Think for a moment how you spend your waking hours. Chances are that a great deal of your human experience involves interacting with some type of digital data device such as a computer screen, a cell phone (or “smart” phone), a car stereo, or a television set. A large part of this data is generated through highly sanitized “one way” communications. And most of these “interactions” take place in highly controlled, predictable, and artificial settings.
What do you think this does to your ability to read and react to changes in your external environment?
Most of the sensory information we receive and process throughout the day is visual. And most of the settings are passive and non-physical. Because our lives are often structured around such predictable routines as “getting ready” in the morning, commuting to work, working on projects at the office, and “going out” after work, we rarely get a chance to hone our non-visual senses to the level developed by our paleolithic ancestors.
Here is a list of the types of sensory data we’re receiving on a constant basis:
* Visual – sight, recognition, light intensity
* Auditory – hearing, pitch, sound intensity
* Tactile – touch, temperature, pressure, pain, pleasure
* Olfactory – smell, odor recognition
* Gustatory – taste, flavor intensity
* Vestibular – movement, balance
* Proprioception – positioning, posture, spatial awareness
The key takeaway here is to recognize that you are WAY too reliant on visual sensory data, and that most of this data is artificial. This isn’t your fault – it’s just how our society is structured at this point in history. So start paying attention to the other sources of sensory data in your life. It’s literally all around you, and you need to work on sharpening your ability to sense and perceive it better.
Remember, nature provided you with a variety of sensory instruments to enable you to thrive in a highly dynamic environment. Don’t let any of them fall into neglect.