In the time of William Shakespeare, there were commonly reckoned to be five wits and five senses. The five wits were sometimes taken to be synonymous with the five senses, but were otherwise also known and regarded as the five inward wits, distinguishing them from the five senses, which were the five outward wits. (From Wikipedia via Ketutar Writing.)
It sort of makes sense, that we have five inward wits or senses. I experience my outward world through the five ‘tangible’ senses – Hearing, smelling, seeing, feeling and tasting. But with what do I experience my inward world? What faculties do I use when I build a world for a story, inhabit it with beings and creatures that I would never encounter in my outward world? Imagination. But what is ‘imagination’? I’d like to think that I have an implicit understanding of what I imagine. That the imagery of buildings I describe in my writing, or the feelings of people and creatures that I let interact with each other in a story have somehow manifested within me. How else would I know to give ‘sound’ to a ‘growl’ or ‘taste’ to a piece of bread dipped in honey? Through the use of my five inward wits of course!
Unfortunately, in our modern world those five inward are lumped together into such a vague concept as ‘imagination’ and ‘sense’. How poor the world has become!
Because with my inward ‘taste’ I know just how good that bread dipped in honey is, and the ‘sound’ of that ‘growl’… neither the bread nor the growl is ever as tangible in the outward world. Isn’t that fascinating?
Inspired by: Ketutar writing: Five senses and wits