October 14, 2001
July 16th, 2001
Humans have five senses: sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell. A
few weeks ago I was thinking about our senses and a question developed:
Can a human imagine a new sense?
To answer this I'll have to determine the definition
of a sense. I looked in the dictionary and it wasn't much help.
So I'll try it on my own.
Senses are mediums that inerpret information about the things around
us (or the lack of things). Our senses send data to our brain which
in turn, creates the world around us.
My first thought is that it is possible for humans
to have more than five senses. Some of us might have psychic powers.
However, psychic powers seem to be only internal manifestations
of external senses. Let's see if I can prove it....
Imagine that you can hear other people's thoughts. Would this be
a 6th sense? Well, quite frankly, I wouldn't classify it as a 6th
sense because you're hearing the thoughts. When I think I actually
hear my own voice "speaking" my thoughts. This suggests
that essentially, I'm using a sense of hearing. Thus, if you can
hear other people's thoughts in your mind you're still only hearing
them. Therefore, hearing others' thoughts would not be a new sense.
If someone had no senses and they had never experienced
any senses then they would have no thoughts. They wouldn't be able
to think. So, a psychic mind power could not be classified as new
sense. The mind is an internal mechanism that processess the information
gathered by our senses which are external mechanisms.
To me, the senses simply represent arbitrary boundaries
in the mass of data
around us. So sight is sensitive to (a small range of) the electromagnetic
spectrum, hearing to the sound spectrum, touch to certain frequencies
vibration of matter (ok I'm getting beyond my knowledge of physics
etc. There are huge gaps in what our senses tell us about what is
For me it is not a stretch to imagine a new sense that would make
us aware of
some heretofore unperceived aspect of what's going on around us,
being simply an extension of one of the existing senses. For example
became aware of matter changing to energy in a way that didn't involve
extension to the senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell or taste,
consider that a new sense.
In other words, our perception of the universe
is limited by our senses. I
think it's reasonable to imagine other ways of perception that can't
reduced to our existing 5 senses. (It may be hard for us to imagine
because we're so used to experiencing through our particular senses.)
anyways, my 2 cents' worth.