“Every one of the five senses can be twisted to deliver a completely different picture of the world. If by picture we mean the sight, sound, smell, taste, and texture of things, a troubling conclusion looms. Apart from the very unreliable picture running inside the brain, we have no proof that reality is anything like what we see.”

~Deepak Chopra

We all are aware of the Big 5 Senses right?

Sight, Taste, Smell, Touch, and Sound.

Is there a 6th Sense?

I know what you’re thinking.

There’s the Bruce Willis movie…


No, not that 6th Sense.

Apparently the 6th sense came about very quietly. Apparently nobody noticed.

Recently I came across an article titled The Five (and More) Senses in Live Science written by Alina Bradford. She writes:

The sense of space

In addition to the traditional big five, there is another sense that deals with how your brain understands where your body is in space. This sense is called proprioception.

Proprioception includes the sense of movement and position of our limbs and muscles. For example, proprioception enables a person to touch their finger to the tip of their nose, even with their eyes closed. It enables a person to climb steps without looking at each one. People with poor proprioception may be clumsy and uncoordinated.

Ok so if the 6th sense is not the Bruce Willis movie but rather is Proprioception

What about a 7th Sense?

Let’s take a closer look at the Big 5 first.

1. Sight

“blue eye photo” by Daniil Kuželev on Unsplash

When I was in 7th grade, our photography class teacher Mr. Newman was talking about how some people are colorblind. Of course, my mind immediately dove into deep thinking mode about what that could mean. I raised my hand and asked if that means that we all see colors differently?

Geoff (at age 14): Is the color red that I see someone else’s green? Is my yellow your Orange? Is this even possible? Do we see colors differently?

The class fell silent.

Mr. Newman: Gosh what a profound and interesting question.

More silence.

We left it at that.

2 and 3. Taste and Smell

“four person earring on black wooden table” by Dan Gold on Unsplash

I’m looping these two together because they seem to often go hand in hand.

I sure don’t like the taste of shrimp. But some people love shrimp. I happen to love the taste of oatmeal. Many people can’t stand it. They think it’s bland. If we were to sit down and debate why I should like shrimp and the other person should like oatmeal, we’d look ridiculous. We just go ahead and accept that some people like the taste of oatmeal and shrimp, some like one but not the other, and some like neither. We have a general acceptance policy (so it seems) that some people’s sense of taste and smell can vary from person to person.

I wonder if we were as accepting of this in our more primitive days?

Curiouser and curiouser….

4. Touch

“person showing right palm” by Keenan Constance on Unsplash

I have a genuine fear of cotton balls and silk. If I touch cotton balls and silk it gives me the feeling many people hear when nails scratch across a chalkboard. Don’t ask me why I can’t touch these materials, but it freaks me out to even come close. Where does this come from? Hard to say. But just like taste and smell, some things can be more pleasant than others for certain people to touch.

5. Sound

“group of people watching concert” by Rachel Lynette French on Unsplash

People like different types of music. There’s certain people that are more tolerant of certain sounds (like nails on a chalkboard) than others. Some of us like loud concerts and some of us don’t. It seems as if there’s a wide amount of sounds we disagree on.

So that leaves this new color to the sensory rainbow that for whatever reason is right there yet we can’t all seem to see it. It seems to be the “rebel sense”. It doesn’t want us to see it. It’s the angry / upset youngest sibling of the sensory family that runs amuck amongst it’s for the most part well behaved siblings.

What if The 7th Sense is…


Definition: The state of being or process of becoming aware of something through the senses.

Source: Google Dictionary

Through the senses?

Or could it be… a sense of it’s own?

In the attached photo we see very different views on a situation. One man sees a boat and he’d do anything for that boat. The other sees land and he’d do anything for that land. However, due to a variety of circumstances they are seeing the current situation from very different angles.

Hypothesis: The way in which we perceive the world seems to widely vary from person to person. Could this be a sense? A sense we are not quite in tune with yet?

The interesting thing about this is the world of the 7th sense seems to reside mostly in politics right now. Perception is how we PERCEIVE things. Who’s to say we can’t perceive things differently from person to person?

If person X, a President Donald Trump supporter walks down the street and says:

“I like Trump. I like all he does. I like his policies and he’s doing things for the greater good. Do you not see it?”

Meanwhile, Person Y, a Non-Trump Supporter walks down the street and says:

“Are you out of your mind? Trump is a nutcase, idiot, disgraceful, fool! How do you not see it?!”

First of all both sides should understand it’s not a matter of seeing. They are both referring to the “Sight” sense. It would be the same as the person who loves shrimp asking the person who hates it:

“How do you not see it?! It’s so good!”

That would be kind of silly wouldn’t it?

Of course the person who doesn’t like the shrimp can see the Shrimp. Just like they can see Trump. But one (perhaps more) of their senses tells them “yuck”.

Maybe they did that in our more primitive days but now we recognize that people have different tastes.

What if our senses are large parts of the evolutionary growth  road?

Imagine us yelling at each other about why one person doesn’t like the taste of shrimp and one does. We would seem ridiculous.

This brings in a larger world perspective. If we’ve evolved this far, are our differences in perspective merely setting the table for an even higher stage of evolution further down the road?

If one person loves the taste of lima beans and one person hates it, isn’t it completely possible that one person could love a political candidate and the other hate them simply because it’s a sensory decision based on what makes the person who they are? Could it be a decision based on how the person’s brain interprets the world they are living in?

Let’s look at another example:

In the above photo everyone has a different view of the greater whole. They are all seeing the elephant from a different angle. They have a different perspective and therefore perceive what it is from a different angle. Is this in illustration of that illusive 7th Sense?

Author Scott Adams discusses what he calls Two Movies On One Screen. This is the belief that in our reality we all are watching the same movie however our perception of it is differently.

He writes:

I have been saying since Trump’s election that the world has split into two realities — or as I prefer to say, two movies on one screen — and most of us don’t realize it. We’re all looking at the same events and interpreting them wildly differently. That’s how cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias work. They work together to create a spontaneous hallucination that gets reinforced over time. That hallucination becomes your reality until something changes.

This phenomenon has nothing to do with natural intelligence. We like to think that the people on the other side of the political debate are dumb, under-informed, or just plain evil. That’s not the case. We’re actually experiencing different realities. I mean that literally.

We perceive what is happening differently however we choose to fight about it. Perhaps with more of an understanding and empathy for each other we can all come to realize that perception varies within people. It is different depending on how you perceive the world.

And what if this extends way beyond politics? What if politics is just the leaping off point? Could we be perceiving everything differently from person to person? Was I right to raise my hand and ask if we see different colors differently? Is this a nod towards a wider view? A higher…perspective?

Could my perception of a political candidate from my friend’s perception of him / her be no different than my friend loving the taste of shrimp and me despising it?

The 7th Sense may very well have arrived.

Food for thought.

I’m off to finish my oatmeal.

See you soon.

By Geoff Pilkington

You can connect with me at: www.geoffreypilkington.com

Originally published at medium.com