Intelligently Discussing the “Sensuous”

In “The Spell of the Sensuous,” Abram talks about his personal experiences and thoughts when it comes to human relationships with each other, the wild, and technology. I agree with the author in the belief that our senses are “gates where our body receives the nourishment of otherness,” (Abram ix) and we use them as much more than just picking up on fleeting sensory stimuli. I believe that we use our senses to emotionally feel. Not only do we pick up on physical sensations, but we are able to determine whether the people around feel happy, sad, annoyed, etc. Our senses help us pick up on the feeling of the social atmosphere that is created by the people surrounding us. Although Abram discusses this in his preface predominantly using examples of the non-human world, I believe that this can be applied to inter-human relationships as well due to the spiritual aspect of my personality.

I was also able to connect with Abram over one specific experience he had: Abram describes an experience of how he observed multiple cave spiders weave webs that seemed to intertwine with one another. I have been getting to know the amazing beauty of spiders throughout this entire semester. When I moved into my dorm, there was a spider in the bathroom who loved to hide in the wall cracks and whose web took up the entire window; I thought this was cool and named him Michael. However, my roommate was terrified of spiders and kindly asked me if I could kill it. One weekend, I dismantled his web in hopes that he would show himself to me, only to find an even more elaborate web starting to form the next day: The web seemed to be shaped like a three-dimensional triangle when attached to the wall, and it was so thick that multiple fruit flies had already been caught by it. Seeing this awesome beauty arise from the situation, my roommate and I decided to keep Michael in the bathroom and live alongside him, which is what I was reminded of when Abram claims that he was able to sleep peacefully among the spiders in the cave. I was surprised at how easy it would be to see these facets of nature in my own home.

Even though I’ve had many natural experiences at this university, I do not think that much would change within me if I was not as connected to my smartphone, when discussing the technological terms of this reading. I’ve always seen myself as someone who is bad at keeping up with social media, and I can easily go without my phone for two to three hours at a time because I am accustomed to lengthy instrument practices and rehearsals. Still, I believe that there is much that we can learn from Abram and his opinions on our own society and ecosystem.

2 Replies to “Intelligently Discussing the “Sensuous””

  1. I do too agree that our senses are like “gates.” I feel very side because sometimes we use our gates to block out things that we do not understand. Honestly, I am very afraid of seeing spiders.

  2. I have had my fair share of spiders in my room. I have not been living with them, for I usually will catch and release them into the wild or kill them when they are too close for comfort (I panicked, it was in my bed). That’s so cool that you are keeping the spider with you guys!

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