How many senses can human beings possess? I’m up to nine point five (and counting).

It is generally agreed that there are five human senses: sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. This number is grossly inadequate to explain the sensorium,  but remains generally accepted because…generally…people are credulous sheep.

About three years ago I described personally witnessing a feat that can’t be adequately explained by the five accepted senses.

What I saw, dowsing, is likely a form of electromagnetic field detection. This is quite developed and extensively documented in numerous non-human creatures. Most homo sapiens have woefully underdeveloped “EM antennae”. But some, like the worker I witnessed or our very own commenter Billy, can do startling things.

So, what of other senses? The sense of balance, or equilibrioception is obviously just as real as any of the Big Five.  That plus “dowsing” (whatever dowsing actually is) brings our total to seven.

These seven are all “real time” perceptions. That is, they sense the environment and communicate their stimuli to the mind (whatever that is) as instantaneously as physics and biology allow.

To these seven (and counting) I would add three more. Don’t you have a definite sense of the past, the thing we call memory? It’s imperfect, sometimes even misleading…but that is true of the other senses.

And if there is a sense of the past, then what of the future? This is the murky one, with which I need help. Until this very minute I called it imagination, but imagination is obviously too broad a description.  Anticipation?  Whatever it is, it seems much stronger in humans than in any other creature.

If you reject this one, it’s perfectly understandable.  You might even say I anticipated that response…which is why it’s rated as “point five” of a sense, rather than an entire one.

However, there is no such doubt about the last sense. It not only exists beyond any doubt, it is ubiquitous among us. You probably can’t dowse water to save your life, you can be blind or deaf, you might even have total amnesia.  But if you lack this final sense, you are not a human being.

It is the sense of right and wrong. The word for it is conscience.

(If you have any ideas about further human perceptions, please share.  That would be sensational.)

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About wormme

I've accepted that all of you are socially superior to me. But no pretending that any of you are rational.
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8 Responses to How many senses can human beings possess? I’m up to nine point five (and counting).

  1. Edohiguma says:

    I have an extra sense, too.

    I can detect BS from 3 miles away.

  2. Blake says:

    I believe everything I hear, because it makes life much more interesting. (points for the person who figures out the reference)

  3. Billy says:

    Sorry for the delay on posting on this. Hope it’s still relevant.

    My dowsing, aka Water Witching, skill uses an instrument, so I can’t really say it’s a sense. I prefer a forked branch capable of bending, peach limbs I hear are best. I just walk around and it’s the branch that bends so much I can barely hold on as I approach water (or something different). Others use metal rods. Not sure if there are any cases where humans do it “on their own”.

    I will argue your sense of the future may be related to “the sixth sense” or “gut feeling”, although this tends to be for immediate concerns and decisions, not long-term. So maybe different.

    Finally, a sense of direction. One could argue it’s sight combined with intelligence/desire to know what direction is North, or “that way is home”, but again, some naturally and with a high degree of accuracy, know the direction from inside a cave, large building, wilderness, where others have no clue at all.

    ps. Missed you in St Croix. Maybe next year.

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