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There are many different degrees and qualities of panoramic seeing and listening, just as there are with focused seeing and listening.

There is an enormous range of possibilities and mixtures.

Daydreaming is always focused on the dream, usually passive in that it's not consciously directed, and while we daydream we often gawp vacantly into a ca. 90° empty panoramic space. Then there's the blank fixed stare of Christmas shopping...

States of intense concentration and absorption can be passive or active, panoramic or focused.

Focusing is passively absorbing with entertainment and a good comedy, or active when painting a masterpiece, calculating maths, or sport. I would also place beautiful music and love among the passively absorbing, but the lists and definitions of different types of focused sensing seem endless.

I don't think there are as many forms of panoramic sensing as with focused sensing... Panoramic sensing is a far simpler way of sensing. But focusing has been developed and studied for thousands of years.

I can't really define all the different qualities and intensities of panoramic seeing and sensing. There are worlds still to discover.

My Experience of Panoramic Sensing
At first we see all the regular movements, and the cars always drive on the same roads, and the dog walkers follow the same paths, humans seem to almost always make predictable movements – they stick to the paths, they are almost always horizontal, and they have a predictable momentum, compare this to a squirrel or a bird, the sudden starts and stops, the irrational routes they take from A to B...

When it's wind still at night, or lying in bed looking at my boring ceiling, i just see the still colours on the walls, the shadows and light in the sky, but then a fly goes by or an aeroplane in the sky – and i notice the movement straight away.

When the world is still or regular and predictable then i sense everything, but mostly it's the trees and bushes swaying in the wind, and i dont think i would really notice i was receptive panoramically, except that when something quick starts happening i notice it, often coming in from the periphery, or from behind a building.

But on busy days, then i realise something is happening which is nothing like what i do with focused vision, watching 2 or 3 birds and then a squirrel jumps from a tree... for a split second i'm only aware of the new event, the squirrel – i dont focus on him directly, but i know my mind has recognised "squirrel" and afterwards i am aware of the place where he's sitting, while watching the 3 birds...

And when the birds have flown by, then i notice the bushes swaying gently again... It's always the quicker things which dominate the attention... even the miniature flies dancing chaotically right up close, sometimes for a second i think a little fly up close is a blackbird in the sky... and if there are a lot of little flies, it seems i can ignore them... maybe they become regular, predictable, background.

I sense the quick unpredictable things, and the more unpredictable and quicker they are, (or larger so generally nearer) the more noticable it is... this is my experience and it just seems so sensible and appropriate that animals would need to sense like this in order to survive.

The Basic Types of Panoramic Sensing

Peripheral Sensing

The English term 'peripheral senses' describes how humans use them – peripherally. This peripheral usage is typical when driving a car, and then it's subliminal... as soon as we see something we turn to focus on it.

When daydreaming, relaxed cycling or wandering in nature, we gaze at a ca. 90° panoramic area. This is truly a peripheral, a superficial, usage.

We often listen peripherally, it isn't an astute searching and waiting for sounds, but it is ready to consciously recognise .

Panoramic Sensing

Latin based languages refer to these senses as 'panoramic'. And this is a far better way to describe their potential.

The quality of panoramic visual awareness depends on the field of vision, horizontally and vertically. (One of the problems of modern city life is the exceptional amount of horizontal stimuli, and they are all designed to stimulate us to focus.)

Most humans occasionally experience a generalised panoramic connection with everything. It happens when we see wide landscapes, or look at the stars. It usually only lasts for a few seconds before we start focusing on something specific.

The Panoramic Background and The Random Changes

Once we overcome the habitual urge to focus, we can start to explore our environment panoramically.

In a quiet environment, in wind still night, sensing panoramically is exactly that.

Then the trees start swaying and its raining, and we notice everyday sounds which incorporate change, like bird song, or the wind and rustling leaves in the undergrowth. These can all be beautiful and very relaxing, for humans and probably animals.

But for animals, noticing the background is pointless and could even be dangerous. It's when changes and movements in the environment happen suddenly and unexpectedly – a crunching of leaves or a change in the bird song – that it's important for animals to notice and possibly react.

It's this openness to anything quick which is happening within the panoramic field which is vital to animals.

It happens quite naturally, after watching and listening panoramically for a few minutes in a crowded active environment, the background fades away, and it's the sudden changes and movements which we notice.

This results in a sort of multi-focus on all the random movements happening within the 'big picture'.

This way of sensing is a being ready and waiting for things which aren't there yet. It's a pre-emptive way of sensing.

There is at present no word to describe this way animals (and humans) can use their senses to detect just the events happening, all the moving things, all the changes, with almost no awareness of the background panorama.

A New Word

A new word is needed. See The Lack of Name and Cultural Recognition for more on this.

At present the word panoramic seems the clearest and safest to describe all forms of panoramic sensing.

Please continue with Going On The Lookout

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