Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
BN Editor
Bill_T
Posts: 366
Registered: ‎03-20-2007
0 Kudos

Discussion Topic: Sixth Sense

If someone offered you an additional sense – say, the ability to see into the future or the power to read others’ minds – would you take it?
Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Discussion Topic: Sixth Sense


Bill_T wrote:
If someone offered you an additional sense – say, the ability to see into the future or the power to read others’ minds – would you take it?


I have had some ESP since I can remember, its always been there. I sometimes get glimpses of things that are going to happen but most times, I dont know what I am suppose to do with them. I know sometimes when people die. And NO one will play cards with me anymore lol, they say I am cheating and I say no I am not, I am just using all my senses. They say, but we cant do that so you have to stop. I have said but thats like if i told you ok you cant use your arm anymore, its just a part of me.

I was in the hospital for a panic disorder years ago and I was picking up some thoughts of people there and that was scary. The doctors brought in another doctor to talk to me about it and told me, if its any consolation, people who can do what you do very often wind up with some form of anxiety and seek help. They wanted me to go through a program they had to measure it all and help train me with it but I said no, I said I have learned how to shut it off when it comes, thats enough, I dont want to know more. Its not that its so uncomfortable for me, like I said, its always been there, my doctors would get very frustrated when I would address things they were writing down about me that I would just see in my head and they didnt want me to know lol. And sometimes I would have to be very careful to watch that people were actually talking out loud before I answer something, cause I have done that a lot too, answered something they were only thinking and they call me on it and said I DIDNT say that yet! So I learned ways around people noticing things because altho I may be use to it and all the ways it manifests itself, others sometimes are quite disturbed by it, or even worse they want me to tell them stuff about their future like I am a fortune teller or something and thats not how it works! Or they want me to always know what they are feeling without telling me and get upset when I dont "know" what is wrong and thats hard.

So most of my anxiety about this anyway, comes from others reactions to it, to me. I dont say a lot of things I know anymore, especially if its something I cant do anything about anyway and I dont tell new friends and I shut it down if things start to come to me. Once a friend asked me out of concern, she said, but what if someone is mad at you over something, not something thats going to last more than a day or something and nothing they would say but that happens to be the time you hear and feel it, would you think they feel that way all the time about you when they dont mean it or feel it that way? She was worried about a little fight we had days before. I hadnt picked up anything but she worried about what she was thinking, must have been a doosy at the time LOL. Anyway I told her, no I hear it and feel it just as you do at the time, so I know its just transitory and I let it go, I have learned over the course of my life about that part, what is something that is bothering someone that needs to be talked about and what is just flat being upset in the heat of the moment and I let those things go. She said but doesnt it make you mad if you hear stuff like that? I said not really, I dont know any different, this is me, always was and I dont decide what I will hear or know, it just comes to me.

The docs wanted to fine tune that, I did not. I dont want to know more. In actuality, balancing this with peoples reactions to it that are affected by it is enough and I dont want to see some of the things I do now. Deaths are no fun. I dont know why I can see this, seems to have no purpose to me but in one way now that I am older. When the person does die, or just did, I am prepared when I see the closest person to them, my friends. I think even tho I dont tell them I knew (mostly anyway) I think I am more prepared to help them through it without my own shock in the way because I already know by the time I hear it from them. I dunno, its weird to most I guess and most people say oh sure lol, till I do something that proves it to them. Sometimes now when I meet new people and become close to them, I have learned to block anything about them, maybe subconsciously, so we have to talk,nothing is assumed and it doesnt get in the way of how "everyone else" communicates. And there are some people who I never get anything on at all and once in awhile I wished with them i could LOL.

There are things to deal with always with what I do have and even tho I have been this way since childhood, because of others reactions or sometimes how it makes me feel, no, i dont think I would want anymore. I could understand a blind person who is happy, having to really think about taking a chance to get their sight back.

Sorry for the long post, havent talked about this in awhile, so you got it, and this is the short version so it may not make sense LOL!
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Inspired Correspondent
Librarian
Posts: 483
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Discussion Topic: Sixth Sense



Bill_T wrote:
If someone offered you an additional sense – say, the ability to see into the future or the power to read others’ minds – would you take it?



