Plagued by idea of a singular perception, we go looking for facts, for solutions, for any possible way to limit the complexity of our observations. Why?
Making sense of our world is a process that we are already good at. We are built to be the best possible researchers. We cross reference, deep in the substrata, the overlapping interlinking aspects of our kaleidoscope of experiences. It is a rapid poetry, a collage of mixed imprints, a tally of multi faceted emotional, intellectual, sensory calculous. Blake said, “A tear is an intellectual thing.” Because– it is impossible to have a singular experience of something, anything. We are made to be conductors of multiple perception and meaning making processes in relation to all that is around us, now, in the past in the future. There is never one feeling, never one reason, never one expression, never is there a monochrome impulse.
If we watch a baby taste a lemon, we can empathetically share that sourness, and somewhere inside there is a particular yellow– a conglomeration of lemony aspects inform our whole bodies and communication processes of the pucker of lips. Summer cocktails, Vitamin C.
Read the word “door”, and hear it creak, angry slam, welcome home, remember the weight of keys, transition, thresholds crossing. taste home, smell paint.
Receive the crunch of a dried leaf under your shoe: crisp edges of the yard, hear the cooling dirt, bowl of nuts on the coffee table, warm orange tones, moist asphalt textured into the red filigree of the leaves. School lunch box with plastic coated sandwich.
A voice that creates warmth in muscles, cinnamon, and candlelight, safe ok-ness.
And another voice that draws up shields. Metallic, cellular unworthiness moves in. The room is cold.
The word syntesthesia sounds like a disease. Like something you might catch.
Scriabin had it and famously “saw” the colors of the music he composed. Others see colors around the qualitative charactisitcs of numbers. Wavelengths correspond to both color and sound, to intellect and emotion. Mourning the 4’s. Slicing through 17.
One thing is not one thing. We are not one experience. We are poetry. We mix metaphors and stretch memories. Our sensibilities are in conversation. No stopping that. But, to give them this ecological process. To interact, sense with sense, intellect with experience, into a non-rational, pool of impressionistic meaning making, is not exactly part of the scientific method.
Yet. Multiple description does not define, it portraits a context.
There is so much information in the ecology of our perceptions. To extract facts and to glom on to them subsequent singular meanings is a messy mess. Look around. As science finds itself toe to toe with the monster it has created, the notion of fact seems only to bring increasing ire. There are plenty of research results for anything at all. What is real?
The hard work, that is luscious and rich with the harmonies and disharmonies of contextual evolution. This is the place. The watering hole where science meets art. Where there integrity at the level of the aesthetic the taste, the smell the texture the tone… is what matters.
Science needs more scenes, more emotions. More contexts. More descriptions. Less loneliness. (See our new research beginnings http://www.internationalbatesoninstitute.org). As we look ahead now, into how we might better come to understand and interact with the ecologies we live within our ability to enrich our ecological thinking requires that we see more smells, taste more textures, cry more thoughts.