Human beings live in a world of sensation. For much of the time we simply ignore it.
We ignore the kids screaming in the yard, we ignore the pangs of hunger when lunch is an hour away and we have work to do and the boss looking over our shoulder.
We ignore the heat or the cold as best we can, in fact we lock it out of our homes and automobiles. We control those sensations to some degree.
Many of our sensations don’t even register on our consciousness. Closing my eyes due to the shampoo and turning a hundred and eighty degrees in the shower, was really the only time today when I considered my sense of balance, and a marvelous thing it is, too. Fighter pilots, in the peak of health and with all kinds of physical conditioning report that vertigo, the loss of the sense of balance and the well-being that it brings is not only terrifying but uncontrollable—they have to fight to focus on their instruments and take it on pure faith that the readings are true and credible, for their body tells them otherwise.
If someone offered you a piece of chocolate cake, and you put it in your mouth and it tasted awful, what would you do? Would you eat it anyway? I mean, it looks like cake and everything.
Your taste buds would trump your vision in this particular case, wouldn’t they? No matter how good it looks or even smells—your eyes don’t have to chew it up and swallow it, do they?
We trust our sensations, we rely on them.
I rode my bike to the beach today. With no major anxieties going on right now in my personal life, it was good to focus on those sensations exclusively—no raking over old coals, no over-analyzing what so and so said, no deep worries about what people think.
The waves lapped at the shore, children screamed and hollered in the distance. The air was hot and the water was cool. The sand felt gritty between my toes. Seagulls squawked and cardinals sang in the trees behind me. A bunch of moths have hatched out recently, possibly the oak-savannah environment has something to do with it, and the little buggers were brushing up against me as the wind dried me. I stood in the shade, for the sand was too hot for my feet and I’ve had enough sun for a couple of days. The western horizon was chock full of cumulus clouds and the sky over Lake Huron was pure oxygen-blue and I drank water that was still cool, with just a hint of plastic flavour from my water bottle and sucked tobacco smoke into my lungs.
There are other sensations. The sense of well-being, of being fed, of having a full belly or a bed to sleep on. The sense of injustice or hate, or anger, is a kind of physical sensation because it brings physical effects along with it.
We like the feeling of excitement when watching football, hockey or an auto race, we like the suspense or tension of baseball and golf.
Since I came into this world, I have experienced love, hate, desire, disgust, loneliness, friendship, pain, orgasm, terror and triumph. I have enjoyed or suffered the whole gamut of emotions that humans can feel.
It’s got its ups and downs, no doubt about it, but it’s just a whole helluva lot better than feeling nothing at all.
Enjoy your lives as best you can, for life is short and there is nothing that comes afterwards.
Don’t waste your time here. Do something with it.
I wrote this naked. For one thing, my shorts are still wet, and for another, I have this other sense, probably my best one: a sense of humour.
Hopefully you do too, but if not, I pity you, for surely you must be among the most miserable of men.
Now go on, get out of here. Go out and play or something.