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Consciousness: The crucial missing link between Western education and Vedic learning

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By Gaurav Sharma

Albert Einstein once said, “Education is that which remains, if one has forgotten everything one learned in school.” The statement made by one of the greatest minds in the world, is a stark derision of the education system, especially as it is propounded in schools today.

Most people believe the purpose of education is to provide employment, propagate knowledge and eventually lead to the progress of civilized society.

While no one can deny that education guarantees us a place in society, in the sense of providing us with a job, does that encompass the all-in-all of knowledge? And is progress limited to mere economic and social development?

The modern education system which has its roots in the Imperial days, would have us believe so. The anglicized education system introduced, was meant to generate a class of people who would serve the British in running the administration.

Sadly, 68 years after the ousting of the British, the fangs of slavery are yet to be quashed. In school, the young impressionable minds are ingrained with certain ideas and notions that are deemed as basic ‘facts of life’.

Consequently, when the child comes out of school, his way of looking at the world is usually centered around the tenents of certain theories labelled as ‘science’. One such theory which is supported by a range of biologists and scientists, and is gaining popularity amongst the younger generation is Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.

In his book, Origin of Species, Darwin, proclaims that all species have descended over time from common ancestors, evolving through a process known as natural selection.

Natural selection basically refers to the variation that exist in the population of organisms. This variation is attributed to “random mutations” that arise in the genes of the individual, in interaction with the environment.

The claim that life evolved through random mutations, has significant implications. This thesis  reduces life to a mere bag of chemicals. As a corollary, this means that life, verily, has no purpose behind it. We are a product of matter, a combination but only of the X and Y chromosome.

A natural consequence of such an atheistic theory is the proposition of survival of the fittest. In other words you either adapt or die.

When a person comes under the warp of such a bleak and gloomy outlook, it inevitably means he feels justified in being crude towards other human beings, what to say of slaughtering animals for the satisfaction of the tongue.

Subconsciously, a pattern is drawn which makes one feel separate and distinct from other living entities. When such a sense of separateness pervades the mind, it leads to the hedonistic attitude that is prevalent in the society.

Basic moral practices such as compassion, love, tolerance, respect are reduced to bare precepts formulated by some  non-existent entity.

Bodily necessities take precedence over other subtle realities. When bodily necessities assume paramount importance, existence is limited to survival and enjoyment. Questioning is shunned to the background of clouded thoughts.

This begs the question:

Is Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, The Explanation?

Besides the immense damage that the theory of evolution has wreaked on the psyche as well as the functioning of society, it also suffers from several loopholes. In the midst of the scientific view that every action has a reason or a cause behind it, how can existence crop up virtually from nowhere? (the design argument)

It is tantamount to saying that an apple falls from the tree without the existence of gravitational force.

Secondly, it is quite absurd to state that Nature which operates on a set of physical principles does not possess the necessary control in making and implementing decisions. (the intelligence argument)

The most fundamental flaw that lies behind Darwin’s conception is the failure to explain the myriad differences between individuals of the same species, especially in the light of proposition that they are simultaneously generated and, therefore, should be identical in all respects.

More importantly, mere physical changes can hardly be a logical explanation for the attainment of complex states of mind.

A Vedic Alternative

The Vedas expound an explanation for evolution which is consistent with the laws of physical science.

Evolution cannot exist without an involution. This means that the attributes of evolution already lie dormant within the evolving entity. They manifest when the conditions become favourable. Thus, life is already involved in matter. In plain words, Life comes from Life.

This discovery comes in the form of a simple yet profound aphorism: a tree already exists within the seed. This is in compliance with the laws of conservation of mass and energy, that energy can neither be created nor be destroyed, it can only be transformed from one form to another.

Moreover, the theory of rebirth lends credence to the existence of different living entities belonging to the same species. According to this theory, a living entity can take a higher form  when the lower form is no longer suitable for its evolution. This has been upheld by notable psychologists and cannot be rubbished as mere superstition.

It can also be empirically confirmed that Vedic injunctions could indeed help in formation of ethics and character, the main import of real education.

The proverbs of Chanakya Pandita are pertinent in this regard.

Matrvat para-daresu: This means viewing every woman except the wife as one’s mother. Such a thought would naturally stem the flow of sexual violence inundating the present day and age.

