand the direction my shins and thighs need to open/push toward.

    So the wall works as a kind of measuring device that helps me understand where my body is in space (which is always a challenge for me when I am upside down).

  3. There is some place, I don’t remember where, that your favorite philosopher is trying on a Linguistic Philosophy hat. He’s in a fussy mood (he was beautiful when he was angry) and says (paraphrasing): “Bah! All arguments are purely semantic!”

    He was always merging with the universe like that.

    Anyway, maybe there’s not a whole world of “essences” behind the minute details of language. Maybe name is form!

    (Look what Susan is doing to us.)

  4. I wonder if he would have loved Gertrude Stein.

    Probably not.

    Susan and Gertrude would have gotten on famously, though!

  5. I think he would not have loved Gertrude. He saw through the rules of language, but he also loved them and sometimes said that they are all that we really have. So I think she would have made him mad.

    He loved little kids though.

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