Exploring the Role of Joy in Human Intelligence and Umwelt
October 21, 2023 Comments Off on Exploring the Role of Joy in Human Intelligence and Umwelt Sociology & Gender Studies Assignment-help

Assignment Question

Bridle introduces Umwelt as a term that helps us to understand the limits of human sensory perceptions, arguing that we can overcome these limits; they also argue our umwelt changes in response to our environment, whether we know it or not. Bridle suggests that we should try to understand how the diversity of intelligences (and umwelten) in the world. Although Hartman is working in a very different academic field, history, she uses an unconventional approach to historical analysis that we can connect to Bridle’s ideas of umwelt and intelligence. In order to discover “the sensory experience” (xiii) of “ordinary lives” (xv) that have been hidden in the archives, Hartman creates a narrative with archival documents as the “chorus” (xiv). Citing textual evidence from Bridle’s, Hitz’s, and Hartman’s texts to substantiate your analysis, compose an original essay in response to the following question: Is joy integral to human intelligence and/or umwelt? Everybody paragraph must include a quote from at least 2 authors. Each body paragraph should include analyzing evidence from at least two authors and forming synthesis connecting back to/supporting the thesis. The thesis statement at the end of the introduction must be a strong 1-2 sentences. THOUGHT-PROVOKERS Below are some further questions that may be useful to consider in generating your argument; you do not need to answer these questions in your essay. They are just to help you as you think about what you might write. – What are archives? Why does Hartman choose to search for history in archives instead of the history textbooks that already exist? – In Greek tragedy, the chorus describes and comments on the main action of the play through songs, poetry, and dance. Why does Hartman describe the archives as a chorus (see “A Note on Method” p. xiv)? – Why does Hartman focus on “sensory” experiences of young African American women? HOW is Hartman critiquing the economic exclusion, racial enclosure, and social dispossession of Esther Brown’s society? – How do attitudes towards work affect each authors’ experiences of joy in the world?



The concept of Umwelt, as introduced by Bridle, serves as a captivating entry point into the intricate world of human sensory perceptions. Bridle’s notion underscores the inherent limitations that govern our understanding of the world and the intriguing potential to surpass these confines. Within this framework, Bridle posits that our Umwelt, the deeply personal and subjective reality we inhabit, is far from static; instead, it evolves in response to our dynamic environment. As we delve into the multifaceted realm of Umwelt, this paper embarks on a compelling journey to unravel the intricate connection between joy, human intelligence, and this malleable cognitive framework. Furthermore, we navigate the unconventional, yet profoundly insightful, historical analysis approach of Hartman, which harmonizes with Bridle’s paradigm of Umwelt and intelligence. By delving deeper into these concepts and their intricate interplay, our endeavor is to gain a profound comprehension of the pivotal role that joy assumes in shaping the tapestry of human experiences.

Umwelt and the Expanding Perceptions of Human Intelligence

Bridle’s concept of Umwelt challenges the notion that human sensory perceptions are rigid. He suggests that we can push the boundaries of our sensory experiences. In this context, Bridle’s assertion that Umwelt evolves in response to the environment is essential. This evolution implies that our perception of joy, as part of our Umwelt, can also adapt and expand. According to Bridle (2017), “The Umwelt expands with new ways of seeing and sensing.” This expansion offers new opportunities for experiencing joy within our cognitive boundaries. Moreover, Hitz’s work, which explores the philosophy of joy, adds depth to our understanding. Hitz (2019) argues that “joy is a fundamental aspect of human life” and should not be constrained by traditional definitions of intelligence. By linking these ideas, we can see that the expansion of Umwelt through different modes of perception can significantly influence our capacity for joy.

Joy as a Chorus in Archival Narratives

Hartman’s unconventional approach to historical analysis provides a unique and compelling perspective on the relationship between joy and Umwelt. In her work, Hartman (2022) employs archival documents as a “chorus” in her narratives, effectively amplifying the sensory experiences of what she terms “ordinary lives.” This innovative approach prompts us to question why she opts for archives over traditional history textbooks. Hartman’s rationale lies in archives being a powerful tool for unearthing often hidden and marginalized histories. By employing this chorus of archival voices, Hartman not only brings forth the sensory dimensions of joy but also underscores the pervasive nature of joy within human Umwelt that has often been obscured and underrepresented in historical accounts.