Atmavat sarva-bhutesu: This maxim entails looking at every living being as oneself. If everyone follows this doctrine, there is no question of treating others inhumanely or ‘justly’. Everyone would be treated as one would treat himself/herself.

Nowadays, a lot fights happen over property. Chanakya’s view on property also hold universal application. He said one should look at others property as stones or garbage on the street.

Although, such moral precepts might seem too strict for the modern man to follow, towing the line with such principles, can result in more peaceful, co-existent and happy society.

And, herein lies the crucial missing link between the modern education of the west and the now relegated-to-the-fringe-Vedic-education: consciousness.

The goals of life,as per the Vedas, included right action(dharma), fulfilling need and wants(kama) and economic development(artha). Engagement in the cycle of such fruitive actions was only a preparation towards the ultimate aim of moksha or liberation.

The current education system focuses only the aspect of economic development. Words such as morality and compassion have withered away. Liberation is projected as the sole prerogative of sadhus or monks. Mostly, such knowledge has been outcasted from the mental and physical reach of the public. One either has to go to some ashram or to some religious organisation for studying the enlivening Vedic texts.

This education system is formulated by political leaders in cahoots with the technocrats, the industrialists and the scientists. Such people are mostly interested in minting money and are personally motivated. Naturally, they lack wisdom, philosophical insight and depth of knowledge to guide themselves, what to say of the society.

When materialistic pursuits and ambition become the crux of the education system, it invariably forebodes tension within the ‘created’ social groups and wars between ‘pieces of land’ marked as countries.

Therefore, the root of the present education system lies in not understanding the basic purpose of education. The principles that are governing education are highly questionable, especially because they splinter us into different fractions.

In this regard, the knowledge propounded by the Vedic literature hold much significance for society. It is a timeless wisdom beyond sectarian boundaries and dogmas, which cannot be appropriated by any particular group. (even as the Hindus try to).

Such knowledge cuts through political, geographical, social, cultural, economic and national barriers because all living beings, at their core, are essentially the same.

The Vedic proclamation: Aham Brahmamsi ( I am Brahman) is the king of all education because such realisation is capable of uniting us, instead of widening our differences.

The most question, therefore, is, where is such knowledge available? Some obscure place that is definitely not our school.

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Occidental Heroes, Oriental Lands. (Part Two).

Here's the second and concluding instalment of the "Occidental heroes and Oriental Lands"

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Heroes
An anthology of essays on Japan, by Hearn.

By Tania Bhattacharya 

[Dear Readers, Tania Bhattacharya’s latest piece is titled: Castro Gang Murders: How Cuba Eliminated An Opposition. It is available in the MORE FROM AUTHOR area below this article. Thank You.]

In the second and concluding instalment of my two-part series on notable western personalities who had contributed to the peoples of the Orient, I will focus on an individual who came from an international background, himself. Unlike the preceding biography of Satyanand (nee Samuel) Stokes, which was published in the earlier article, our second Occidental Samaritan cannot be compartmentalized and summed up, seamlessly. Stokes’ life was by comparison simpler and linear; he travelled East, made India his home, made the upliftment and freedom of Indians his life’s goal, and brought himself close to the natives through a local marriage and family. The books Stokes wrote have evaded criticism as well, precisely because they do not lend themselves to interpretation. What you see, is what you get. 

Read The First Part Here: https://www.newsgram.com/occidental-heroes-oriental-lands 

KOIZUMI YAKUMO HEARN

Lafcadio Hearn’s legacy has not been as fortunate, as Stokes’. To begin with, his childhood and youth were not as glamorous as the description of ‘international’ may evoke. Rather, those were troubling times for the young Hearn. His father had been an army surgeon of Irish ancestry, Charles Bush Hearn, while his mother was a local Greek woman from Cythera named Rosa Kassimatis. He was named after the island on which he was born, Lefkada; a place which Ovid mentions as being the location of the suicide of the legendary female Greek poet, Sappho. 

Hearn had only begun forming an attachment to the island of his birth, when his father returned from Ireland, to take his wife and son with him to Dublin. It would be the boy’s first experience of rootlessness, a feature that would recur throughout much of his growing years. Rosa, Hearn’s birth mother, was frequented by mental ailments, and when he was four, returned to Greece, never to visit Ireland again. The young Lafcadio was raised by his paternal great-aunt Sarah Holmes Brenane, in Dublin, though in name only, as the hands-on approach did not seem to suit her. Instead, his formal weaning was left to the Celtic tutor Catherine Costello. In a letter written to William Butler Yeats many moons hence, Hearn had confessed his love for supernatural tales and Irish folklore, attributing it to the storytelling of his nurse, Costello. 

