Every day we are bombarded with choices. What do we have for breakfast? Do we even have time for breakfast?
Milk, cream or half and half? Baked or fried? Steamed or boiled? Flat or fizzy, bottled or tap? Red or white? The list of choices is endless, and the ones I listed are simply mundane. What about real life decisions. To accept a marriage proposal, to divorce or stay married, what car to buy, where to live. To cheat or remain monogamous. To have children, to have an abortion. Which type of computer to buy. What to wear to an event. Ultimately, each has an impact and can form later decisions.
If I recall correctly, there was a study a few years ago that said that the average person makes almost one hundred decisions a day. But then, in a bit of research online, I read that the average person makes about 35,000 decisions a day. That’s a huge difference! That number is so mind boggling…35,000 in one day? Hmmmm….I don’t know.
Recently I had a conversation which seemed so frivolous, but really got me thinking about how we live our lives. It centered on our senses, the five senses we rely on for pleasure, pain, how to maneuver the world, to communicate. Sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. Which one would you give up if you had to choose one?
Let’s begin with sight. I was born very near-sighted, and have been using corrective lenses since I was six. Without correction, my vision is only clear for about six inches from my face, but with correction, it’s pretty perfect. Fortunately, I live in a time when correction is available to almost everyone in most of the world. But we all know it wasn’t always so. How do you get around when you can’t see clearly, or not at all? You are dependent upon service dogs or other people to facilitate your way through a day. But many get through life quite well sightless. Great musicians, thinkers, creators do just fine; better than fine, actually. Imagine a world without seeing the face of your beloved, your child, the myriad of colors in which to rejoice?
Hearing. If you can’t hear, most likely speech is impaired. Sign language is employed quite successfully by many. You can easily get through life without speaking; honestly, so much of what is said is a bunch of drivel and not worth saying. Small talk at the grocery store or the bank. I have friends who enter into silent weeks of meditation with gusto; leaving that world of silence can be a shock. A silent world couldn’t be so bad, at least not to me.
Touch. Now, that’s one that I think could be painful. Everyone craves touch, every sentient being. I have read that the first thing that goes in a relationship is the loss of intimacy from touch. Babies need to be touched, even by strangers such as medical personnel if in a nursery. Animals love to be touched, held. It’s said that plants respond to touch and sound. Being held is comforting and makes us feel wanted. The deprivation of touch is emotionally damaging. I can’t imagine a world in which I don’t touch or touch others, and not necessarily in a sexual way (but that’s pretty damn great too!)
Taste. Oh boy. The taste of a fresh ripe strawberry, a crunchy carrot, a juicy peach. The sweetness of cold watermelon. Salty, sweet, sour. Wow. Very bland world, that.
And, smell. Granted, not all smells are good. We even label smells as “odors” or aromas.” The aroma of fresh coffee vs. the smell of stale coffee. The aroma of apple pie baking vs. the odor of rotting food. The aroma of a beautiful perfume vs. the odor of body waste. Smells can bring back childhood memories; bread baking, coffee brewing, bacon frying. Not sure if I want to give that sense up.
There is one more “sense” that is not an “official” sense, and that’s intuition. Called the sixth sense, it comes from within and helps us determine if something is safe and how to proceed in situations. I have always had strong intuition, and it guides me when I listen. When I don’t and just ignore it as a silly feeling, I always (yup, always) regret it. It’s an instinct, a hunch, a subconscious reaction to stimuli that isn’t always visible. Can you think of instances in which you had a bad feeling about something but logic said to move forward, and then you regretted your decision? Bet you can.
In conclusion, if you were forced to give up one of your senses, which would it be, and why?