I don't think I would want to take it. I think it would complicate and burden the living of "now". Reading Vivico's story is also very enlightening as to what these abilities can cause for us.I sometimes think--- wouldn't it be great to be able to heal people? But would there be limits on that so that you would only be able to heal some people? Would it deplete you from being any use to yourself and others in daily life?
Librarian
Author
RobertKurson
Posts: 34
Registered: ‎07-03-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Discussion Topic: Sixth Sense

As the discussion so interestingly points out already, having an additional sense might not be the automatic miracle some might suppose.

This point was raised in one of the first discussions I had with Mike May. He told me - and rather matter-of-factly, i must say - that for nearly a year he'd refused a doctor's offer of new vision. I told him that sounded impossible - how could anyone say no to vision? And that's when he posited the scenario that Bill did to start this thread. He said, "Say you were having a full and rich and busy life - running a business and working on a good marriage and raising two fantastic young kids, coaching soccer and traveling and skiing and listening to good music, enjoying new restaurants whenever possible. And then a stranger knocked at your door and offered you an additional sense - maybe sonar or the ability to read people's minds. Would you be so fast to take it? Especially if you had no idea how it might impact that full and rich and happy life?"

In the course of a minute, this began to change how I thought about the offer of new vision to a person blind nearly for life - and how I thought about Mike May.


Learn more about Crashing Through.
BN Editor
Bill_T
Posts: 366
Registered: ‎03-20-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Discussion Topic: Sixth Sense

OK, just to play devil's advocate for a minute (I'm with the rest of you -- ESP would sound tempting until it became a real possibility, and then the downsides begin to loom rather ominously)...the decision becomes more complicated and compelling when the rest of the world uses this sense every day -- and indeed organizes their world around it.

To take "sonar" for example...I remember reading a classic science fiction "space opera" (very old, one of the E.E. Smith Lensman books from the 1920s or so...) in which there is an alien character who cannot see but has a different sense -- an ability to sense objects in space, and their shapes, all around him (above, below, in all directions)...and this sense wasn't bounded by materials that block light. So while driving a car in one scene, he senses all the cars on the highway, the texture of the ground below him, and planes all flying above his head.

There's no attempt at an explanation for this sense in science -- it's clearly a physical impossibility -- but that's not really my point. What made it compelling in the story is that the creature comes from a society where everyone has this sense, and his relationships with the human characters contain a note of pity and bafflement that they can't have what he thinks of as a normal physical life, but have such a limited and low-power means of sensing and exploring the world.

That's one of the hard-to-factor in things about our senses: until we've experienced the world without them, they seem an absolute baseline of what it means to be ourselves.




RobertKurson wrote:
As the discussion so interestingly points out already, having an additional sense might not be the automatic miracle some might suppose.

This point was raised in one of the first discussions I had with Mike May. He told me - and rather matter-of-factly, i must say - that for nearly a year he'd refused a doctor's offer of new vision. I told him that sounded impossible - how could anyone say no to vision? And that's when he posited the scenario that Bill did to start this thread. He said, "Say you were having a full and rich and busy life - running a business and working on a good marriage and raising two fantastic young kids, coaching soccer and traveling and skiing and listening to good music, enjoying new restaurants whenever possible. And then a stranger knocked at your door and offered you an additional sense - maybe sonar or the ability to read people's minds. Would you be so fast to take it? Especially if you had no idea how it might impact that full and rich and happy life?"

In the course of a minute, this began to change how I thought about the offer of new vision to a person blind nearly for life - and how I thought about Mike May.


Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Discussion Topic: Sixth Sense

[ Edited ]
Bill_T wrote:
That's one of the hard-to-factor in things about our senses: until we've experienced the world without them, they seem an absolute baseline of what it means to be ourselves.


