Using the senses together 

Each sense makes a different observation. But the observations and the senses which make them are complementary, so that together they form a coherent whole. Earlier in this chapter, we already provided examples of senses working together. Below are two additional examples of the observation of a house and of a cow.

In observing a house, you use the following senses:

The four lowest senses are used in association with sight. When you assess the house, you express your judgment on the basis of one of the senses used. For example: “The roof is a bit flat,” or “This yellow house with a red roof has a pleasing form.” The first remark leans strongly on the observation made with the sense of balance, the second is based on life sense observations.

Nearly all your senses can be used to observe a cow:

You might use the sense of thought and the ego-sense if it is a cow that you know, so that you can see the expression of its individuality in its movements, behaviour and noises. Except for taste, you have thus used all your senses.

It is important to remember that you cannot use your senses well unless you train them well. Practice makes perfect! You will notice that practising observations with one sense improves the observational capacities of the other senses, too. If you start tasting things more consciously, your other senses will also become more perceptive and you will be able to observe subtle differences better.

Adults can train their senses consciously, but young children cannot. It would be wrong to give young children exercises directed at developing their senses and their observational capacities. They develop their senses in the way that comes most naturally to them, by doing. A child develops its sense of balance by climbing trees, its sense of hearing by listening to music, its sense of speech by listening to stories being read out loud, and its senses of thought and ego by developing real, substantial relationships.

Exercises

Describe how all the senses would be used in observing a person.

Observe an object using as many of your senses as possible. What different types of observations did you collect?

In observing the other's individuality, many of your senses can be used to support the active senses. Identify as many supporting senses as possible, and describe how your observations reveal something about the other's inner being.

© Heirs Tom van Gelder - Stichting AntroVista