Unimagined Sensitivities—Series Conclusion

Death—and its close relative, trauma—may trigger perceptions that subvert the normal bounds of space and time. The fascinating evidence merits serious investigation.

Unimagined Sensitivities, Part 12

A life-threatening emergency can, in some cases, produce a veritable distress signal that communicates what is being experienced, physiologically and/or emotionally.

Unimagined Sensitivities, Part 11

Some dreams can serve as a virtual x-ray, indicating what’s happening in the body. The process illustrates how life-threatening trauma may generate its own distress signals.

Unimagined Sensitivities, Part 10

It’s possible that searing trauma – experienced by humans or other creatures similarly endowed – produces effects that are simultaneously physical, emotional, and spiritual.

Unimagined Sensitivities, Part 9

The deeply felt nature of people-pet relations often manifests in anomalous reports. This may reflect the way other animals apprehend feelings and their emotional bond with people.

Unimagined Sensitivities, Part 8

Beyond the five senses we humans know, some of the sensory capacities more prominent in other creatures may be intimately connected with health, danger, and emotion generally.

Unimagined Sensitivities, Part 7

A person who is highly sensitive to her or his feelings—and to others’ feelings—is likely to be extra sensitive to her or his environment.

Unimagined Sensitivities, Part 6

Many creatures are known to become agitated before natural disasters. Emotional information – warnings – may be what they’re able to derive through infrasound or other means.

Unimagined Sensitivities, Part 5

Elephants are able to detect and use infrasound, which radiates below the threshold of human hearing. Infrasound can travel vast distances unimpeded by land, air, or water.

Unimagined Sensitivities, Part 4

Orcas have a unique ability to ‘transmit’ a sense of who they are—and ‘probe’ the people they’re with.

Unimagined Sensitivities, Part 3

Dolphins and killer whales possess a seeming capability to read minds that human beings neither possess nor suspect.

Unimagined Sensitivities, Part 2

When elephants encounter their dead, they become quiet and tense.They also become agitated at the imminent death of a fellow. These behaviors are suggestive of mourning and grief.

Unimagined Sensitivities, Part 1

While it would seem to be the end of sensitivity, death actually conjures up an amazing range of accounts that are highly relevant to sensitivity, in humans and many other animals.

Living Closer to the Bone (Part 7)

Sentient creatures share a profound connection, with one another and with nature. The concept of soul can be understood in context of this innately felt connection with creation.

Living Closer to the Bone (Part 6)

Animals that express gratitude, that play, that contemplate nature, that mourn, or that save a fellow creature are all demonstrating aspects of connectedness. This connectedness – underpinned by the ability to feel and emote – is the core of spirituality. It really is a matter of “fellow feeling.”

Living Closer to the Bone (Part 5)

Strange but true occurrences suggest that what family members (including our pets) feel for one another bonds us in unusual ways. Such experiences could only be chalked up to sheer one-in-a-million chance were it not for their conjunction with deep emotion.

Living Closer to the Bone (Part 4)

Some animals have truly distinctive personalities. The passing of one such pet created an enduring mystery while also hinting at the spiritual nature of emotion-laden family ties.

Living Closer to the Bone (Part 3)

Examples abound of non-human animals (dogs, pigs, bears, seals, gorillas, dolphins, whales) showing not only empathy but sympathy. In other words, these creatures not only possess an awareness of what someone else is feeling but they seek to alleviate the other’s plight.

Living Closer to the Bone (Part 2)

Evolutionary and behavioral science is giving credence to what Darwin observed and intuited 140 years ago. Studies indicate with a fair degree of certainty that animals have intense experiences comparable to human feelings of joy, anger, love, exuberance, delight, compassion, sorrow, and grief.

Living Closer to the Bone (Part 1)

If you’re a pet owner, then you know that these animals have feelings. Other mammals may even be more aware of feelings that human beings are, because they possess a ‘primary’ form of consciousness: they live closer to the bone, so to speak, than we do.

Sensitivities as Markers of an Infinitude

The people I've been considering in this series - synesthetes, savants, the autistic, the highly sensitive, the gifted, the prodigious, the psychic - quite possibly retain a degree of access to the universal 'foreground' of all life.

Children Who Seemingly Remember Past Lives

Young children around the world are known to spontaneously volunteer recollections that seem to be about someone else’s life. The degree to which these children show heightened emotion in recounting such apparent memories is a tip-off that something truly significant is going on.

The Sensory and the Psychical: A Link Worth Exploring

Genuine differences in sensory processing – and, consequently, a different sense of self – may relate to who reports anomalous perceptions and who generates psychical anomalies.

Children With "Out of the Blue" Knowledge

Young children sometimes blurt out statements about what moves them but seems very much beyond what they’ve read or encountered. Here, a closer look at a truly mystifying capacity.

The Emotional Intensity and Complexity of Child Prodigies

Penetrating intellect, reservoir of energy, passion and drive, empathetic embrace of others – these qualities distinguish prodigies and other highly gifted children. Most striking of all, though, is their intuitive understanding that all life is connected.

The Reverberations of Fear

Extreme fear registers not just in the individual but can actually make his or her children - and his or her children's children - more sensitive to the same fearful stimuli.

Knowing What You've Never Learned

What theory could possibly account for suddenly knowing something – intensively, thoroughly, and often obsessively – that you’ve never been taught? This is what happens with prodigies and savants.

Islands of Genius: How Savants Do What They Do

Every savant draws upon a prodigious, almost uncanny memory. But what happens in the brain to cause this? Why are almost all savants male? And how do ‘normal’ people sometimes become savants in a single stroke?

Daniel Tammet: An Autistic (and Synesthetic) Savant

The mind of Daniel Tammet, while exceptional in many ways, also reflects the experience of many types of highly sensitive people.

Sense of Self in Autism

The way we process environmental and emotional stimuli has a direct bearing on our sense of self.