The Way the World Feels/Looks

Postby TheHereAndNow » Fri Jul 27, 2018 4:43 pm


I have a rather specific question regarding something I think I've experienced forever but have just recently attempted to put into words. I'm not sure if other people experience this too. I suppose they probably do, as I can't imagine I'm somehow unique in this respect. I just haven't been able to find a satisfactory answer to my questions when I look them up online, so I figured I'd go straight to the source and ask some experts.

My question concerns the way the world looks. It's rather difficult to describe, but what I'm talking about are the intrinsic "feelings" or qualities we associate with our environment. When I say "feelings", I don't just mean general emotions. I mean the immediate impression those things have upon us, both intellectually and emotionally. A good way to describe it would be the qualia of things, or maybe flavor is a better word. The reason I ask is because I've noticed that, sometimes, after waking up from a particularly vivid dream, the world around me will look different - at least for a short amount of time. It's as though the "feeling" of everything has changed. A good way to describe it would be like I've been moved or transported to an entirely different place that just so happens to look exactly the same as the place I left. Obviously, from an intellectual perspective, I know it's the same place, and everything is arranged the same. But the "feel" of the place - the qualia of it - is somehow different. Almost like it's a totally different world, or at least the way I see the world has changed dramatically. Everything looks sort of alien or novel, and the emotional tone of everything has been altered. Now, usually this is a bit unsettling, and I'm rather relieved when it wears off. But sometimes it's actually rather pleasant. So pleasant that I wish things would stay that way, at least for longer than a few minutes.

Another example of this I can think of are directions. Now, this I HAVE asked people before, generally those in my family, and I've never received a satisfactory answer. Maybe it's just a sense of direction, but north isn't simply a designation for one of the ways you can walk in my mind. North has a feeling to it - a qualia of sorts, as do all the other directions. So much so that I can't take a couch that's against the western wall of my apartment and make it look like it's against a northern wall in my mind's eye. It would just change the entire look, or feeling, of the world. It actually has emotional overtones to it, as I associate certain "feelings" with each of the directions. Some of them I like more than others! Like, in my room, I always make sure that my desk is facing either west or north. Though, recently, I've been growing a bit more partial to east. That probably sounds rather bizarre, but that's honestly what it's like.

Now, this isn't problematic to my life in any sense. It doesn't interfere with anything, and it's not like I just can't stand when a bit of furniture faces south or something. It doesn't cause any issues - I'm honestly just curious as to what it is. Like is there a name for this sort of psychological phenomenon? A theory behind it? Or am I just looking too much into a rather acute sense of direction? I have a hard time believing it's just a particularly robust internal map, as it doesn't only affect the orientation of things but also the way those things "feel" to me. Anyway, apologies if this all seems rather rambly, and I'd appreciate any reply.
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Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Fri Jul 27, 2018 6:47 pm

TheHereAndNow wrote: Or am I just looking too much into a rather acute sense of direction? I have a hard time believing it's just a particularly robust internal map...

My sense of taste is unrefined. Why?

Don't get me wrong, I can tell the difference between the qualia of white vs. red wine. But, ask me to tell you if I'm drinking merlot or malbec and I'm going to be making an intuitive best guess.

Now, some people have an extremely refined sense of taste. Why? Because unlike me they pay attention. Unlike me they focus and put a lot of energy and time into the subtle differences in qualia. Given their constant effort, given their particular interest in wine they have a much different experience drinking wine than the average person. They can tell you the year the wine was made and that it has just a hint of tobacco.

You may not have deliberately set out to focus on direction or the feeling of your surrounding environment, but you are in a self fulfilling loop. The more you think about it the more sensitive you become and the more sensitive you become the more you think about it. The cycle continues. Given it is an area of interest that is on your mind much more than the average person, therefore it is natural for you to become much more sensitive to it, possibly a borderline obsession.

What makes the difference between the wine or art aficionado, the local psychic, a fung shui guru, or someone labeled as having OCD is the labels of society and the positive or negative impact it has on our life and/or the value society places on that particular obsession. A person can obsess about wine and they are a genius, while another person obsesses over door knobs and they have a disorder. One has value, the other does not.
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