The World and what you make of it

The World
The World

It is what you make of it, your world. But is it really all you’ve got?

Your hands representing creativity, your feet representing mobility, your senses like windows to all that surrounds you. Touch is the panorama, your skin the largest sensory organ many different kinds of receptors. Sight actually has two kinds of receptors, color and brightness. Aristotle is credited with first delineating the number of senses to five in his work De Anima.

Since then, the semantics of science has been in a turmoil over how many windows to the world we have, 5, 9, 21, 53. Really, neuroscientists added the following four: thermoception, the sense of heat (some say the sense of cold is another separate sense); nociception, the perception of pain; equilibrioception, the perception of balance; and proprioception, the perception of body awareness.

Eco-psychologist Michael J Cohen boosts the number of senses to 53, going way beyond the physiological nerve sensor definition. He breaks the senses into four additional categories: the radiation senses that include color and moods associated with color, temperature; the feeling senses that include sensitivity to gravity, motion, air and wind pressure; the chemical senses including hormonal sense that reacts to pheromones or ovulation for example, and hunger for food, water or air; the mental senses that include external and internal pain, mental or spiritual distress, sense of self, friendship, companionship and power, psychic capacity.

But the world is much greater than our personal perceptions and reactions. That might be considered as the anchor of our soul boat, what hooks us into the temporal world. But where do we go when we sleep? Dreaming is a world beyond the senses. First Nations people of Australia dwell within a philosophy of The Dreaming that encompasses the past, present, and future; it is non-linear. I once had a sensory deprivation tank, floating in soundproof, pitch blackness in water heated to match body temperature, and with gravity reduced to zero by the inclusion of a buoyant Epsom salt solution, I left this world. Where was I and what did I find there?

I know for certain there is much more than the three-dimensional world of the senses. All I have to do is look up into the sky on a cloudless night to gaze at the moon and stars. I know I am one with the universe. I know I am energy condensed into matter in motion, stuck at the bottom of a gravity well. The Earth attracted me here like it attracts anything passing close by, plucked from endless space. I was shapeless, bodiless, an entity as old as the stars. One day, I will leave this dense matter behind and return to a quantum state where time and space no longer exist. But until that day comes I will be poking at the walls for cracks, building bridges between here and there out of whatever media I select. It’s all the same, art, music, poetry, storytelling, the ways we signal to the tribe that there is so much more world awaiting. It is our duty to speak about the meaning of life.

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