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"The Multi-sensory Person"

by Michael J. Cohen



"People may not inherently feel all of nature. We feel only that part which we exercise or which supports our evolutionary survival in the natural world. For example, our sense of sight doesn't ordinarily register infra-red or ultraviolet light, although other creatures do register it. Biologically the creation process may have evolved us to survive without seeing these ranges. Similarly, cats may survive seeing only blue and yellow, and many animals are color blind altogether.

Each of the 53 natural survival sense groups that pervade nature and us are listed below. They help us enjoy and improve our lives. We experience them as an essence of our desire to be alive, as attractive callings that connect nature within us to the natural environment, to other peoples' inner nature, and to global life processes. Through our natural senses we more fully know nature within and about us. The more we awaken, fulfill, and nurture them, the more we sense lasting fulfillment in the satisfaction, balance, and wisdom of nature's peace.

The list below contains general categories of senses. Each sense can be further subdivided. For example, I list color as single sense yet we sense many thousands of colors. Each different color represents a different sensitivity, each may signal a different mood or message, each has different intensities that have different meanings, each may have a different neurophysiology and genetics. For example we consider taste as one sense, but our ability to taste salt, sweet, bitter, and sour are each physiologically, chemically, and anatomically unique. There are 22 different ways to experience touch. Each sense has a different genetic blueprint in us arising from eons of biological experiences and diversifying relationships within the global life community. 

Most natural senses are present but unexercised in an infant. Even the sense of reason and place operate in 2-month old babies. Since we didn't invent natural senses, and can't know them solely through language, each natural sense mystifies our thinking. Albert Einstein said: "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science." 

Between the years of 1961-1978, researcher Guy Murchie made an exhaustive study. He painstakingly scrutinized scientific studies about the senses as they appeared in many hundreds of books and periodicals during those 17 years. In 1986 he told me that scientific methodology and research had actually identified over eighty different biological senses which pervade the natural world. He said he additionally verified this through authorities at the Harvard Biological Laboratories. All these senses he clumped together as 31 groups for literary convenience in his book The Seven Mysteries Of Life published in 1978. His painstaking efforts and bibliography deserve our applause and confidence. 

Although Ames, Gesell, Pearce, Rivlin, Gravelle, Samuels, Sheppard, Sheldrake, Spelke, LePoncin, Wynn, and many other researchers has yet to be recognized by industrial civilization's story. Our intellect thinks that if it has a story about them, then we are OK. Our addiction to our story mediated, nature separated lives and thinking keeps natural senses and their value hidden from our immediate awareness. Our economy fuels itself by keeping our senses discontented, further irritating them through advertising and then selling us products that satisfy them. 

Our natural senses are nature in action. They attract us to the whole of the natural world and its ways, including the inner nature of other people. As our society trains our intellect to conquer nature and the natural, we learn to conquer our natural senses. Our nature-disconnected sense of reason exalts the senses that our stories use to take over our other senses and the natural world. We subdue and demean the remaining senses that tell us about how the natural world works and enable us to participate in the process. Ignored and numbed, our natural sense are a vast missing part of a responsible story about Earth, ourselves, and community. Without them registering in consciousness, we become "half vast." As Carl Jung and others have noted, our abstract thinking is no more reasonable, logical or consistent than our feelings. While living in the outdoors, nature has taught me that our abstract thinking is the way we learn to put our natural senses into culturally reasonable stories. Our challenge is to recognize that the excessively nature-separated parts of ourselves and our culture are unreasonable. 

We desperately need nature's wise ability to maintain life without producing our problems. That wisdom stops our society's destructive actions against ourselves and the environment. The absence of it from our consciousness is the mother of our collective madness: our runaway wars, pollution, dysfunction, disease, mental illness, apathy, abusiveness and violence. Without nature-centered thinking, our consciousness abandons our sensory inner child. Anybody can choose to help reverse this situation by choosing to learn how to reconnect with nature itself, not abstracted stories or videos about nature. 

I offer the following list of natural senses with this important reminder: each sense is a distinct attraction energy, an intelligent love that in nature has no name. Each is aware of itself by its being, not by a name. Each is an experience. Each can awaken many natural parts of us when we use it to connect with the natural world. That touchy-feely, hands-on, connecting experience in nature, not this list, catalyzes personal wisdom, growth, and balance. This list only provides information in language. It brings it on the consciousness screen and feeds and guides our senses of reason and language, our story way of knowing. Reason and language are only 4% of our inherent means to know and love nature, life, and each other. 

