Truth is beauty, and beauty truth. I have forever gazed upon beauty and am thus moved to engage its dark shadow.
Part of the reason I emphasize that the senses think, is that even before you begin trying to figure out what you are experiencing, your senses begin learning it. The rhythm of your legs moving as you walk, the tension in your eyes as your scan them across a room searching for some small detail. You develop habits of sensation.
Does this connect in any way with playing Mozart to fetuses still in the womb? It does indeed. The complex structured sound begins to strengthen and organize nerve signals even at the early stage. Even when they can only feel the sound, the structured and steady stimuli trigger a response that is learned even though the child will never recall it. In fact, the habits of sensation form well before the habits of attention. A very young child can’t make sense of what they are seeing.
What if it was negative stimuli or some sort of “political” conditioning? That will be learned also. It’s the priming effect.
I’ve heard that hearing screaming sounds when you’re in the womb isn’t good. Our nervous system has an innate understanding of screams. My own parents weren’t getting along when I was conceived, and even worse during my late term gestation. I have sensory defensive issues.
So, the young child can’t make sense of what they see. The infant is just beginning to form not their habits of sensation, which are already well under way, but their habits of attention. It’s these habits that assemble all the sensation into constructs we recognize. You learn what doggy means not from your senses but from what is pointed out to you. Your early habits of attention are drawn from interacting with your parents and siblings, noticing things they notice, stuff like that, and those may last a lifetime.
I recall that my very first memory in life was of nine puppies. That’s a good memory, but even so pleasant seeming, a memory can take on very different character for different people.
My mother had to feed them from a baby bottle because the dogs’ mother refused to. That does sometimes happen. This likely made you a more empathic person but not because of any moralizing on your mothers part. We learn our values despite such efforts, not because of them. But when a very young child’s attention is drawn to care giving, they learn to see care giving as important, as one example of a habit of attention in action.
I guess that what I learned from that was, “when a puppy is hungry, feed it however you can.” Puppy = people, or whatever is hungry. Yes, habits of attention form before habits of judgement which only really begin forming after about age five.
Our early social sensitivity is a habit of sensation. That comfort we take from being held by a parent, or at least that’s the ideal. The sound of a parent’s voice as we are being held, the sound of their heart beat. We come to associate these sensations with feelings of security and well-being, even before we have any habits of attention to interpret what they mean for us.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.