In an episode of the “Revisionist History” podcast (“The Dog Will See You Now” Revisionist History, Season 6, Episode 10) host, Malcolm Gladwell dug into the fact that different species rely more heavily on one of the five primary senses. In the story he tells of the amazing success dogs have had detecting the presence of diseases and viruses in humans. This is primarily due to the superiority of the dog’s nose. A dog’s nose is hundreds, perhaps thousands of times more powerful than a human’s, so they can pick up the subtleties of scents that humans cannot even comprehend. Dogs can and do easily sniff out weapons in airports and have been proven to detect the presence of colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, COVID and hundreds of other disease. They are 99% accurate, far superior to human-created methodologies.
Humans, on the other hand, are sighted beings, hence, we rely primarily on our sight. Because of that, we develop medical tests that allow us to see evidence of the physiological problem. An x-ray is taken, a doctor reviews the x-ray and when an issue is seen, the diagnosis is established. Because of the narcissistic nature of humans, we assume dominance of our intelligence. Dogs are unfamiliar with egalitarian structures. They understand a trainer seeking out a particular smell. Their superior nose can easily provide that information. A pat on the head and a doggie-treat and they are on to the next exam.
Dogs don’t understand the excellence of their nose, it’s just their nose and sniffing is what dogs do. Humans could come to terms with the hierarchical relevance of their scents, but don’t. Our inability to prioritize the right light, in the correct location, at needed times of the day is within our grasp, but we ignore it.
It is time for humans to pay more attention to the needs of their dominant sense. We rely more heavily on sight, but we don’t act like it. We accept light glare knowingly, we contort our bodies into odd configuration to grab a touch more of the light that has been poorly positioned and we pay little attention to the color, despite our bodies needs and wants. We then complain, unable to connect cause and effect.
Dogs don’t ask for “more scents” they simply push their head out of the window when they are lucky enough to enter a car, knowing a rush of interesting, life-affirming smells will be coming their way. Humans are smarter than dogs, but we don’t necessarily act like it all the time. Especially, when it comes to lighting.