- The most/the least important senses :
I imagine no one would be willing to lose one of their senses… But if I had to chose… I would rather lose taste. What! Taste! But… Being French, you of all people should appreciate the taste of great food!!! And I do. But truly, there is nothing vital in being able to recognize yummy from yucky. And if there once was… Well, the time where we had to protect ourselves from poisonous berries in the woods or undrinkable water from a puddle is over. [Food] taste isn’t a constraint of the 21st century.
About the one I would be least willing to lose now: that would be touch. It is the one sense that makes us as human as it makes us animals. How tragic would it be, if the touch of a silk dress did nothing to you? Or if, in a more serious manner, the flames of a candle burnt you without you realizing it? That’s only a little part of it. Touch perception, somehow, extends to the other senses as well. You’re a ten-year-old in a farm; it is not enough for you to see the cute bunny, you want to touch the bunny; you want to hold it in your arms and yet if it’s in the cage or next to you, the reality of the bunny is the same. It does go beyond rational. You’re listening to listening to Led Zep and the chorus comes in and suddenly you need to put the music louder; you don’t only want to hear the bass, you want to feel the bass beat in your stomach.
- Optical illusions :
They’re absolutely fascinating. They’re the physical proof that we perceive what we want to.
For the next one, count the number of times you see the letter F:
FINISHED FILES ARE THE RE-
SULT OF YEARS OF SCIENTIF-
IC STUDY COMBINED WITH THE
EXPERIENCE OF YEARS
Most people tend to say three F’s. In fact there are three more! Six total. Our brain usually doesn’t take ‘OF’ into consideration, it skips it. A six-year-old who is learning to read focuses on all the letters and would most probably have the right number!
Now check this one out:
Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, olny taht the frist and lsat ltteres are at the rghit pcleas. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by ilstef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
- One hour of my day through TOUCH:
8:00 a.m. – Coziness of my bed and warmth of the sheets – roughness of the pages of the book as I turn them – softness of my baby cat coming to visit me – itchiness in my leg (damn mosquitoes.) – softness of the carpet as I get out of bed – coldness of the water as I get straight in the shower – water nicely getting to body temperature – feeling of the dry towel on my skin – me sitting at my desk on the leathery chair – fingers typing.
- Hilary Lawson – Visual agnosia:
A state where you could discover your world over and over again; the state of a baby born. This is a very interesting phenomenon. John didn’t lose his memory – he can recall his past -, he isn’t blind either, and yet memory and sight don’t seem to cooperate. The case shows us the importance of experience in creating our world, perceiving reality, searching for patterns. Can he read? Probably not. Can he select his own food? Does he know where the bathroom is? Most likely not. He is condemned to be Alice in Wonderland forever. No home, no certainty. This brings me to a question: what makes what we perceive ours? This rectangular piece of wood on four legs which I called a table, is it not just another shape in a bigger shape which I called a house? Because someone told me it belongs to me? What gives this someone the power to determine?
- Theories of reality:
I would rather believe in phenomenalism. Especially because I don’ t agree with the two other theories of reality. 1. What we see implies more than just our eyes sending an image to our brain (see visual agnosia), which makes common sense realism harder to believe. 2. Why would we see colors if there were no colors? Scientific realism doesn’t seem complete to me – explanations are missing. Phenomenalism seems the most plausible. All knowledge is based on experience. Just think of John above.
- Perception through beliefs, culture, mood:
Wen I was younger, on my first trip to New York, we went to see the Statue of Liberty. Later on, my mom called from home, wanting to know how it went. And she asked me this: “what color was the statue?” All proud of myself, I answered without hesitating: white. My aunt, next to me, is surprised: “What, white? Did you have your eyes open? It was green.” I was confused. My mom had told me all statues were white! I started crying. Decide by yourself, white or green? What you know or what you see?
Again, let’s talk about French food. French food is the best. I might not have tasted every food in the world, I probably won’t, but there are some universal truths you ought to believe in. The sun is yellow, the water is blue, French food is the best. You might want to call it patriotic stubbornness, I’ll call it a fact.
Perception through mood is obvious. We have all seen that the sun is brighter when we are happy, and the world nastier when we are sad. About the weather, I just wonder sometimes if our mood influences the way we see it, or if it has an impact on our mood. People say they’re happier in the sun, I know I am, so I’d tend to believe the second option. But I wouldn’t want to get off topic.
- Perception enhancers:
They seem to be the future. They’ll be everywhere with everyone, they will do everything. Implications are that we won’t be able to hide. This means stopping criminal and limit deception. But it also means another conception of privacy and feeling free to be independent. It seems both fascinating and a little scary.
Carrefour is a kind of French Wallmart. I had been there so many times! And yet the time it took me to understand the logo is unthinkable. One day I was simply walking by and I had this revelation. Oooooh! So it isn’t just a red arrow next to a fancy blue fish-hook! No; in fact it represents a C. C from Carrefour. I’m glad I’ll die knowing this. I believe this is called Gestalt – closure, more exactly.
An intriguing fact implying that senses can be combined. But are we not all victims of synesthesia? We experience ‘combined senses’ everyday. The question would rather be: Are senses ever isolated? Can we just touch, or just see? Not the way I see it.