People experience and make representations of their environment through the use of their senses. Dumont (2009) described the senses of hearing, sight, touch, taste, and smell as a person’s doors to the outside world. These doors allow one to receive messages from the external world, thereby creating and adding to his or her consciousness. One’s consciousness is a vital ability needed for humans to survive and secure their safety from the challenges of their environment, thus the importance of having five properly-functioning senses is stressed.
If I would be forced to give up one of my senses, I would choose to do without one that would not significantly hinder me from having a secure and comfortable life. Living safely and stably all depends on how one is able to receive and consequently perceive the messages which Dumont (2009) described the world to be continuously sending people.
One receives the messages in a process called sensation. According to Ahsani (2008), the messages are essentially neutral in value; however, once a person has encountered the stimuli and asses their significance, the neutrality disappears. The process in which a person interprets the effects of the stimuli as positive or negative is called perception (Ahsani, 2008). The five senses are the tools used for the process of sensation, and each is responsible for receiving certain kinds of stimuli. The difference in what stimuli the senses are able to receive is an important factor in determining what one might consider the sense which he or she could continue living without.
Sight is considered the most important of all senses (Trapp, 2006). Through complex nerve endings arrangement and light sensitivity, the eyes can see the colors, motions, and patterns of different objects in the environment (Trapp, 2006). Sight is very important for one to recognize the people, locations, and other objects surrounding him or her. On the other hand, the sense of hearing uses the ears to detect sounds, rhythm, and harmonies (Trapp, 2006). Both senses are essential communication tools. Both also enable one to recognize danger and react to it immediately.
The sense of touch operates through nerve ending on the skin that reports to the brain its contact with a foreign object or changes in the total body condition (Dumont, 2009). Touch allows people to gauge the texture and temperature of an object, as well as feel pain, pleasure, and body conditions such as thirst and hunger (Dumont, 2009). Touch is essential because it informs one when contacts made by external matters are harmful to oneself.
The sense of smell uses nerve cells to transmit to the brain information about the chemical compositions of the objects or matter one smelled (Dumont, 2009). Through it, people are able to experience pleasure in smelling sweet-scented objects. However, the nose is also helpful in accurately distinguishing smells that can harm one, such as the stench of rotting food, poisonous air, and dangerous gas leaks.
The last sense is the sense of taste. Through the taste buds found on one’s tongue, a person is able to classify the taste of the food which passed through his or her mouth as sweet, sour, salty, bitter, hot, or spicy (Dumont, 2009). Of all the senses, I consider taste to be the most expendable. Ranking them based on which one would have the most effect on my personal and physical well-being, I find that taste would be the easiest one to be without. Losing the capacity to taste would mean that I would only lose the capability to find pleasure in food. It will be hard at first if everything I eat is tasteless, but it would not be long before the habituation kicks in. I would get used to considering food as my body’s fuel source and nothing else. Meals would certainly turn into a chore, a necessity activity accomplished to continue living. However, it is not entirely bad. With the pleasure removed from eating, I will be able to concentrate more on eating healthy food rather than those glutamate-laden “delicious” foods.
I recognize the individual qualities and significance each of my senses have given me. However, if I would be forced to relinquish one of them, I would have to surrender taste because I consider it to have the least effect on my safety. Further, losing my taste might even prove to benefit my health and food choices.
Ahsani, M. (2008). Sensation and perception. Union County College. Retrieved March 3, 2009 from http://faculty.ucc.edu/psysoc-ahsani/General%20Psychology/Gen%20PSY%20PPS/EP%20Chapter%2005-m.ppt
Dumont, T. Q.. (2009). The senses and sensations. Psi Tek. Retrieved March 4, 2009 from http://www.psitek.net/pages/PsiTek-the-master-mind5.html
Trapp, D. (2006). Observation and the senses. Sequim Science. Retrieved March 3, 2009 from http://homepage.mac.com/dtrapp/physics.f/Senses.html