Sense & Sensitivity
Today’s prompt: If you were forced to give up one sense, but gain super-sensitivity in another, which senses would you choose? Photographers, artists, poets: show us SENSITIVE.
“It’s too loud in here,” said Goldilocks. “And too bright! And the meal is too spicy!”
“Is there anything else I can get for you?” replied the uncertain server at Three Bears Diner.
All of us have probably experienced to some degree, a temporary super-sensitivity or power—a heightened awareness of some kind. I’m including here, matters outside what we usually call “senses”—things that nevertheless contribute to our connection with surroundings.
For example, a potential life-threatening event such as an traffic-accident can shift one’s perceptions into slow motion as one takes in every detail. With all senses on high alert, one experiences “time sensitivity”. I felt this during a bus accident that gave me a sense of zero-gravity as I “floated” to the ceiling of the bus, then came back down just as time returned to normal and I hit the aisle’s floor.
There are often reports of super strength and energy in someone fearing for their life, running faster than thought possible, or lifting a truck or tree twice his or her weight to save someone underneath.
When one needs that kind of emergency power generation, it’s great that our bodies and minds can shift into that mode. However, have you even had too much coffee? Stimulation with nowhere to channel it can be an uncomfortable feeling. Likewise, under usual circumstances, if one had super senses of any kind, it could be an imposition, not a gift.
What about super hearing? I’ve thought of that when observing my cat whose ears twitch to sounds, even when she appears to be napping. She is nearly always on audio-alert; yet, while this is a natural “setting” for a cat or other animal, it would be nerve-exhausting for a person, as anyone who has suffered from temporary hyperacusis could affirm. There were times where I couldn’t stay in a favorite restaurant due to noise.
A super sense of smell? I’ve sometimes thought, “poor dog”, wondering what an imposition its world of heightened smells may be; yet again, that’s their natural way. Whereas, for us it would be an intrusive smell-carnival.
Just a change in one’s hormones can bring on super- sensitivity of this kind. It happens in pregnancy, as I discovered. Even smells that used to please me were now overbearing. One day I returned home, knowing who had been at my door just from the scent of her perfume. When I called her right away to confirm, she was amazed, saying she had stopped by an hour earlier!
Super-vision? Exhausting. Can you imagine? We already have so many incoming visual cues to process, who would want more? I think if one had the gift of super data processors in one’s brain to handle it, that would be a gift!
My conclusion is there’s a reason we are ordinarily allocated human limits. It’s what we can handle. Heightened abilities may come to one’s aid briefly when needed. Otherwise, they’re fine as is. When one sense is diminished, rather than acquiring supercharged senses, one finds ways to compensate with a more graceful re-balancing of all one’s sensory gifts.