Everybody knows that a cat uses his whiskers as an extended sense organ. They permit him to remain at large from predators and to sense the presence of small, fast-moving “rodentry”, so that starvation is averted. Nobody would think of cutting off a cat’s whiskers. It would be cruel and unusual and the cat would not like it. It would also adversely affect how well the cat could sense, intuit and hunt. Loss of that sensual acuity would probably be perceived as a stressor, to the poor old cat.
Have you ever wondered why some primates are short haired and some are covered in long fur? What evolutionary purpose, besides warmth, might this serve? Have you noticed that the longer haired primates tend to be more elusive, in the wild? In particular, consider the primate Homo Sapiens. Here is a creature that grows abundant hair on their head and face, but relatively little on their body. That means it cannot be for warmth. What other evolutionary purpose might the growth of a lush and luxuriant head of hair serve?
Today, I read the following article and was simply amazed and stunned:
Wow! It turns out that a full head of long hair is an extension of your sensory system. It’s a sense organ – a sixth sense, if you will. With a full head of hair, you become more attuned to threats and your intuitive sense is heightened, according to the article. Without it, you’re numbed. It certainly ties in with the whole Sampson and Delilah story, doesn’t it?
That makes you notice a few things, I think. Some of the most prolific and sensitive artists had full heads of long hair. The romantic poets were renowned for their foppish locks. Isaac Newton seemed to have an extraordinarily deep intuition. Einstein’s bushy moustache is a trade mark. Musicians tend to wear their hair long. Could there be a biological, evolutionary imperative, or at least correlate, between wearing one’s hair long and being artistic, sensitive, aware, highly attuned to the immediate environment and intuitive?
Interestingly, the image of a bearded boffin is also ingrained in our consciousness. Does their facial hair aid or even signal their ability to fathom deep insights into their particular field of enquiry? It’s also more common for women to wear their hair long than it is for men. Does this correlate to their greater purported powers of intuition and their generally acknowledged greater sensitivity and empathy? Fascinating questions, aren’t they?
It also might explain why society frowns upon long haired men and looks upon them with a modicum of distrust. It might tell us why the military insists on almost denuding every head of hair, in the services. It’s probably nothing to do with head lice. Perhaps those in power are strangely aware that those with long hair can sense their deceptions, their naked power plays and the threats to their unconstrained actions that people with an ability to sense such malice, early and acutely, might pose. They might prefer to have their underlings clean shaven and crew cut, because it numbs them to the evil things they intend. Short haired people may be more compliant or less prone to fight or flight, when threatened. That or they sense the danger too late to be effective against it.
This is, of course, wild speculation on my part, but I think and feel it has a deep grain of truth to it, somehow. I intuitively know that long haired people tend to be more sensitive. That’s my sweeping empirical observation and generalization. Could it be the case that artists, as a cohort, tend to have longer hair and that the longer their hair, the more acutely they sense the world around them, especially those things that pose a danger to life and limb? Maybe that ability to notice with heightened senses is what enables them to create beauty, music, movement, colour, sound and texture. It’s an intriguing hypothesis, isn’t it?
Perhaps short hair and clean shaven faces are less a mark of our civilisation and more an amplification of our brutality. Who knows?