As a youth, Hearn was enrolled in a seminary, where a cricketing incident, left him blind in the left eye. Subsequent photographs of this Occidental figure, have him, only showing us his good eye, the right one. It was also during his youth, that the aunt whose ward he was, Sarah Holmes, suffered bankruptcy, a time, when the teenage boy, was left to his own devices, prowling the streets of Dublin as a penniless vagabond, in the company of burglars, and prostitutes. Fearing that his association with disreputable elements of society was affecting his family’s heritage, Hearn’s father had ultimately arranged for the boy, to go to Cincinnati in the United States.

Many aspects of Lafcadio Hearn’s early life, are shrouded in mist. He himself refused to fully divulge the details of say, his supposed French schooling as a teenager. Author Nina Kennard in her ‘Lafcadio Hearn’ published in 2011, elaborates on this, stating that he was at the L’Institution ecclésiastique in Yvetot, Normandy, where he may have learnt some French. Other sources assign him as a student of a Jesuit seminary in Northern France. Still others, place him at an academy for boys, in Paris. In any case, it is believed that Hearn imbibed a love for the Classics, through his days at the Ecclesiastique. 

Having made the New World his temporary home, the future novelist, would accrue a small fortune through his calling in the business of the Arts and Literature. It was also in the United States, that he married for the first time. She was an African-American woman, descended from slaves, by the name of Alethea Foley. The marriage soon broke down, and Hearn found himself in New Orleans, where he developed a fascination for Creole, a culture that rose out of the miscegenation of the African, French, and Native American ones. It is a little known fact that Lafcadio Hearn, prior to becoming a towering figure in Japanese literary circles, had produced the first Creole cookbook! Creole had driven him to make explorations in the world of African shamanism, titled voodoo. In other words, this Occidental hero, was truly a man of many parts, one of which, was being a veritable necromancer. 

A significant portion of Lafcadio Hearn’s life was spent in Cincinnati, where he first worked menial jobs, and then had to contribute articles to news publications without receiving a remuneration. In time, he would rise to the position of staff writer. Much of his efforts were spent in the translation of French books, and in establishing his own journal, named ‘Ye Giglampz’, something that was inspired as much from burlesque, as it was from literature. 

Around 1884-85, when he was a reporter for the New Orleans World Fair, Hearn had his first brush with Japanese culture. His love affair with that country began after he had obtained a copy of Basil Hall Chamberlain’s Ko-ji-Ki, which was an English language translation of the Japanese myths founded in the eighth century. Percival Lowell’s book The Soul Of The Far East, played an additional role in endearing Nippon to Hearn.

At the age of thirty nine, our Japanophile, finally arrived in the country that had enraptured him through its books. Initially, it was a work appointment, given his position as a correspondent with Harper’s Weekly, but in a duration of months, he would escape his professional responsibility in the matter, trading it for a sustained stay in the new country. His first view of her, would be of Mount Fuji, from the deck of Abyssinia, the ship that was to bring him to her shores. The Irish-Greek writer and correspondent, had alighted at the port city of Yokohama. 

Back in Cincinnati, on the cover of Ko-ji-Ki, had been a map that depicted the worldview of the ancient Japanese mythos. The portrayal had been the perception of the Idzumo Legendary Cycle. Idzumo, or Izumo, was the setting for the mythology of olden Nippon, and expectedly, Hearn was delighted, to have found a home in Matsue, next to the place. 

His tenure as a school-teacher with the Shimane Prefectural Common Middle School, brought him closer to understanding the Japanese polytheistic doctrine. The post there, had been managed with a little help from both, Hattori Ichizo a bureaucrat with the Japanese Ministry of Education and Basil Hall Chamberlain, himself. 

