Will you evaluate our five senses in terms of matter-body and spirit-meaning?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Five senses and beyond

In addition to the five senses like sight, touch, and smell that are related to matter, people have countless senses such as justice, motivation, and even the sixth sense that are not related to matter directly. When we perceive the environment and beings, we usually rely on the five primary sensory organs like the eye and the ear, and the brain, which is the center all five sensory organs are connected to. As a result of limiting the world of existence to matter, we see the five senses as the making of matter, and other senses as the manifestations of interactions of matter. As a result of this viewpoint, we regard the brain as miraculous and admit that we are too weak to understand the brain. Actually, what we do not understand is the reality of things, not the brain. The mystery of the brain is not due to its matter, but rather, its use as a black box in which we hide all our inconsistencies and ignorance.

All fruits from oranges to apples are made of the same atoms. However, the taste has nothing to do with the atoms in the fruits.

            For instance, let us consider the process of seeing. Based on the simple observation that we see when our eyes are open and do not see when they are closed, we quickly draw the conclusion that ‘it is the eye that sees’. In fact, this is no different than for a person who depends on glasses for sight and sees only with glasses to say that ‘it is the glasses that see’. As a matter of fact, we can see in our dreams quite clearly with our eyes closed. Those who take a more holistic approach also consider the nerves that transmit the signal to the vision center in the brain, and claim that seeing occurs in a wondrous way at the vision center in the brain. That is, seeing just happens out of nowhere. Here the brain is used as a black curtain to cover up our ignorance. In other words, the brain is turned into a black hole that gobbles up information and does not allow even information to escape. But what is called the ‘vision center’ in the brain is nothing more than the end-point of the sight nerves coming from the eyes. The basic building blocks of the entire brain, including the vision center, are simply the elements, and their components electrons, protons, and neutrons. That is, whatever is in a wood is also in the brain. And the electric current that occurs in the brain as a result of the flow of the charged particles is no different than the electric current in a computer processor.

Smell is non-matter, that is, meaning, and each molecule has a certain ability to receive smell and to reflect it. However, the source of smell is not the arrangement of the atoms – just like the source of the glitter of a diamond being the light coming from outside, and not the arrangement of carbon atoms in a crystalline form.

            There is no such element as ‘eyesight’ in the building blocks of the eyes and the brain, and what is not in the parts cannot be in the whole. If it is, then it must be coming from somewhere else. The eyes and brain consist of atoms like carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. The seeing ability of the eye and the brain is no more than that of a slice of bread which is made of basically the same atoms. The cells that make up the eye-nerve-brain trio do not contain a material element called ‘eyesight’, and hence vision, whose existence is definite based on experience, is non-matter, that is meaning. In that case, there is a widespread ‘vision’ layer, which is beyond time and space, in the universe; and the beings that are capable of receivingthese rays of vision coming from that layer are beings that see. According to Nursi, this realm of vision world is a manifestation of the divine name ‘Basir (All-Seeing)’.

The loss of eyesight when a fault develops in the eye or the vision center of the brain does not show that these organs are the source of vision – just like the glasses not being the source of vision for wearers of glasses. That is, the eye-nerve-brain combination for eyesight is what glasses are for the eye. It seems that what is called the ‘vision center’ is simply the manifestation point of the immaterial eyesight attribute in the brain. In other words, the vision center in the brain is the welding spot of the body and the sense of seeing of the spirit, and the cross over from matter to non-matter.

Likewise, all perfumes and nice-smelling flowers are made of atoms like hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon, and there is no element of ‘smell’ in any of these atoms. The hydrogen atom in water is the same as that in a flower, and all atoms are made of electrons, protons, and neutrons. Then we should ask, ‘where in the perfume or flower is the smell?’ Interestingly, even the bad-smelling things are made of the same atoms. It seems that smell manifests itself on matter, is transmitted with matter, but it is not matter. Therefore, smell must be non-matter, that is, meaning, and each molecule has a certain ability to receive smell and to reflect it. However, the source of smell is not the arrangement of the atoms – just like the source of the glitter of a diamond being the light coming from outside, and not the arrangement of carbon atoms in a crystalline form. The cause of deception here is the emergence of two things together and thinking that one cannot be without the other. That is, when one of them goes, so does the other; thus, a person is conditioned to think that one is the source of the other.

            Similar things can also be said about taste. For example, all fruits from oranges to apples are made of the same atoms. However, the taste has nothing to do with the atoms in the fruits. That is, oxygen or hydrogen does not have a particular taste of their own, and water, which is a compound of these two elements, does not have an intermediate taste that will remind us this mixture. Therefore, no one can predict the taste of an organic molecule by looking at the atoms in its structure. It appears that taste is also a meaning that reflects differently on different arrangement of atoms – yet independent of the atoms themselves – and the taste of a substance can only be known by experimenting. A chemist who comes across salt for the first time in his life can predict many chemical properties of the salt by examining its atomic structure but he cannot say anything about its taste by looking at the chlorine atoms.

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