On the senses

From Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, that philosopher of the kitchen:

‘Aim and Action of the Senses

Let us now examine the system of our senses taken as a whole. We shall see that the Author of Creation had two aims, one of which is the consequence of the other, namely the preservation of the individual and the continuation of the species.

Such is the destiny of man, considered as a sensitive being; it is towards this dual goal that all his activities are directed.

The eye perceives external objects, reveals the marvels with which man is surrounded, and teaches him that he is part of a great whole.

Hearing percieves sounds, not only as an agreeable sensation, but also as a warning of the movement of potentially dangerous bodies.

Feeling, in the form of pain, gives immediate notice of all bodily wounds.

The hand, that faithful servant, not only prepares man’s withdrawal from danger, and protects him on his way, but also lays hold by choice of those objects which instinct tells it are most suitable for making good the losses caused by the maintenance of life.

Smell investigates those objects: for noxious substances almost always have an evil odour.

Then taste makes its decision, the teeth are set to work, the tongue joins with the palate in savouring, and soon the stomach begins its task of assimilation.

And now a strange langour invades the body, objects lose their colour, the body relaxes, the eyes close, everything disappears, and the senses are in absolute repose.

When he awakes, man sees that nothing has changed in his surroundings, but a secret fire is aflame in his breast, a new faculty has come into play; he feels an urge to share his existence with another being.

This disturbing and imperious urge is common to both sexes; it brings them together, and unites them; and when the seed of a new existence has been sown, they can sleep in peace; they have just fulfilled their most sacred duty, by ensuring the perpetuation of the species.

Such are the general philosophical observations which I have thought fit to lay before my readers….’

I’d like to know what he was eating.

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