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Senses

  • Smell is a fallen angel.

  • I found that of the senses, the eye is the most superficial, the ear the most arrogant, smell the most voluptuous, taste the most superstitious and fickle, touch the most profound and the most philosophical.

  • Ours is a culture based on excess, on overproduction; the result is a steady loss of sharpness in our sensory experience. All the conditions of modern life — its material plenitude, its sheer crowdedness — conjoin to dull our sensory faculties.

    • Susan Sontag,
    • title essay (1964), Against Interpretation ()
  • For all of my patients sensuality is a giving in to 'the low side of their nature.' Puritanism is powerful and distorts their life with a total anesthesia of the senses. If you atrophy one sense, you also atrophy all the others, a sensuous and physical connection with nature, with art, with food, with other human beings.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1935, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 2 ()
  • We live on the leash of our senses.

  • Smell is the mute sense, the one without words.

  • There is no way in which to understand the world without first detecting it through the radar-net of our senses.

  • Moral qualities rule the world, but at short distances the senses are despotic.

  • ... the delight in natural things — colors, forms, scents — when there was nothing to restrain or hamper it, has often been a kind of intoxication, in which thought and consciousness seemed suspended ...

  • It is immediately apparent, however, that this sense-world, this seemingly real external universe — though it may be useful and valid in other respects — cannot be the external world, but only the Self's projected picture of it ... The evidence of the senses, then, cannot be accepted as evidence of the nature of ultimate reality; useful servants, they are dangerous guides.

  • ... though the mind may err, the senses are always true ...

  • Sight is a slick and overbearing autocrat, trumpeting its prodigal knowledge and perceptions so forcefully that it drowns out the other, subtler senses.

  • All life is a delusion of the senses.