Umwelt (367 words)
“Umwelt,” Kira’s forehead wrinkled as she read the term in her psychology textbook. ”What a peculiar word. Have you heard of it, Ron?”
“Um...what?” Ron said, looking up from the couch where he was falling asleep in front of the TV.
“Wouldn’t you be much more comfortable in your bed?” Kira said with a sigh. Ron constantly fell asleep in front of the television. Talk about a creature of habit after thirty-five years of marriage.
Kira adjusted the reading glasses on her nose and read further, accompanied by Ron’s snoring. “Umwelten are the "biological foundations that lie at the very epicenter of the study of both communication and signification in the human [and non-human] animal. The term is usually translated as "self-centered world". Uexküll theorised that organisms can have different umwelten, even though they share the same environment.
An organism creates and reshapes its own Umwelt when it interacts with the world. This is termed a 'functional circle'. The Umwelt theory states that the mind and the world are inseparable, because it is the mind that interprets the world for the organism. Consequently, the Umwelten of different organisms differ, which follows from the individuality and uniqueness of the history of every single organism.”
Kira looked over at her husband and shook her head in dismay. They had lived in the same house together for thirty-five years but lived in completely different umwelten. Now that the kids had grown, she barely knew Ron and he barely knew her. Had they ever known each other? Was this all there was?
After staying home with the kids all those years, going back to university for her BA had opened up a whole new umwelt to her and Kira realized that her old life didn’t fit anymore.
Now that Ron was fast asleep, Kira made her move. She put her university textbooks and notebooks into her knapsack. Out came the hidden suitcase from the closet. She put on her coat, grabbed her car keys and edged towards the front door, opening it to the dark night.
Kira turned and paused as she looked at the snoring lump that was her husband.