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Discussion of the senses

How do we "see"; are our senses ultimately reliable or are they accidentally constructed that way?

Neil de Grasse Tyson - American astrophysicist, scientist and author - shows through hypothetical examples how we would perceive the world if our senses worked a little or a lot differently!

If, for example, our eyes "saw" not in the spectrum of visible radiation, but in the space of radio waves, we would see - at noon - a dark sky with some bright spots representing some celestial bodies depending on the frequency to which we "turned" our receiver (i.e. our eyes).

With proper tuning we would see very clearly the center of our galaxy, behind the constellation of Sagittarius, much less our sun!

If our eyes were "seeing" in microwave space we would see a "wall of light" traveling through space like a remnant of the Big Bang.

If we could see in the X-ray spectrum, we could spot some black holes with the "naked eye", while if we could see in the G-ray spectrum we would see many universal explosions every day, just by looking up to the sky.

How different the universe would look then!!!!

If we had some sense through which to perceive magnetism we would not need to invent the magnetic compass! Maybe we would just turn our heads until we were aligned with the direction of the Earth's magnetic lines! Or even if our eyes worked like spectrum analyzers, we would simply look at a planet's atmosphere to "see" the chemical composition of its gases.

And if all this seems hypothetical, consider that some animals living in the same world as us perceive it completely differently as they see and hear at different wavelengths (e.g. the bat or the dolphin, but also our closest ones, the cat and the dog.

As Tyson also notes, this search is not a recent thing. It has occupied humans for thousands of years.

We find results and questions of this search in the texts and teachings of ancient cultures.

As the German physicist and founder of quantum mechanics Max Planck stated: 'Modern physics impresses us especially with its relationship to ancient teachings, which teach that there are realities beyond the perception of our senses'.

This would justify the claim of many people that they have a sixth sense, with which they can perceive things and situations that the average person cannot perceive. They have an expanded perception of reality.


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