Monday, January 12, 2009

The Five Senses Just wondering...

I was just sitting here at my desk, thinking about how being blind really gets on my nerves so much. I think if I didn't live in a sighted world it wouldn't bother me as much. It's like being a bird that has no use of its wings to take flight. It's like being a fish that has no use of its fins to swim.

Basically, it sucks.

One of the first things I remember learning about as a kid is that we, humans, have five senses.
* The Sense of Touch
* The Sense of Sight
* The Sense of Sound
* The Sense of Smell
* The Sense of Taste

I never in a million years would've ever thought that I would lose one of those valuable senses. It is through those five senses that we perceive the world around us. And there is so much that I am missing out on, just because I cannot perceive this beautiful world we live in with the sense of sight.

As I was thinking about the "five senses", and how ridiculous it is that I'm left with only four of them, an interesting thought popped in my head. I know for a fact that people can lose three of the five senses. A person can lose their sense of sight and be blind. A person can lose their sense of sound and be def. A person can even lose their sense of touch from some type of nerve damage, and at that point, not be able to feel. But strangely enough, I've never heard about anyone that has lost the sense of smell or taste.


Although, I'm sure it's possible. I'm certain that some type of uncommon brain damage, either through a stroke or a brain injury, can result in someone not being able to taste or smell. But whatever the case, it's highly uncommon. So uncommon that you never really hear about a person not being able to taste or smell.

Or maybe it's more common that I think. Perhaps the reason why you don't hear about people not being able to taste or smell is because those senses more or less enhance our experience here on Earth. But not having those senses would not result in a catastrophic failure of everyday living. If we couldn't taste or smell, we wouldn't require major accommodations and modifications to participate in society.

Now, it's quite possible that I'm minimizing two of my four remaining senses. Or perhaps I'm not being thankful to still have four. And quite possibly, this train of thought that I’m on is just a weird line of thinking. Or maybe I'm sleep deprived.

Well, here's an assignment for me today. For the next 24-hours, I'm going to pay close, close attention to the things I taste and smell. I'm also going to analyze if the experience of smelling and tasting truly impacts my perception of the world and how I engage in it.

That can be your assignment too. Let me know how it goes.



Anonymous said...

Hi Angie, Interesting thought process. I think often we, who have the five senses take them for granted. I remember being taught, when I first started Tai Chi training, that we most often don't think about our hands or feet until we injure one or the other. At that point we see the value of those extremities. I remember losing the sense of touch in my left hand for more than a year, and I was not sure it would come back. I was in my late teens or early twenties. I first felt sorry for myself, then I began to find I could do things with that hand that I couldn't do with the other. I could pick up sharp objects without the fear of being pricked since it wouldn't hurt anyway. Then I found that often times when I did get pricked it wouldn't bleed where as my other hand would. I began picking up hot (not extremely hot) pans or plates with that hand with no fear of injury. It became like an experiment, to find that if there was no pain, often there was no injury! But, I did miss touching things with sensitivity, the feeling of a loved ones hand in mine's, the touch of someones nice smooth face, I missed. Well evenutally the sense of touch came back, and you know the first emotion I began to experience was disappointment because the (dangerous) things I did with that hand I could no longer do. Very strange of me I thought. Anyway, it was an experience I will never forget and it taught me lessons. I began to gain understanding about other peoples disabilities. I wondered how and if there were possibilities that they could take advantage of, by what appears to many to be a deficiency to others.
I have also learned that we humans no longer use half the power of our senses. For instance, I am sure your hearing has increase much more than the sighted. far as smell we don't use that to its fullest extent most people don't smell their food before eating since society has deemed it to be rude to do so. But, by smelling food before eating would allow you to know if what you are eating has not gone bad, and it actually enhances the sense of taste.
This is a very interesting post and has me comtemplating it even further. You are blessed Angie!

Chi-Chi said...

Angie, I've been thinking about this post for days!! You truly are blessed as Ensayn says . . . I'm so happy you're doing what you're doing.

I have very poor vision without my glasses and honestly, one of my biggest fears is losing my sight completely. I worry that one day I may need to protect myself or my boys but my glasses will be knocked off. That I couldn't knit or crochet. Because without my glasses, I can't really do anything, I appreciate the sight that I do have. I really do. I often think if I had to lose one sense, I would choose definitely choose my sense of taste first (and maybe lose some weight to boot . . . what's the point of eating brownies if you can't taste the chocolatey goodness), sense of touch next, sense of smell third (I'd be nervous about not being able to smell danger), hearing after, sight last. I think the world makes it so hard to get along without the last two senses.

I did the experiment though and you know what I found? I found to actually notice what I was smelling and tasting, I had to slow down sooooooo much. Mindfulness is key. When you savor simple things like water it definitely enhances the import of that sense.

Ensayn, excellent (and funny) comment.

Anonymous said...

how do blind people deal with the 5 senses?