Bill, but if i am reading you right, isnt the opposite true too? Even in a world were a particular sense is the norm, if you have never experienced it, then isnt your baseline of what it means to be you,the you made up of your experiences without it? Isn't that Mike's real delimna (sp), that he doesn't know the world as other's do but he knows the world as he does and he is happy and successful without his sight. So should he risk any damage to any of those things that define him now, to try to see how the world defines things? Such a hard decision when one is happy already.
I think those who were not as happy with their lives as Mike might jump at it first but you know, after reading this story, I think they are the ones who would do the worst with the trials of it. I think that Mike can challenge himself, is a happy guy by nature is his saving grace in this whole thing. Maybe the ones who would want it the most (unhappy and feeling need) are the ones who handle it the worst and those like Mike who are happy with just the senses they have and have his attitude about life in general, are the ones who do the best. That may be a bit of track from the question but I think they go hand in hand.

p.s. how about a few more question threads to chew on Bill :smileywink:
Message edited by admin for formatting only

Message Edited by Kevin on 01-09-2008 10:01 AM
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Author
RobertKurson
Posts: 34
Registered: ‎07-03-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Discussion Topic: Sixth Sense

Bill_T wrote:
That's one of the hard-to-factor in things about our senses: until we've experienced the world without them, they seem an absolute baseline of what it means to be ourselves.

Boy, Bill, this is so beautifully stated, and I think so very true. And it was absolutely true for Mike as a blind person. When he told me he'd never yearned a day for vision, I think this is exactly what he meant - that his own baseline experience felt precisely like what it meant to be himself.


Learn more about Crashing Through.
BN Editor
Bill_T
Posts: 366
Registered: ‎03-20-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Discussion Topic: Sixth Sense -- Spoiler Warning!

[ Edited ]
(A bit of a spoiler implicit below...)

That's right, Vivian -- I wasn't thinking about the "opposite" (maybe converse is the right word?) case, but I don't see it as a contradiction. All I meant was that it's difficult to evaluate in an objective way what a different set of senses (more, fewer, enhanced, what have you) would mean to me -- because the "me" in question is a person heavily defined by my current sensory apparatus. And so if my norm were blindness instead of sighted, I think I'd face the same issues if I were facing a potential change.

So, this leads to the big question, right -- how much do our senses shape who we are? I've always assumed the answer was "very much" (that is to say, I'd be a radically different person were I deaf, for example). But Mike May's experience really challenges me there: it's the very strength of his core being that carries him through the experience of regaining his vision. So it seems the other way around there.




vivico1 wrote:
Bill_T wrote:
That's one of the hard-to-factor in things about our senses: until we've experienced the world without them, they seem an absolute baseline of what it means to be ourselves.


Bill, but if i am reading you right, isnt the opposite true too? Even in a world were a particular sense is the norm, if you have never experienced it, then isnt your baseline of what it means to be you,the you made up of your experiences without it? Isn't that Mike's real delimna (sp), that he doesn't know the world as other's do but he knows the world as he does and he is happy and successful without his sight. So should he risk any damage to any of those things that define him now, to try to see how the world defines things? Such a hard decision when one is happy already.
I think those who were not as happy with their lives as Mike might jump at it first but you know, after reading this story, I think they are the ones who would do the worst with the trials of it. I think that Mike can challenge himself, is a happy guy by nature is his saving grace in this whole thing. Maybe the ones who would want it the most (unhappy and feeling need) are the ones who handle it the worst and those like Mike who are happy with just the senses they have and have his attitude about life in general, are the ones who do the best. That may be a bit of track from the question but I think they go hand in hand.

p.s. how about a few more question threads to chew on Bill :smileywink:


Message edited by admin for formatting only.

Message Edited by Kevin on 01-09-2008 10:00 AM
Inspired Correspondent
Librarian
Posts: 483
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Discussion Topic: Sixth Sense

[ Edited ]
Bill_T wrote:
That's one of the hard-to-factor in things about our senses: until we've experienced the world without them, they seem an absolute baseline of what it means to be ourselves.

