Definition: As used herein, Sensorium refers to the complex of all one’s senses, the sum of one’s perception, the ‘seat of sensation’ where one experiences and interprets one’s qualiaA in the environments within which one lives.B
A Examples of qualia include the pain of a headache, the taste of wine, or the perceived redness of an evening sky.
B This definition and some of the content of the "More" page were adapted from the Wikipedia article, Sensorium.
As used herein, Sensorium refers to the complex of all one’s senses, the sum of one’s perception, the ‘seat of sensation’ where one experiences and interprets one’s qualia* in the environments within which one lives.
The Sensorium is “a creation of the physical, biological, social and cultural environments of the individual and his or her relationships WHILE BEING IN THE WORLD.” (Emphasis added) In other words, the human Body's Sensorium is not statically confined to the matter “inside” one’s cranium receiving discrete "signals" from “outside” like a machine. A Person's Sensorium is continuously entangled with all of Reality that one’s Body senses inside (indigestion) and outside (someone speaking).
* Examples of qualia include the pain of a headache, the taste of wine, or the perceived redness of an evening sky.
Note: The above is quoted or otherwise adopted from the Wikipedia article about the human Sensorium which article is, in turn, based on (among others) the work of my teacher, the late Walter J. Ong, S.J.
Sensorium, More webpage
Our bodies have Sensoria (plural for Sensorium). Our Sensoria have been under development since the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago. If you go back in history no further than the first mammals, our Sensoria have been under development for only for 210 million years. We are talking here about the primordial. Contemporary scientists are realizing that the list of our senses is far more extensive and complex than the traditional five senses of sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste that you may have learned about in school. Modern brain science with its new, high-tech machinery is helping us realize how complex our Sensoria are. If some tiny part of a person's brain is damaged - zap - something odd starts to happen or something normal fails to happen. We now realize that our Sensoria include many external-directed and internal-directed senses that previously we did not scientifically understand as senses, but which, of course, have been there all along packaged in the entirety of our Bodies. For example, when you close your eyes but still know where your arms and legs are relative to one another, that is a distinct sense. If very particular damage occurs in your brain, with your eyes closed you could not tell where your left foot was. Here's another example -
When you feel emotions (affection, anger, angst ... zest), it is your Sensorium that does the feeling. Consider all the different kinds of emotions you can have. See Figure #1. Our Sensorium is a wonder, only fractions of which we understand in a scientific manner.
Finally, and most importantly, keep in mind that the Satisfaction of our human Needs depends on our Sensoria. That is to say, what is going-on in your Sensorium is a necessary part (but not necessarily a sufficient part) of the Explanation of the effectiveness of a given Satisfier of your Needs.
Your Sensorium is at the center of meaning
What is your Sensorium? In a moment, I will have you click on a hyperlink, read and think about the definition of Sensorium and then if you are an Unabridged User, read and think about its MORE webpage too. Then continue here by clicking the BACK ARROW on your browser several times as may be necessary. Ready? Click on the link to Sensorium.
CONTINUE > A metaphor for your Sensorium that I like to use is to say that it is the fog that envelops your Body, demarcating your Body from the rest of Reality. It is a fog that continuously is shaped, made vibrant or dull, colorful or gray, textured or smooth, made into a whisper or a bang, sweet or sour, fragrant and so on by you and the rest of Reality simultaneously as if the two of you were dancing the Sensorium which, I suspect, is something like the tango.
The fog is that through which Reality penetrates your Body and your Body penetrates Reality. Through your Sensorium, you become Aware and from that Awareness, the rest of your positive Degrees of Certitude follow along their continuum. What you Believe is the Truth of the matter at the end of the continuum in a given case hangs from your Sensorium up at the front like a coat on a peg. If something or someone changes whatever it is that is happening in your Sensorium up front, the particulars of your Belief about the Truth of the matter at the end of the continuum necessarily changes, too.
A word I like to use in connection with Sensorium is "entanglement" or "entangled" or the verb, "to entangle." We are Consciously/Unconsciously entangled with all that is around us and in us. That being the case, we should approach disciplines such as logic and the scientific method with due caution, not to mention enormous caution with regard to less disciplined Actions such as watching a movie or television advertisement.
When using logical and scientific disciplines or engaging in less disciplined Actions, we should not forget that we may be and probably are entangled in assumptions we are un-Aware of - For example, our assumption that Objects such as ink-on-paper and pixels-on-screens and Events such as sound waves have meaning independent of our Bodies. The meaning is "out there" in the ink or the pixels or the sound waves is our commonplace assumption. We are mere "observers" of what is "out there" in the universe, it is commonly said.
NO, the meaning is not simply "out there!" It is your Body - your Sensorium - that brings meaning to the table precisely through its entanglement with whatever is "out there" and "in here." I suspect the assumption that meaning is "out there" is especially prevalent among experts who think of themselves as being "objective" about that which they are observing.
Let me be clear - If a tree falls in the forest and there is no Person there to witness it, the tree still falls in the forest and makes a sound. It happens. But there is no way for the tree or the forest to ascribe meaning to the Event nor can a Person outside the forest who is completely un-Aware of the forest or the tree ascribe meaning to it, either.
Let's say the tree had been dead and rotten before it fell. The tree and the forest do not know anything about the biology of decay or the gravity of falling. These Events simply happen without the tree or forest's "knowledge" or "consent," if I may put it that way. Rather, it is only the Person whose Sensorium is entangled with the Event of the tree falling that can ascribe meaning to it and so examine the fallen tree and say, "See, this tree was dead and rotten. That is why it fell."
Extending what I have just said into all time and space, whatever meaning the universe has, it is entangled with your Sensorium, assuming you are the Person uttering the words that make up the question or statement that creates the meaning. In this sense, your Sensorium is at the center of all meaning in the universe as far as you can say anything about it.
Let me close by emphasizing two points -
First, recall what I said above - "If something or someone changes whatever it is that is happening in your Sensorium, the particulars of your Belief about the Truth of the matter at the other end of the continuum necessarily will change, too." In other words, TV advertisements, booze, cigarettes, demagogues and highly knowledgeable and respected teachers, parents and friends that impact your Sensorium inevitably alter your conclusions at the other end of your Degrees of Certitude. It's the Nature of your Body. Experiments using the scientific method prove it or at least that's what scientists say.
Second, I do not intend to say in this essay anything directly about God who is outside the universe, at least, I don't think that I intend to, but unintentionally I could and maybe I do, given the Nature of my Sensorium that I just explained. (God, recall from my definition of Reality, is the "other half" of Reality, so to speak, assuming you - the present reader - Believe in God's existence.) If you do not Believe in God's existence, then this essay remains focused on the universe and my big point is simply that your Sensorium is at the center of its meaning.
In conclusion let me say that if I were to raise the topic of God with you, and I am not saying that I am, but if I were and if I were to say that God reveals himself to you from his "perch" outside the universe on the "other half" of Reality, I would say that he does so through your Sensorium like that fog I spoke of that tangos.