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THE SENSES

 

An itching sensation caused by an insect bite, a feeling of hunger, the coolness of a breeze or the warmth of sunshine against the skin may together comprise the subjective essence of an experience of a certain moment. Its quality motivates a desire to either lessen, strengthen, or preserve its current value.

At this stage, however, the itching does not have to be related to the insect, hunger does not need to be linked to the lack of food, and coolness or warmth may be without any reference to either wind or sunshine.  In other words, the subjective essence may exist entirely without its conceptual counterpart.

Secondarily, the visual images of landscape, sky, people, animals, trees, including colors, shapes, movements, sounds smells, etc., may give the experience knowledge of its objective form

The two-layer composite of form and essence will constitute an experience of a definite meaning. As such, it can be recorded in memory. From then on, any portion of such experience, whether encountered in the objective surroundings or occurring subjectively as an image in the mind, will have the power of evoking (bringing to mind) its remaining elements or the original experience in its entirety. Of course, its larger fragments will have this power in a greater measure, since they resemble the initial experience to a greater extent. 

After certain amount of such primary learning accumulates in memory, it itself becomes a source of the third distinct input - a memory input, which feeds back into subsequent experience affecting its overall quality. 

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Senses of sight, hearing, and smell provide us with the objective information about the outside world. Generally, such information is neutral in itself. It may be judged as either agreeable or disagreeable, because of what it implies in terms of possible consequences for the body's subjective essence

As stated, the senses of the objective form provide us with the information about the exterior realm. They may therefore be termed the extended range senses. However, the sight of food is pleasant only because it signifies eating, and a sudden sound of screeching tires is abhorrent only because it implies an imminent physical danger. 

Of course, in certain extreme cases, the extended range senses may also carry an immediate, self-validating significance. For instance: too intense a light that blinds the eyes, or too loud a sound that bursts the eardrums, etc. 

The sense of touch is unique. It is a sense of an objective form, because it is mostly neutral, and it is extended range, since it provides knowledge about external objects.  On the other hand, its inherent directness of contact with the body gives the sense of touch an intimate connection with physical pain and physical pleasure, both of which are an unequivocal subjective essence

The sense of taste has a predominant subjective component. Things we taste are mostly not neutral, but either tasty or not tasty. However, its subjective essence is not the same as that of headache or sore throat, since it possesses an external object - food. 

Smell is an outer projection of taste. As such it is predominantly objective and extended range. However, it is not entirely neutral. Most things smell good or bad not because of the secondarily acquired associations, but because of the way we are pre-wired to react to their intrinsic qualities. 

Is sexual experience that of the partner or that of the self? Is a blow to the head the feel of the head or of the object that struck it? What is experience, anyway? Is it a quality of he who experiences or is it a quality of that which is being experienced? Is there really a difference? 



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Copyright © 1997 - 2017 by Andrzej Wodzianicki
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