If we think about "an absolute baseline of what it means to be ourselves", there are probably many smaller less serious changes one makes in life that affect our "me-ness". For example-----someone who always was a brunette , living as a blond and seeing if people who did not know her previously as a brunette treat her differently from her brunette experiences. And is it because her sense of self is different as a blond and she acts differently in subtle ways. Moving to a new locale-----does ones new house become the "new me" of that person? Changing professions----how much of your me=ness is your job? Of course, changes with our senses and body functions are far more serious than these examples.
But thank you, Robert and other participants. This book and discussion has really got me thinking in different ways. Fascinating! I also love your writing style Robert and will have to get Shadow Divers.
Librarian

Message Edited by Librarian on 07-11-2007 07:35 PM
Author
RobertKurson
Posts: 34
Registered: ‎07-03-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Discussion Topic: Sixth Sense

This discussion is fascinating. It could be the basis for a philosophy class debate, as it seems to get close to issues about how human beings come to knowledge. Are the senses the basis for everything we know? What could we experience if we had no senses? The readiness with which these kinds of questions - and so many others - arose while I learned Mike's story was thrilling to me.


Learn more about Crashing Through.
Contributor
Justine
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎07-05-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Discussion Topic: Sixth Sense

If someone offered me a new sense, whether I got to choose that sense or the someone did , I do not think I would take it . I get overwhelmed with just 5 senses sometimes! With great power comes great responsibility ,as it goes. I think it could be very isolating . Though I might ask to have one of my existing senses more perfected than it is now . For example , I have had to wear glasses since I was little , and I wouldn't mind having 20/20 vision so I could experience life and myself without glasses! I can't afford Lasiks, and I don't trust it anyway, because some of my friends have had it done and it didn't work ( it made it worse , in fact). Or maybe I would just ask to be a better typist, or even if there was something where I could think and the words would pop up on the computer - I hear some technology is being worked on that tracks a person's gaze etc. so I guess it's just a matter of time for most things :smileyhappy:

Best,
Justine
Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Discussion Topic: Sixth Sense

Robert, do you remember in the 70s when those saline tanks were so popular, the ones you get in and lay down and float on the salt water and are in total darkness with no sound either? The ones like in the movie Altered States with William Hurt? With all his senses taken away, sight, sound, touch..he had some real hallucinations among other things. They were suppose to be for relaxation and they used to say that if you stayed in them for like 15 minutes you would be so refreshed. There was one at our college and I remember hearing that people who stayed in them even 15 minutes for very many times, started having emotional problems and then they stopped all that stuff. Life with no senses, if you had had them all, i would think that would be maddening. You would just be stuck inside your own brain. OH GEESH, I was told, my real father died of ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease. I did some research on it and i saw some specials on it and a movie and that must have been what it was like for my dad. The whole body dies, falls apart except the brain, you know everything that is going on even when you cant move anymore or talk anymore. You do feel tho, pain. But you cant say anything to anyone but you can hear them. I remember thinking, this is the cruelest way to die, being totally aware. I saw a Canadian special about a woman with it trying to get the right to have a doctor help her die and i have never forgotten one scene, she is in a wheelchair going to court and she has an arm in a sling. I thought, she must have broke it or hurt it somehow but then they said why. Her muscles in her arm and shoulders were gone by then and her arm would just drop out of its socket, so they had to put it in a tight sling to keep it in place :smileysad: . I was tested for it when I started having some problems since he had it and thankfully i dont have it.
Ok, talk about how the brain works and the chains of thoughts we have, I don't like where mine just went from starting to discuss no senses, so I think I will shut up now, but just wondered if you remembered those chambers and the experiments with them. I dont remember what they were called but they were a rage for about a second.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Author
RobertKurson
Posts: 34
Registered: ‎07-03-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Discussion Topic: Sixth Sense

I not only remember these isolation tanks, I tried one when I was in college. I didn't experience any of the advertised transcendent effects, but do remember losing my sense of time a bit. That might be, however, because the owner charged by the minute, and I remember it being obscenely expensive!


Learn more about Crashing Through.
Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Discussion Topic: Sixth Sense


RobertKurson wrote:
I not only remember these isolation tanks, I tried one when I was in college. I didn't experience any of the advertised transcendent effects, but do remember losing my sense of time a bit. That might be, however, because the owner charged by the minute, and I remember it being obscenely expensive!


lol, that will make you more aware of time the next time i think lol. Yeah, I dont know anyone that felt wonderful during or after it, just remember the reports that after prolonged used, some had emotional problems, depression or even feelings of being more tired.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Users Online
Currently online: 52 members 749 guests
Please welcome our newest community members: