One of the very first lessons learned in Kindergarten – somewhere between the ABCs and shoe tying-is the 5 senses. For those of you that skipped that day in class, touch, sight, hearing, taste, & smell are the five “senses” that a human uses to perceive the outside world. Fast forward to High School and Psych 101 delves deep into perception, moreover, how a person organizes, identifies, and interprets the information being thrown at them. Recently, my perception has been at an overload where I feel things are coming at me so fast that I hardly can comprehend, much less analyze anything properly. I’ve also come to find that one sense in particular has been getting abused and misused by myself and most people I come into contact with.
Heres how I see it: Smell is an easy one. It’s subliminal and associative. You smell cookies in the oven…there are cookies in the oven. You smell burnt rubber and cough drops? You might be talking to my business calc professor. We can leave that one at that. Touch is also pretty easy. Your tactile sense is reactive…you feel this, you do that. Not much can be misconstrued about a stove being hot or about the pleasantness of a kiss on the lips. Next up is taste, again its pretty black and white. At 21 I know what to put in my mouth and what will trigger the gag reflex leading me to see my breakfast once again. Now we come up to sight, the first sense that I think comes with problems. Observation is one of the best ways people learn about the world, as we can draw conclusions from the things we see happening in front of us. However, science teaches us that there are a plethora of circumstances and phenomenons that can lead our brain to misread what our eyes are telling us. Plus there is that whole thing about our eyes seeing the world upside down before the brain flips it which is enough to give me a bode of doubt…either way I’m sure we can all agree that “what we see is what we get.”
That leaves us with what I am referring to as Sense #1 and that is our sense, or in this case, missense (not a word) of hearing. We’ve all heard expressions like selective hearing or mishearing something…unlike the previous 4 senses, sound is subjective. With the other senses an opinion is normally void in the circumstance but with sound, people are left to their own devices to unravel and interpret what it is they just heard…clearly problems arise.
I just got out of an hour long car ride with my Uncle Steven. Now I am sure he is going to read this, again as my fan base doesn’t really spread beyond my nuclear family, so I am going to take it easy on him. Growing up, conversations with Uncle Steven always seemed to be 20 minutes longer than they had to be. He would exaggerate his answers and comments and seemed to be half there when speaking to him since his replies always appeared to go through upper management before he could speak. Well I’ve been going through the turmoil any 20-something year old is faced with lately and was venting to him about my woes and cries of growing up. Every time I said something, Uncle Steven would sit there for what seemed like an eternity, sending his response to upper management before delivering his opinion on the matter. Now I am not going to touch on what he had to say, that is not my point. Instead it was what he didn’t say…or that inter-sentence pause that young Mikey used to be so displeased with. Well today I had an epiphany of sorts…that pause…that sentence break that used to make me ream in anger wasn’t early onset Alzheimers or him being distracted by breaking news in the Star Trek fan club…nope turns out Uncle Steven was just listening to me.
So the pause he was taking was him digesting..no not using his sense of taste but rather actually using listening for what it is meant to be used for. In todays world, information is constant, heck, its nonstop and incessant – tick tick tick tick tick in in in in in now now now now- and its exhausting. Well my weathered Uncle who has had his fair share of experiences was listening to me better than I think I ever had been listened to before. In order to properly listen, you need to take the time to actually hear what the world or person is trying to tell you and honestly, there is not a single person on this planet that can do that instantaneously. It’s like when you’re training for an interview, the first piece of advise you get is to stop and pause before you answer. Let that shit marinate…salt, pepper, maybe a bit of soy…to each his own. But without time comes impulse and with impulse comes mistakes and with mistakes comes unplanned children (sorry too much).
Heres the take away and what Confucious has to say. Sense #1 is our most important sense because of the opinions we innately attach to sound. A news story on mute is simply a plane crash. Burnt metal in the air means my mom is cooking dinner. Sour cheese down your throat means that milk should’ve been tossed last week. Sound however, is up to your interpretation. A wise man whom I truly admire (shoutout Rich Mitch) once told me and my friends that the most valuable gift you can give someone is your attention. A funny thing I thought at first but after the way my Uncle made me feel today, the sensation of knowing you are truly being HEARD, welp I think now I can really understand what he meant by that.
Fuckin ears, man!