Nature-centered thinking uses the list of senses in conjunction with visiting natural areas and exposing our indoor conditioning to the many natural senses awakened in nature. It uses the names of the senses to help the new brain validate our natural sensations. Doing this is reasonable, since once we experience a sense, speaking its name places that sensation in our verbal consciousness. There we can think with it. This process non-verbally connects, rejuvenates, and educates us. It allows us to safely extend into the natural world's intelligence in order to more fully sense our lives and all of life. It works because once we experience that process of intelligent love and wisdom, we own it. We never fully return to our former way of knowing. 

Nature Senses and Sensitivities:

The Radiation Series

1.  Sense of light and sight, including polarized light.

2. Sense of seeing without eyes such as heliotropism or the sun sense of plants.

3. Sense of color.

4. Sense of moods and identities attached to colors.

5. Sense of awareness of one's own visibility or invisibility and consequent camouflaging.

6. Sensitivity to radiation other than visible light including radiowaves, X-rays, etc.

7. Sense of temperature and temperature change.

8. Sense of season including ability to insulate, hibernate and estivate.

9. Electromagnetic sense and polarity, which includes the ability to generate current (as in 

      the nervous system and brain waves) or other energies.


The Feeling Senses

10. Hearing including resonance, vibrations, sonar, and ultrasonic frequencies.

11. Awareness of pressure, particularly underground, underwater, and to wind and air.

12. Sensitivity to gravity.

13. The sense of excretion for waste elimination and protection from enemies.

14. Feel, particularly touch on the skin.

15. Sense of weight and balance.

16. Space or proximity sense.

17. Coriolis sense or aware of effects of the rotation of the Earth

18. Sense of motion. Body movement sensations and sense of mobility.


The Chemical Senses


19. Smell with and beyond the nose.

20. Taste with and beyond the tongue.
21. Appetite or hunger for food, water and air.
22. Hunting, killing or food obtaining urges.
23. Humidity sense including thirst, evaporation control and the acumen to find water or 

        evade a flood.
24. Hormonal sense, as to pheromones and other chemical stimuli.


The Mental Senses


25. Pain, external and internal.
26. Mental or spiritual distress.
27. Sense of fear, dread of injury, death or attack.
28. Procreative urges including sex awareness, courting, love, mating, paternity and raising 

29. Sense of play, sport, humor, pleasure and laughter.
30. Sense of physical place, navigation senses including detailed awareness of land and 

        seascapes, of the positions of the sun, moon and stars.
31. Sense of time.
32. Sense of electromagnetic fields.
33. Sense of weather changes.
34. Sense of emotional place, of community, belonging, support, trust and thankfulness.
35. Sense of self including friendship, companionship, and power.
36. Domineering and territorial sense.
37. Colonizing sense including compassion and receptive awareness of one's fellow creatures, 

        sometimes to the degree of being absorbed into a superorganism.
38. Horticultural sense and the ability to cultivate crops, as is done by ants that grow fungus, 

        by fungus who farm algae, or birds that leave food to attract their prey.
39. Language and articulation sense, used to express feelings and convey information in 

        every medium from the bees' dance to human literature.
40. Sense of humility, appreciation, ethics.
41. Senses of form and design.
42. Reasoning, including memory and the capacity for logic and science.
43. Sense of mind and consciousness.
44. Intuition or subconscious deduction.
45. Aesthetic sense, including creativity and appreciation of beauty, music, literature, form, 
        design and drama.
46. Psychic capacity such as foreknowledge, clairvoyance, clairaudience, psychokinesis, astral 

        projection and possibly certain animal instincts and plant sensitivities.
47. Sense of biological and astral time, awareness of past, present and future events.
48. The capacity to hypnotize other creatures.
49. Relaxation and sleep including dreaming, meditation, brain wave awareness.
50. Sense of pupation including cocoon building and metamorphosis.
51. Sense of excessive stress and capitulation.
52. Sense of survival by joining a more established organism.
53. Spiritual sense, including conscience, capacity for sublime love, ecstasy, a sense of sin, 

        profound sorrow and sacrifice."

Excerpt from "Reconnecting With Nature," by Michael J. Cohen 

Michael Cohen's website offers more information on this process in an article entitled:

 "Organic Psychology: A readily available antidote to Natural System Dysfunction (NSD):

How we come to our senses by learning to trust our human nature sensory experience and natural systems within and around us.



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Updated: 7/29/13