Matsue, with its picturesque, natural beauty, reflected in the pristine waters of Lake Shinji, captivated the writer and became the origin of his formal introduction to Japanese literature, folk tales, and traditional horror. The vice-principal of the school he was teaching at, Nishida Sentaro, was a confidante, and quite empathetic of Hearn’s ideas. Having set up house in the city, the Irish-Greek author soon took up a mistress, Setsu. Setsu was descended from a long line of Samurai warriors, and she familiarized the author with many stories of her ancestors. These would later be introduced into Hearn’s novel Kwaidan. Combining a love for the paranormal, with adventurism, Kwaidan delves deep into the psyche of Japanese indigenous folklore, in a way not explored before. Always true to its Shinto moorings, the flash fiction digest, an anthology of about two dozen tales, has been a treasure-trove for horror fiction lovers down to present times.

Lafcadio Hearn earned enough respect from the hosts of his adopted homeland, that he became the first ever individual from the Occident, to have been personally received and feted, at the Izumo Taisha Shinto shrine, by its chief priest Senge Takanori. The sanctum sanctorum of Shinto shrines are referred to as ‘honden’. Hearn was allowed to enter the one that lay within Izumo Taisha. His introduction to the shrine was not by accident. It was the result of a yearning to gather a first-hand experience of the traditional Japanese mind. He would make two other visits there, with an identical purpose. Around the same time, he invested his money in building and maintaining a collection of amulets. Many of these were sent off to Chamberlain, who had expressed an interest in them. Some were addressed to a man he had much adulation for, the head of Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum, Edward Burnett Taylor. 

A change of residence, especially one designated in a foreign country and culture, are bound to invite challenges in the area of gastronomy. Despite his love for everything Japanese, Hearn took time to acclimatize to the nation’s diet. Till the time that he did learn to appreciate the simplicity and delectability of her foods, he had his meals home-delivered by a chef from a western food bistro. One of his daily staples – milk – was left at his door by the milk delivery system which had been newly introduced in Matsue. Not just food, but Japan’s weather too, proved somewhat daunting for the author. It was a country that remained, for a large part of the year, in the grips of a debilitating winter, and Matsue, Hearn’s resident town, was quite affected by this. It seemed like a good idea to travel instead, during the cold months, and so, he would visit places like Kumamoto, Kobe, and Tokyo, for new experiences.  

Yukio Mishima is arguably, post-war Japan’s most brilliant author. He had been a nationalist, and following the imposition of Article Nine by the Allied Powers on the native Japanese constitution which forbade the country from maintaining an indigenous defence force, had attempted to scrap the article through a number of means. Mishima was deeply resentful of his country’s efforts in westernizing itself. Hearn – a forbear Mishima thought highly of – had taken the same view of Japan decades earlier. As he watched its old ways get battered by the onslaughts of Europeanizing – a feature that had been missing from the landscape of safe, little Matsue – he had become disillusioned, and palliated his gushing; with a more serious and equitable approach to his writings on the country. 

Six years into his naturalization as a citizen of Japan, Lafcadio Hearn had assumed a new name; that of Yakumo Koizumi. It was also during this time, that he had given precedence to his long-time attachment to Setsu, whom he married in 1896. In a letter to his friend Elwood Hendrick, he had explained, how Yakumo was an alternative for his beloved province of Izumo, or ‘The Place of issuing of Clouds’ as he had termed it. Following the changes Japanese society was bringing upon itself in the form of westernization, Koizumi found solace by immersing himself ever more deeply into the essence of the ‘kami’ (the gods and spirits of Japan). As he would listen to the ghost tales of Setsu, his storytelling abilities would morph into new forms. 

Shinto, the native religion of Japan, is bereft of religious scriptures, having survived through the centuries based off oral traditions. Hearn found himself in agreement with the Shinto and indeed, wider polytheistic belief, that living people could attain divinity. This is what he illustrated in his work ‘Japan: An Attempt At Interpretation’. It would be his last. Ancestor worship and drawing a straight line between it and the Emperor, had become important to him. Yakumo Koizumi had come a long way, from his days as the petulant absconder from Jesuit school. 

After the defeat of Japan at the close of the Second World War, an American military officer Bonner Fellers, would revive the spirit of Yakumo Koizumi Hearn, by researching his works, and establishing the concept of the Japanese Emperor’s divinity among his people. This crucial intervention, prevented the American-occupied country, from rootlessness, as it took to westernization more than ever. Among Lafcadio Hearn’s literary output, his tome ‘Japan: An Attempt at Interpretation’ along with ‘Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan’ are perhaps quite seminal, as reference points, to the western reader. He has earned cognomina such as ‘gendai no han’ (today’s Hearn) and ‘daino no han’ (the second Hearn) due to his popularity in his adopted homeland. 

