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LST 370- Essay: Exploring the Senses

Aug 25, 2023

This assignment was inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s insatiable curiosity about life, which he pursued through his continual refinement of his sensory intelligence. “The five senses,” he claimed, “are the ministers of the soul.” As a humanist and liberal thinker, da Vinci’s legacy extends beyond his art. He was a master at finding inspiration in areas of life that are often taken for granted. Like many other Renaissance thinkers, da Vinci was committed to testing knowledge through experience, developing a balance between science, art, logic, and imagination (“whole brain” thinking), and recognizing the interconnectedness of all things and phenomena (systems thinking).

Essay: Exploring the Senses               

“The five senses are the ministers of the soul.” – Leonardo da Vinci.

The five senses—sight, taste, touch, hearing, and smell—collect pieces of information about our surroundings which is later analyzed by the brain. By combining the data from each sense and drawing on prior experience, we give this information meaning (and subsequent learning). In general, we react instinctively to sensory information. We need to engage in this action in order to survive in our surroundings (Giordano et al. 2020). We need to see the interconnectedness of all things and events and strike a balance between science, art, logic, and imagination. In this essay, I’ll try to look at how our body’s senses perceive numerous physical objects in our environment.

Paintings have never felt to fascinate me. I always wonder how something as lifeless as colors can give life to lifeless strokes. How some colors make up the full story. I have always been fascinated by how paintings have moved mountains through the ages. I would consider the painting The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh as my favorite. Every time I look at the picture, it never fails to charm and inspires me. The painting luxuriates in itself. The stars in lightening up the dark night, creating a serene atmosphere. It always makes me question the vastness of the world and the nothingness of our existence. The painting at the backdrop of the dark blue sky sets a dark, engulfing background. Whereas the stars stand in contrast to the darkness and present a contrasting view to the eye. The painting is brightly colored which creates a sense of stability, mystery, existentialism, and nihilistic mood.

The ability to hear and perceive the information or base our choice on what we hear plays an important role in maintaining a balanced social life. We human beings often spend most of our time listening to music in our free time. My top 5 artists include Taylor Swift, CAS Band, Selena Gomez, Coldplay, and Beach House. Of all the five artists that I mentioned, 2 musicians affect my life in a huge way. They are Taylor Swift, the American singer-songwriter, and CAS Band, the American dream pop band. Their songs are not only life-enriching but also their music scale and the pitch they use to make the music suits my hearing senses. They sound very happening to me. One of my favorite lyrics by Taylor Swift which has always meant a lot more than its face value is from her song Marjorie

“Never be so kind you forget to be clever, never be so clever you forget to be kind”.

This line always reminds me to be humble, and not weak. There is a fine line between being weak and submissive and being humble. We often cross that line unknowingly. However, Taylor always reminds me of that fine line.

My second favorite artist CAS band has some of the best songs that never fail to make me feel the layered slice of life thing that will leave an impact on my subconscious. “Don’t Let Me Go” is a song about missing a previous love who has passed away but is still remembered. I was left with a serene and nostalgic sensation as a result of the song’s gloomy vibe, especially when mixed with the background guitar melody.

There are a few aromas that affect my mental state in a great manner. Every time I feel stressed or anxious, I often crave these aromas, as they help me restore my senses, and give me peace. There are many aromas that affect my emotions, especially Jasmine, lavender, tulsi, Peppermint, rose, and a few others. I often take evening strolls in my garden to enjoy these aromas, as they help me refresh my mind, and also help me concentrate more in a more effective and concrete manner. Of many aromas that I mentioned, 2 affect me the most. They are Jasmine and lavender. Every time I feel stressed, or I feel like I have a lot to cover or every time I feel stretched out a bit too thin, I try to enjoy the lavender aroma. Its powerful calming and relaxing properties help me to ease away all that stress, tension, and worry. Jasmine, similar to lavender, calms my nerves when I am stressed out or overwhelmed. Not only does it reduce my feelings of stress, but it also stimulates feelings of positivity and energy.

If the aromas help me with my stress, my taste sensories also go hand in hand. Different tastes have different effects on me. I have noticed that the taste of the food that I am consuming often dictates my mood and how I feel. There are many tastes like sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent. However, different flavors of a single food affect my mood in a different manner. For example, the different flavors of milk- chocolate, strawberry, and banana affect my taste buds in a different manner. Though they are all different flavors of milk, they look different. Chocolate milk is brownish, which also looks frothy. Whereas strawberry mil is lighter in color (pink) and also the texture is light. On the other hand, banana milk’s color is not much different from plain milk. But it’s the texture is heavy. They even differ in their smells. The chocolate milk smells bitter like dark chocolate, whereas strawberry milk smells sweet. Often there is an added fragrance that gives it a very strong aromatic. The banana milk however smells and tastes very plain. There is not much of any added fragrance. So often it possesses an Anosmic smell. The only major trait of banana milk is that it has a heavy texture which makes it a condensing drink to consume.

Touch is typically eclipsed by a vision in both philosophy and psychology, despite being one of the fundamental sorts of perceptual experience. One of the earliest sensations to develop is touch, according to certain theories. Numerous skin receptors on the body allow for touch to occur everywhere. We are continually in contact with the earth since we are a part of it. We come into contact with a surface every second. Each surface has a distinct texture. The fresco wall has a sandy grainy appearance in contrast to the polished surfaces of the metals and mirrors. While I live my life, I often get in contact with different textures like the fresco painting on my house wall, the smooth Italian tiles on my floor, the soft texture of my bed, and many more. But the texture that I prefer the most is the smooth and polished texture of the Italian tiles of my house. The texture brings back a lot of memories and nostalgia. It reminds me of the days when I was just a kid and I could not walk properly. I often slipped on the floor while trying to make a little run. I still remember how I always used to wonder how the tiles shine so brightly and my parents used to be amazed how such a negligible matter made me happy.

Though these five senses are mutually exhaustive of each other, they go hand in hand. It is these co-relations among all the senses that make living enjoyable (Giordano et al. 2020). It is the sight of the music notes walking into the listener’s heart, giving him the eternal joy of exhilaration that makes listening to music more wholesome. It is the smell of freshness of a painting that reminds the viewer of the age of people’s lives. It is the notes that we hear from the paintings that remind us of the long-forgotten notes of the people that survived the era. Every time I have a chocolate cake, the taste takes me back 5 years back, and I can see sharing the piece with my young sister. I visualize how the chocolate made her happy. Thus, every moment we are living, we are living through our sense of organs that make living more enjoyable and more wholesome.


Giordano, G., De Santis, M., Pagano, S., Ragozini, G., Vitale, M. P., & Cavallo, P. (2020). Association rules and network analysis for exploring comorbidity patterns in health systems. In Challenges in social network research (pp. 63-78). Springer, Cham.

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