The World as Sensuous and Alive

David Abram, Writer / Philosopher

Waking Our Animal Senses: Language and the Ecology of Sensory Experience

When we are really awake to the life of our senses — when we are really watching with our animal eyes and listening with our animal ears — we discover that nothing in the world around us is directly experienced as a passive or inanimate object. Each thing, each entity meets our gaze with its own secrets, and if we lend it our attention we are drawn into a dynamic interaction wherein we are taught and sometimes transformed by this other being. If we really wish to awaken our senses, and so to renew the solidarity between ourselves and the rest of the earth, then we must acknowledge that the myriad things around us have their own active agency, their own active influence upon our lives and our thoughts (and also, of course, upon one another). We must begin to speak of the sensuous surroundings in the way that our breathing bodies really experience them — as active, as animate, as alive.

Image by Tom Shandy, 2009