Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Have you ever wished you had superpowers? How would it feel to have superhuman strength, invisibility, telekinesis, or the ability to fly? We see portrayals of superheroes such as Superman and Spiderman, and might think how amazing it would be to leap tall buildings in a single bound, or travel around the city on a string of webs. I've often daydreamed about flying and soaring through the air from place to place. However, the truth is that most of us already have superpowers; we just take them for granted.

Unless handicapped or disadvantaged, most people have the superpowers of sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. We go about our day using our five senses interchangeably and almost always all at the same time. We've all gotten used to using our senses and don't usually give them a second thought unless we sustain injury. However, when one takes the time to truly appreciate these powers, he/she realizes that the ability our senses give us to interact with the environment is truly astounding.

The power of sight gives us the ability to visually place ourselves in the world. It allows us to take in the magnificence of life in its many forms. This can range from flowers, trees, and sunsets to architecture, art, and the shape of the human body. The spectrum is really endless because there is so much beauty in all that we see. It is such a gift to be able to experience what is shown all around us through sight.  By taking the time to appreciate this invaluable form of perception, we discover how vision adds even more than three dimensions to our lives.

The power of sound works hand in hand with sight. Their relationship is very synergistic because much of what we see can create sound waves. What's very interesting is that sound is always created by vibration and movement through a cause and effect reaction. In one respect, our ears are built-in didactic instruments that assist us in learning about consequence. However, simultaneously, our ears also give us the ability to add more substance to our reality, and deepen the connection to our surroundings. There is so much beauty in sound, and the prime example is listening to music. I couldn't imagine a day without it.

The power of touch allows us to engage what we see in a different way. Through touch we gain a visceral sense of feeling. There are so many different types of surfaces and textures that enhance our many experiences. Are these feelings more or less real than the wide array of emotions possessed by humans? They're both real, just in different ways. Externally, through touch we can feel various ranges of pain and pleasure. This provides us with tangible connections to everything around us, and adds another layer to all that we experience. Internally, our emotions are more complex, but similarly slide along a wide spectrum of feelings that also generate both pain and pleasure. All of these reactions help us interact with the environment and ourselves in special ways. What would it be like not to feel anything?

The powers of taste and smell provide us with another two abilities that enhance our perceptions. Every bite of our favorite food gives us pleasure and comfort. So many different types of fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, breads, and sweets can give us a distinct eating experience that will not necessarily be the same each time. Similarly, almost everything we encounter has a smell, and whether pleasant or revolting it delivers yet another level of experience. It has also been said that smell is the strongest sense associated with memory. We've all had a time where we smell something so familiar, that even if we cannot pin point what exactly it is, there is still such a strong memory that surfaces to the forefront of our mind.

All of the five senses can transform external feelings inward and create an emotional response. When someone sees an old friend after many years apart, he/she would most likely feel ecstatic and nostalgic of old times. When listening to music we can appreciate complex instrumental and vocal arrangements. However, there are often secondary reactions where we not only hear the sounds, but also create in our own very unique way a set of emotional feelings and connections in relation to the music. When we hug and kiss the ones we love, the affection does not just feel good to the touch, but it also brings warmth within our hearts. And the smell and taste of a slice of pizza from where you grew up can transport you to another time and place, and bring with it a rush of emotions not felt in years. These are not just ephemeral external sensors used for the sole purpose of helping us navigate space. Instead, these powers are in fact super because they act as a gateway to even more profound feelings and experiences that enrich our lives.


  1. Hey JB, what a great post. As you so lucidly point out our senses indeed are our super powers. I wonder, if we were to pay more attention to our sense, be more present with them, would they open up even more? Are we missing out in developing these supper powers? Perhaps we are really in our infancy with what they are and how to use them. So too our minds. If so, then we are not finished evolving and have so much more potential. What do you think?

  2. Thanks for the comment Terry. I agree with you and think that if we become more present with our senses they have the capacity to open up even more.
    It is intriguing to consider the possibility of our senses evolving and expanding to a whole new level. These are very exciting thoughts, thank you for sharing!!