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To make sense of – sense and sense – in the latter sense…

How often do we hear: “You have to listen to your feelings. What do you feel about that? Hod does that feel? It’s hard to express my feelings, Feelings are the most important in life. You are so rational you must use your feelings when you decide etc etc”. The word “feeling”, our sense of feeling has for a long time had a lot of meanings. The good thing is that we as human beings can use the word in a variety of situations. The bad thing is that people misunderstands and miscommunicates and most often without knowing that we do so. It probably origins from the root of the word where one root is the latin word of ‘sensus’, which amongst other things means: faculty of feeling, perception, sensation, sense; emotion. As you already notice, here’s where it tends to be indistinct or flexible depending on your presuppositions.

Our old friend Aristoteles named our senses, sight, hearing, feeling, sense of smell and taste. Today scientists argue of how many senses there are – and it’s more of a scientific fight – but most people would say that we have at least six senses if we also add the sense of balance. Sense has by the way also ‘sensus’ in its origin. In everyday situations we often mix the word ‘feeling’ with when we experience something with our senses and this can lead to misunderstandings. When we see the blue sea and hear the high sound of the waves when they come ashore, we often tend to say, when we think back to that specific situation: I felt the waves and the sea. You could have felt the waves and the sea, especially if you where there swimming, but more likely you were standing at the shore and the waves and the sea evoked memories which you expressed carelessly and said that the memories, where feelings as if you put equal sign with feelings and sensory impressions.

Feelings have evolved to be an umbrella term for all experiences which makes it hard for us human beings to grasp when we talk about our sincere feelings or when we use the word heedlessly and mean sensory impressions. It also tends to depress the other senses when we express ourselves. Just look in a daily newspaper and you find the inflation of the word. Impressions from the senses causes feelings. Impressions from the feelings are just one way of experiencing.

To put it another way, the prefix ‘syn-‘ means united, acting or considered together as in: synchronise. Maybe we instead of using the word feeling – ubiquitous – we should say ‘synfeeling’ when we recieve sensory impressions which lead to experiences…

So, in which contexts do I use ‘feelings’ and when do I use the rest of my senses to express my experiences?

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