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Let me tell you about antennas.
I have come to think of human sensitivity as antennas. We all have them, of course. But we have them in different spots. Some have them pointing upward, receiving radio signals. Others have then wide and sideways, receiving TV signals. Yet another antenna may detect wind, or tide.
We all have them, and we all receive signals. But we all receive different kinds of signals, and at varying degrees of strengths.
Some of us have antennas that are more sensitive than others. For example:
- Physical: you body may react more strongly to medicine, food, and other physical conditions.
- Sensory: you may have sensitive eyes or hearing.
- Emotional: you may feel and empathize more deeply, like crying watching TV or reading a book.
The last kind is what I’ll mainly address here, though what I have to say may apply to other kinds of sensitivity.
Examples of Sensitivity
So, a sensitive antenna can get more out of a signal. Let’s say you’re hearing something. And you can discern words and meanings. However, the sensitive ears may be able to hear more clearly and may be able to obtain more information — the little nuances, what kind of accents the speakers may have, the feelings behind what they are saying, and so on.
Let’s say you’re listening to music. And you like to hear it at the volume level 5. It’s loud but comfortably so, for you.
How will that feel to a person with sensitive ears?
Another example: you grew up in a family where everyone has a “potty mouth.” One day, in a conversation to a friend, you jokingly say “ah, shut up.”
And you’re startled by the awkward silence that follows, accompanied by a pained look on your friend’s face.
Where you come from, “shut up” is a casual little phrase that is uttered often, nonchalantly.
Where your friend comes from, the same phrase is a curse or a rebuke, only reserved for more dire situations.
Your Sensitive Antenna
It’s hard, sometimes, to accept that you have a sensitive antenna.
My wife and I have largely become devoid of visual stimuli over the last few years. We don’t watch TV and we seldom watch movies in theaters. The only exception is that we rent Star Trek (currently watching Deep Space Nine) from Netflicks, and for my kids, a steady diet of A Little House on the Prairie, Veggie Tales, Berenstein Bears and Sesame Street.
This year, I saw one movie in a theater. Pixar’s Wall-E.
And I came out of the theater, motion-sick.
Now, this is not the Blair Witch Project or Cloverfield. This is Pixar. Everybody watches Pixar’s movies. They make it tolerable (well, they do more than that) for everyone’s viewing.
Except apparently, my system is now too sensitive for a modern-day cinema experience. It’s a bummer, as I haven’t heard of anyone else getting motion-sick from a mere Pixar movie. I really wanted to enjoy my one theater experience, but what goes for a general family entertainment is too strong a stimulus for me.