Years ago, I studied general biology in high school. As with most general biology courses, there was a segment on human biology. Like most teenagers, my classmates and I looked forward to that segment because we would get a chance to drool over pictures of humans’ “naughty bits” and even talk about them and how they worked and were used. I was no different than my classmates, but in the end, the portion of the class that I most remembered was the section covering the sensory organs.
For centuries, it has been commonly taught that humans have five senses. The traditional “five senses” model (sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste) is credited to Aristotle (which explains the “centuries” part). Aristotle identified the largest of the sensory organs and their uses, then made his proclamation. It seemed logical, so people ran with it! Modern thought is that we have many more; at least nine and perhaps as many as twenty senses. We now work under the premise that any group of cells that sense something may be counted as a “sense”. I suspect that this train of thought can be carried way too far. For this post, I would prefer to work with the “five senses” model, as the organs involved have external components and are readily discerned.
In high school we were taught that these five senses were our “user interface” with the world around us. Without these basic senses, our ability to survive long enough to reproduce would be severely hampered. Sight and Hearing are obviously essential to finding food, identifying danger, communication and locating a suitable mate. Smell and Taste are needed to determine which items may be safe to ingest, warn us of dangers upwind and, more subtly, help us to determine if a mate is receptive to our advances.
The one sense that is given short shrift in modern society is the sense of Touch! The organ of Touch is the skin. It is a wondrously complex thing that not only protects our internals from the outside world, but also is also an incredibly sensitive system for keeping track of subtle changes in our environment. Sensitive temperature receptors and hairs that move with the slightest air movement provide an amazing amount of awareness of the world around us. Much of that information is used by autonomic systems to regulate body temperature and many other bodily processes. To cover your skin limits the information provided by the skin and may result in faulty operation of your body’s systems. Consciously, our skin can make us aware of the movement of objects that are out of our sight by sensing subtle changes in air movement and temperature.
I find it laughable that we call ourselves, “touchy-feely”, when modern society has conspired to severely limit much of that which we would ordinarily feel. Society dictates that we cover the vast majority of our skin almost all of the time. We have limited the usefulness of our sense of touch to little more than the the areas of the finger tips. Covering the largest sensory organ that we own is akin to hiding our eyes behind opaque glasses, or sealing our ears with wax. A society that requires unnecessarily covering our skin is only paying lip service to the exhortation to “live life to the fullest”! How can you possibly do that if you have isolated a major sensory organ from life itself?
Yes, there are times when we do need to cover our bodies for protection from the environment. However, to require that covering when it is not needed is to require society to exist in a constant state of sensory deprivation. Nudists and Naturists have the right idea. They counter our society’s general attitude of “clothed at all costs” with an attitude of “Nude when possible, clothed when necessary”.
Don’t live life sensory deprived!
Experience life to its fullest extent!
Get naked whenever and wherever it is possible!