All our knowledge has its origins in or perceptions, to the ancient Greeks sensitivity constituted the essential difference between plants and animals, and between animals and humans. It was not that anyone specific sense was better developed in human’s just one glance at the animal kingdom will give examples of more acute vision (birds of prey), hearing (dogs and bats), or smell (insects).
Rather it was that between them they provided a range of information that the intelligent brain could sift through and use for the purposes of communicating, socializing, improvising, and inventing. Every moment of our waking lives, millions of sensory signals from the eyes, nose, mouth, ears, and skins are sent to the brain most of which are never perceived on a conscious level.
All these signals are constantly being adjusted analyzed edited eliminated, even completed by the brain. It is for example hard to find the blind spot in the eye not because it is not there but because the brain fills in the missing part of the visual jigsaw. The world of perception is very different from and much more selective than the world of sensation.
Moreover, in adulthood, the senses have a strict hierarchy, ruled first by the eyes and then by the ears the distance senses of sight and hearing and only later by the skin, the mouth and the nose the proximity senses of touch, taste and small. You can see how this sensual hierarchy organizes itself simply by closing your eyes. What happens? Y
our subjective inner world becomes filled with sound you can pick up the rhythm of your own breathing and background noise, which you may not have been aware of before, seems amplified. You do not need absolute quiet to before, seems amplified. You do not need absolute quiet to hear a pin drop when your eyes are shut. If you carry this experiment one stage further and place your hands over your ears, you will now find that sensation arrives predominantly from your sense of touch.
You will suddenly become aware of the comparative softness or hardness of the chair on which you are sitting, of the texture of the clothes you are wearing, and of sensations arriving from different parts of your body, your neck, your back, and your shoulders even your scalp. These are not new sensations they are continually being communicated to the brain via the skin. The difference is that you have only just begun to perceive them.
Further, we are all much more receptive to the messages arriving from our senses than we, perhaps, realize although most of the time we make use of just a fraction of their full potential. Think of the virtuosity displayed by the piano tuner, who carries all the notes of the scale his head and can detect and adjust the slightest variation in the pitch.
The discernment of the master of wine, who has educated his senses of smell and taste to such a point of refinement that he can identify not only the vintage of a certain wine but the locality and even the vineyard that produced it.
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Originally posted 2018-04-07 09:12:19.