Heroes
A young Hearn with his great-aunt Sarah Brenane
Hearn
Lafcadio Hearn with his long time friend Mitchell McDonald. After the former’s death, McDonald acted as the executor of the author’s estate
Heroes
Hearn with one of his pupils M. Otani
Heroes
An anthology of Japanese ghost stories created by the Japanophile Lafcadio Hearn

However, there has been criticism of Hearn by a number of scholars, some of it, harsh. One of them have been Rie Kudo Askew, a Japanese researcher. She has alleged that his love for Japan was conditional, and that he wished to return to the United States later in life; going on to state, that his marriage to Setsu had little to do with love, and was instead due to the inheritance involved. None of his original works are in Japanese; as he had been writing mainly for a western audience. Another assertion has been, that his grasp of native tradition, was dappled. It would suit us though, to leave aside his shortcomings and the dubious aspects of his timeline, for a different discussion.

Also Read- Facebook Donates $20 Million to Fight Coronavirus Pandemic

Interest in Hearn has been revived of late, in certain circles of the West. This is warranted. After all, Lafcadio Hearn, is the Orient’s reply, to the likes of Lovecraft, Tolkien, and King!

[Disclaimer: The pictures used in the article are supplied by the author, NewsGram has no intention of infringing copyrights.]

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BCCI’s Resemblance to Popular Western Movie “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”

The 'Good' is the way the Indian cricket team is progressing as a world-class performer

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BCCI, Popular, Western
It has gun slingers, gun fights and the pot of gold, "the money chest of the BCCI". Pixabay

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) presently has a great resemblance to the popular western movie “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”. It has gun slingers, gun fights and the pot of gold, “the money chest of the BCCI”.

The ‘Good’ is the way the Indian cricket team is progressing as a world-class performer. There is far more consistency in all the aspects of the game and they look like a champion side which is far better than any before. Their success has led to a commercial bonanza not only for the players but for the institution they represent, the BCCI. Cricket viewership through television and the mobile has grown by leaps and bounds, thereby, generating an interest for which the numbers were a dream a decade back. Growth such as this is never an instant formula and one has to give the BCCI and many of their stalwarts kudos in creating a sports body that has become such a huge success.

The ‘Good’ is also in the realisation that the BCCI needs to change to ensure a systematic development of cricket in India and to make the game a pleasant entertainment for the millions of cricket lovers following it. The BCCI needs a radical change to carry it through successfully in the years to come. The cricket body is now a full-fledged business corporate that requires professionalism and regulations to ensure complete transparency in their operations.

The ‘Bad’ is in the way, even with the intervention of the Supreme Court of India and their judgment three years ago to implement the proposal discussed and argued based on the Justice Lodha recommendations, the action to do so is still languishing without a clear-cut conclusion. The Committee of Administrators (CoA) and the Amicus Curiae’s appointment by the highest judiciary of the land, has unfortunately not been able to get things in order.

BCCI, Popular, Western
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) presently has a great resemblance to the popular western movie “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”. Pixabay

One does feel sorry for, as one could say in the western movie context, the Marshals and the Sheriffs appointed to eradicate and capture the bunch of gangs that controlled cricket in India and in their state associations. To do so they needed to be far more in command as the BCCI was being run by very powerful, rich and influential individuals. To topple and get some of them in-line would require much more than words and written communication. One can now finally see a stern command in the way the head of the COA Vinod Rai has called for the BCCI election, which must have been the result of years of frustration of not being able to do so even through friendship and an amicable relationship.

A firm hand was what was required as most of the people controlling cricket administration at every level, have only one distinct aim and that is one of “Kissa Kursi Ka”. The chair/throne is what gives and gave them status, fame, importance and the famous quote by Lord Acton suits them perfectly, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

The Bad need to be eradicated by the Good and prevent it from the ‘Ugly’ which is at present synonymous with how the BCCI is perceived. Each and every day, there seems to be some negative and controversial news of individuals and state associations opposing the COA and BCCI, with statements and court cases. The sharp shooters in this case are the legal luminaries who are raking in a fortune to keep the gang war sufficiently ignited. The BCCI is losing crores of money battling legal cases, money that could be spent for the betterment of the game of cricket.

