Challenging the traditional notion about the five senses from the frontiers of brain science
I am reading this book on neuroplasticity: “The Brain That Changes Itself” by Norman Doidge. It challenges all the wrong assumptions we have about our brain.
Here are some ideas that are still prevalent in our society. Even some educated people believe the following false ideas:
- The human brain stops growing in the mid-twenties. Then we reach the cerebral saturation. It’s wrong!
- Mental health is incurable after a certain age, say in the seventies. Again, wrong!
- A human brain is a machine. It is plain nonsense to say you can be a productive beast all-day!
I aim to bust many myths about the human brain in future blogs as I read this book. For today, I will cover the topic of the sixth sense organ.
The idea about the five senses
The idea which I had since I adopted science as my religion — we have five sense organs: hear, touch, taste, smell and vision.
It took me a long time to recite these. After this, I felt kind of cool to show off at my home that I know about how we receive information from the environment — a little too much knowledge for a 10-year-young me.
The sixth sense
Now comes the new idea. Some people might even object the concept of the sixth sense because you think I am challenging your scientific knowledge of, say, 20 years?
But hear me out and read this excerpt to feed your curiosity. In the book I mentioned in the starting, Doidge puts it this way:
“We have senses we don’t know we have — until we lose them: BALANCE is one that normally works so well, so seamlessly, that it is not listed among the five that Aristotle described and was overlooked for the centuries afterward.”
How does the balance system work?
I read more to learn its working. From the book:
“The balance system gives us our sense of orientation in space. Its sense organ, the vestibular apparatus, consists of three semicircular canals in the inner ear that tell us when we are upright and how gravity is affecting our bodies by detecting motion in three-dimensional space.”
A real-life example of the balance system at work: remember when you’re spinning ( like Shaktiman ) and when you stop abruptly you feel dizziness? It will happen right now also. Try reading this piece after zooming in Shaktiman mode.
You feel like you can’t stand straight for a moment. You take some time to balance on your feet. That’s how the balance system is helping you stay put.
It is because you when you were in motion, you set the fluid in the semicircular canals in action too. When you halt abruptly, the fluid is still moving, and until it gets settled, you will feel the dizziness.
Your head might spin. You might’ve needed wall support if you seriously tried the Shaktiman signature move I mentioned earlier. Did I get you to do that? Hahaha.
Balance is not the sense we thought mattered so much when growing up. But we were unknowingly practising in improving it. Either you consider from the neuroscience perspective, or otherwise, balance is vital in other parts of life too.
It is dynamic, subjective and different person practice them up to a different extent. But the message I am leaving with today’s article is: our ears work as two sense organs, one for hearing and one for balance. And also, hearing loss is a common illness you face in the old age. Take care of that master organ to improve your hearing and your balance!
This blog belongs to a series of posts I am publishing on a daily streak. Target-1 was 21 days. Target-2 was 100. Target-3 is day 150. Today is day 111. Here is the first blog that started the streak.
Thank You for reading! See you tomorrow!
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