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Transcendental Senses

Another writer has drawn an interesting picture, which is based upon a
conjecture which is scientifically valid, as follows: "The late
Professor James once suggested as a useful exercise for young students a
consideration of the changes which would be worked in our ordinary world
if the various branches of our receiving instruments happened to
exchange duties; if, for instance, we heard all colors, and saw all
sounds. All this is less mad than it seems. Music is but an
interpretation of certain vibrations undertaken by the ear; and color is
but an interpretation of other vibrations undertaken by the eye. Were
such an alteration of our senses to take place, the world would still be
sending us the same messages, but we should be interpreting them
differently. Beauty would still be ours, though speaking in another
tongue. The birds' song would then strike our retina as pageant of
color; we should see all the magical tones of the wind, hear as a great
fugue the repeated and harmonized greens of the forest, the cadences of
stormy skies. Did we realize how slight an adjustment of our own organs
is needed to initiate us into such a world, we should perhaps be less
contemptuous of those mystics who tell us in moments of transcendental
consciousness they 'heard flowers that sounded, and saw notes that
shone'; or that they have experienced rare moments of consciousness in
which the senses were fused organs is needed to initiate us into such a
world into a single and ineffable act of perception, in which color and
sound were known as aspects of the same thing."

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