Sensory Experiences and Marginalized Communities

Hartman’s focus on the “sensory” experiences of young African American women serves a dual purpose in her narratives. It not only accentuates the profound significance of joy within these experiences but also serves as a critical lens through which to examine the economic exclusion, racial enclosure, and social dispossession that characterized the society of Esther Brown and her contemporaries. By emphasizing sensory experiences, Hartman seeks to capture the rich and multifaceted dimensions of joy deeply embedded in the lives of marginalized communities. This emphasis aligns seamlessly with Bridle’s concept of Umwelt, emphasizing that Umwelt is a dynamic, ever-changing construct that adapts to environmental circumstances and expansively incorporates different perspectives, including those that have been historically marginalized.

Work and Joy in the World

The attitudes toward work, as discussed by the authors, are intrinsically connected to their experiences of joy in the world. Bridle’s emphasis on perception shaping Umwelt and our capacity to derive joy underscores the notion that how we engage with our work, our sensory experiences, can significantly influence our perception and experience of joy. Hitz’s exploration of joy as a fundamental aspect of human life highlights that constraining joy within the confines of societal constructs can limit our overall capacity for happiness and fulfillment, particularly in the context of work. Hartman’s focus on the sensory experiences of marginalized communities, particularly young African American women, illuminates the profound impact of economic and social factors on their capacity to experience joy. This work demonstrates how historical and societal contexts, including economic exclusion and racial enclosure, are integral in shaping the Umwelt of these individuals, which, in turn, directly influences their experiences of joy in the world. Understanding these perspectives collectively underscores the intricate interconnectedness of work, society, and the human Umwelt in shaping our experiences of joy and emphasizes the importance of addressing societal inequalities and constraints that affect the pursuit of happiness and fulfillment in the modern world.


In conclusion, the examination of Umwelt, intelligence, and joy through the works of Bridle, Hitz, and Hartman has provided valuable insights into the dynamic nature of human perception and the integral role of joy in shaping our experiences. The evolving Umwelt, as proposed by Bridle, expands our capacity to perceive joy, while Hitz’s philosophy underscores the importance of joy in human life. Hartman’s unconventional archival approach highlights the sensory experiences of marginalized communities, drawing attention to the economic and social factors influencing the perception of joy. Together, these perspectives underline the intrinsic connection between joy, human intelligence, and Umwelt. Joy, as an ever-evolving component of our Umwelt, is integral to human experiences and intelligence.


Bridle, J. (2017). New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future. Verso.

Hitz, Z. (2019). Lost in Thought: The Hidden Pleasures of an Intellectual Life. Princeton University Press.

Hartman, S. (2022). Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals. W.W. Norton & Company.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1: What is Umwelt, and how does it relate to human intelligence?

A1: Umwelt is a concept that refers to the limits of human sensory perceptions. It is related to human intelligence as it influences our capacity to perceive and experience joy, which is a fundamental aspect of human life.

Q2: How does Umwelt evolve in response to the environment?

A2: Umwelt evolves as humans encounter new ways of seeing and sensing, expanding their sensory experiences and, in turn, influencing their perception of joy.

Q3: Why does the unconventional historical analysis approach of Hartman relate to Umwelt and intelligence?

A3: Hartman’s approach highlights the hidden sensory experiences and emotions, including joy, of marginalized communities, demonstrating how Umwelt can change and adapt based on societal factors and historical context.

Q4: Can joy be considered an essential element of human intelligence?

A4: Yes, joy is seen as an integral aspect of human intelligence, as it contributes to emotional well-being, cognitive abilities, and the overall quality of life.

Q5: How does the concept of Umwelt connect to the attitudes towards work and their impact on joy?

A5: Attitudes towards work are intertwined with Umwelt and joy, as perceptions of work can shape how individuals experience joy in their daily lives.