Watching Motorsport at Donington Park today.
I’m sitting on a hill in the infield looking at the old hairpin. Cars are weaving down the Craner Curves, jostling for track position into this all important corner.
Meanwhile, I’m listening to the race commentary on the circuit app on my phone. The commentary covers the action elsewhere on the circuit. So I can listen to the incident at Redgate where two cars have entered the gravel trap.
When we go racing we take a camping stove and I’m tucking in to a freshly made egg and bacon roll. The soft yoke has just exploded across my fingers. The smell and taste a sensory delight.
The sun is warming my right ear.
I’m struck by my ability to separate my senses. To see one set of action, hear another, feel the sun and direct my olfactory and gustatory senses to a stomach welcoming culinary classic.
Maybe separating our senses is easier than focusing them all on the same experience? We do it every day. I do wonder what I’m losing as a result though?
Someone once uttered those words to me.
‘Let’s see what the pain looks like’.
The context was around an organisational change. I remember at the time being momentarily confused. Don’t you feel pain? I don’t know what it looks like, any more than I can taste it or hear it.
On reflection I realised it was an interesting insight to the speaker’s inner world. I regretted the missed opportunity of exploring with them what pain looked like for them. Did it have a colour? A hue? Was it a picture, a particular image, a personal memory? Was it sharp, blurred? Was it a still image, a movie? Was it 2D or 3D?
Beyond the curiosity about their representation, I wondered what had led them to see, rather than feel, pain. Was it that feeling it made it too real? Was it a defence mechanism, to stay a little removed and observe the pain rather than taking it into the body? Was it safer? Were other feelings also seen? Did they feel anything and, if so, what was ‘feelable’ and what wasn’t?
Was this only related to pain and other feelings or did they ‘see’ everything? Could they see smells or see tastes too? Did they see freshly mown grass when the smell wafted into their nostrils? Did they see musical notes as they listened or played? Did they have other synaesthesia, such as hearing smells, tasting sounds or smelling images?
A missed opportunity, but one that still serves as a learning, one that stays with me as a curiosity about the uniqueness of our human experience.