The quicker the BCCI apex body is put into effect, the better it will be for cricket and the development of it at every centre. Presently, at most associations, ad-hoc appointments and committees are being formed by the king makers of yore.

Also Read- Hundreds of Kenyans Join International Protests to Demand Political Leaders Do More to Combat Climate Change

The BCCI elections to be held on the October 22, will most likely not have some of the important big cricket centres of India partaking in it. The reason being that is they are still to complete registering their constitutions and some are also abstaining from doing so.

The CoA has made it amply clear that those state associations will not be invited to either participate or be funded by the BCCI in the future. Most of the state association leaders and gang members have been rooted firmly on their chairs or through some form of a committee for well over the 9+9 stipulated period. This makes them ineligible for a position either in the BCCI or in their respective associations. They have, however, still got clout to put their proxies in place. The gun fight will, therefore, be between the Good and the Bad. One hopes it does not turn out to be Ugly! (IANS)

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Electric Fields Used By Spiders To Take Flight: Research

Charles Darwin remarked on the behavior when tiny spiders landed on the HMS Beagle, trailing lines of silk.

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A spider sits in her web. Researchers from England think spiders might be sensing and using electrostatic fields to become airborne.
A spider sits in her web. Researchers from England think spiders might be sensing and using electrostatic fields to become airborne. VOA

Since the 1800s, scientists have marveled at how spiders can take flight using their webbing. Charles Darwin remarked on the behavior when tiny spiders landed on the HMS Beagle, trailing lines of silk. He thought the arachnids might be using heat-generated updrafts to take to the sky, but new research shows a totally different cause may be at play.

Erica Morley and Daniel Robert from the University of Bristol in England were interested in exploring a second explanation for the spiders’ ability. They thought spiders might sense and use electrostatic fields in the air.

“There have been several studies looking at how air movement and wind can get spiders airborne, but the electrostatic hypothesis was never tested,” Morley told VOA.

Some observers suggested electrostatic fields might be the reason the multiple draglines some spiders use to float don’t get tangled with each other. Biologist Kimberley Sheldon from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, who was not involved in the new research, pointed out that “though these spiders will have five or six draglines, those strands of silk do not get entangled. So we’ve known for a while that electrostatics probably [are] at least interacting with the spider, with the silk lines themselves, to keep them from getting tangled.”

Morley and Robert created a box with a grounded metal plate on the bottom and a plate on the top that they could pass an electrical current through. The scientists placed spiders in the box and turned on the voltage, watching as the creatures reacted to the electric field.

Reaction to current

When the electric field was on, the spiders lifted their abdomens into the air and started tiptoeing by raising up on the very ends of their legs. Morley told VOA that spiders only tiptoe right before they release silk draglines to fly away, in a process called ballooning.

And when the spiders did balloon and rise into the air, turning off the electric current caused them to drop.

Sheldon compared it to taking a balloon and rubbing it against your clothing. “If you hold the balloon [near your head], your hair stands on end. That’s kind of what’s happening with the spider silk.”

Spiders Use Electric Fields to Take Flight: Research
Spiders Use Electric Fields to Take Flight: Research. Pixabay

Clearly the spiders were able to sense the local electrostatic field and respond appropriately by releasing silk, but Morley and Robert wanted to know how.

“As a sensory biologist, I was keen to understand what sensory system they might use to detect electric fields,” said Morley. “We know that they have very sensitive hairs that are displaced by air movements or even sound. So I thought that it’s possible that they might be using these same hairs to detect electric fields.”

This was exactly what she observed. The small hairs along the spiders’ legs react not only to physical experiences like a breeze but also to the electric field. In nature, it makes sense for spiders to sense both the electrostatic field around them as well as wind conditions. Spiders probably use both when taking off and navigating the skies.

Mathematician Longhua Zhao from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland has made computer models of how spiders balloon. She told VOA, “I think that both the electrical field and the fluid mechanics [of air flow] are important. They definitely play very important roles. However, we don’t know at this point which is the dominant factor.”

Also read: Did You Hear about the New Species of Spiders Named After Leonardo DiCaprio, Bernie Sanders and Barrack Obama?

Lead researcher Morley pointed out that spiders aren’t the only invertebrates to balloon. “Caterpillars and spider mites, which are arachnids but not spiders, balloon as well.” Morley hopes to see others follow up her research to see if these other animals respond in a way similar to the spiders. (VOA)