The Arrogance of Our Abilities

We can see, hear, touch, smell, and taste. That’s it. Those are the only physical ways we can experience the physical world.

Imagine if we could never taste… if no one in all of human existence could ever taste anything. If this was true, we wouldn’t have the word “taste”… we wouldn’t be able to know the experience. We would be ignorant of the ability to taste.

This is important: we wouldn’t even know to ask about “taste.” It would be fundamentally foreign to us, not within any realm of possibility because we couldn’t imagine it.

Proof: imagine another sense. We can see, hear, touch, smell, and taste. Come up with another one. We can _____.

It’s tough, right? When I think of everything I have the ability to do, it’s still shrouded in the metaphors that we already have. It would be cool to have x-ray vision… but that’s still sight. Being able to fly would be rad, but that’s not a sense – it’s an ability. Other animals can sense things we can’t; they can hear other frequencies of sound and see other wavelengths of light… but they are still hearing and seeing. We are bound by these metaphors.

We simply cannot even think of other ways to experience reality.

Which brings us back to the point that if we could never ever taste, for instance, we would never ever know the difference. We would not – we could not – even long for the ability to taste.

Yet the ability to taste exists. It’s possible. Even if we never knew about it, it is metaphysically possible.

So, what else might be real and possible that we simply cannot experience and cannot give language to?

It could be nothing. It could be infinite. We simply don’t know. And to rely on our five senses to tell us everything about reality is something that scares me.

Think of radio waves, the things that make radios and cell phones work. They are completely invisible and indiscernible by humans unless we have the right tools to measure and create them. Radio waves don’t exist… that is, until we discover them.

Which only makes me wonder what else might be out there that is equally as real, but simply not known by my experience.


Gravatar Image

XHTML: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

One Response to “The Arrogance of Our Abilities”

  1. CW 10/27/2011

    Interesting; I don’t get the title since
    it was about senses.

    My future is not known yet can be
    shaped into something we’ve seen and
    and experienced through visualization.