Sun Ra and the Umwelt

The Sun Ra Arkestra is an avant-garde musical ensemble that has been pushing the boundaries of music since its inception in the 1950s. The group’s music is often characterized by its use of unconventional instruments and sounds, as well as its incorporation of jazz, blues, and other musical genres. For many people, the experience of listening to the Sun Ra Arkestra is a sensory experience that takes them outside of their typical umwelt and allows them to experience music in a new and different way.

The concept of the umwelt refers to the subjective reality experienced by an organism. This reality is shaped by the organism’s sensory systems and the environment in which it exists. For a blind person, the absence of vision is not a loss or a lack. Rather, it is simply a different way of experiencing the world. The blind person’s umwelt is shaped by their remaining senses, such as touch, hearing, and smell, and by their own unique life experiences.

Electromagnetic radiation, including the visible light that allows sighted individuals to see, is simply not part of a blind person’s umwelt. They do not miss vision because they have no conception of it. Instead, their sensory systems allow them to perceive the world in other ways. For example, a blind person may be able to detect the subtle differences in texture on a surface through touch, or to perceive the presence of objects and people in their environment through sound and echolocation. Also they may be able to perceive changes in the environment through changes in temperature or air pressure that are imperceptible to those who rely solely on vision. Additionally, blind people may have a heightened sense of empathy and understanding of others, as they must rely on other sensory systems to interpret social cues.

The Sun Ra Arkestra’s music is known for its use of unconventional instruments, including electric keyboards, saxophones, and percussion instruments. This creates a unique soundscape that is unlike anything else in contemporary music. Additionally, the group’s use of improvisation and experimentation allows listeners to experience music in a way that is unpredictable and exciting.

However, it is important to recognize that there is plenty of information available in channels to which ordinary people have no natural access. This type of music may be difficult for some people to appreciate, but for others, it provides access to a different kind of sensory experience that is not available through traditional music. Furthermore, the Sun Ra Arkestra’s music is often described as “cosmic” or “otherworldly,” which creates a sense of transcendence and takes listeners outside of their normal sensory experience.

There is a wealth of information and experiences available in channels to which ordinary people have no natural access. It is important to recognize and appreciate the diversity of ways in which individuals experience the world, and to remain open to new and different sensory experiences. By doing so, we can expand our own umwelt and gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the world around us.

Ultimately, the music of the Sun Ra Arkestra expands the umwelt of those who listen to it. By exposing listeners to new sounds and ideas, the group challenges people’s preconceptions about what music is and what it can be. This is an important part of human development, as it allows individuals to grow and expand their understanding of the world around them. For this reason, the Sun Ra Arkestra is an important part of contemporary music, and its impact will continue to be felt for years to come.

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