Sunday, March 27, 2011

Awareness - Darwin

There is a slight throbbing of the underside of the tongue, and a roughness of the back of the tongue on the roof of the mount. There is also a tightening of the upper throat, along with an indistinct pressure in the sinuses. Saliva glands activate upon the thought of relief, but produce little output – although the attempts can be felt. The tongue thickens, and seems to fill the entire mount, pushing against the teeth and forward section of the hard palate. Lips seem hard and rough, self-gluing at the slightest opportunity.

Other parts of the body activate, drawing attention to a sense of need. Nail folds and fingertips become slightly itchy, leading to an overall sense of discomfort. The stomach tilts slightly, as if to draw inward. Breathing becomes shallower, to allow for the most flexibility in gasping for a last breath.

The device is smooth and cold, and makes a slight ringing as I grip it lightly. Picking it up causes a slight juggling act, as muscles tense and release to maintain balance without upset. Cantilevers and supporting structures move into action, a complex set of angles are automatically generated for a complex three-dimensional movement that is visually similar to Calder mobile.

Approach causes many simultaneous reactions. The head bows, neck relaxed and loose (although tight only a minute ago). Salivary glands give one last attempt, to no avail. The entire mouth becomes enraged as blood vessels prepare glands for stimulation. My lips form an embouchure designed to protect sensitive teeth from collision and shock.

There is, thankfully, no smell, since no smell could be pleasant. There is also no color, reinforced by a steady gaze through to the bottom of the device – a determined effort to prevent any contaminants from entering the process.

First touch signals relief throughout. Lips immediately become soft and supple. The tip of the tongue reaches out to meet the entrant, breaking it into two rivulets that each find their own way back to the center, automatically cupped section of the tongue. My eyes close. A ripple of the back of the tongue, top of the palate and back of the throat removes the first wave.

My teeth jolt with the change in temperature. Every filling announces itself with a slight blip of pain, while current dental problems produce an almost audible twang.

No taste. Thankfully, no taste.

Initial actions push waves to the back and down, but subsequent waves are pushed to the side and downward by the tongue, acting as the oral logistics manager. The entire mouth becomes softer and less intrusive. The tongue seems to shrink, better fitting into its place of equilibrium. More waves are taken, with relief throughout the body. Fingertips and nailfolds relax. The stomach expands to take its new cargo, returning to normal. Sinuses relax as well, leading to reduced tightening of the throat.

The lever mechanism continues its task, due to the changing requirements to access the material. Head tilts back, forcing the waves to now push directly to the back of the throat. My eyes reopen, reinforcing the completion of the task.

The levers’ process reverts with almost mechanical precision. No mental or sensual activity is required to return the device to its origin. The mind is so taken with satiation that it seems impossible to sense any of the feelings of its journey, other than the gentle bump that signals its end.

{Drinking a glass of still water when thirsty. Device = glass, material/waves = water}

It is difficult to remove the context from the activity, but I attempted to do so as much as possible. Having performed this activity almost since birth, it was difficult to force myself to notice things that had become automatic. I also noticed the idea of sensory masking: for example, the feelings and sensations of satiation were so significant that there was practically no sense of returning the glass to the table – even when I tried to pay attention!

It was also interesting to see how much physical reaction (and therefore sensory input) was involved in the emotional state of anticipation. My post-experience feelings are of exhaustion!


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