Russell Brand & Professor Barry Smith debunk the myth of the five senses

Other | Monday 26th February 2018 |

Russell Brand, showbiz celebrity-turned-political and spiritual thinker, has been running a podcast for just under year called Under the Skin. On it, he combines his eloquently expressed, often quite general and abstract (this is no bad thing) thoughts and observations about the status quo and its failings with the specific, highly-specialised expertise of his guests, that range hugely in their approach.

On January 7th, he interviewed Professor Barry Smith, a philosopher, neuroscientist and psychologist at the University of London. Prof Smith is an expert on the science of senses, and the discussion centred around the idea that there only being five senses is a total myth (in fact the episode is entitled Beyond the 5 Senses Myth). According to Smith, there are anywhere between 22 and 33 senses, and they all collaborate with each, building a complex and subtle picture of the world that operates on many different levels.

This is a great listen, as the conversation is very wide-ranging in scope, and achieves engaging depths whilst always remaining relevant to the core topic. It is also packed with loads of great information, and listening to this gives you an idea of how much you could learn from the Under the Skin podcast as a whole. For example, there are odours in shampoo that increase the sensitivity of the nerve endings in your skin. The result of this is that your hair feels softer and fuller without it necessarily being so.

After a good deal of discussion about the senses as phenomena, Brand pulls the conversation into a political discussion. You might wonder how this is possible given that they are talking about brain functions and how we perceive the world, and actually so does Smith, but Brand succeeds in explaining himself. They talk about consumerism, marketing, power, change and even how the hierarchy of sense can be traced to the dominating mode of consciousness in our civilisation.

Professor Barry Smith

This podcast is a great one if you don’t need to be concentrating on anything else, it is captivating and needs to be followed. Guestlist highly recommends it and encourages everyone to get on board and support Russell Brand in his work!

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