Thursday, September 23, 2004

Many ways of seeing.

I was reading a post at Nomen est Numen and towards the end she tells a little story about her eyesight, her need for glasses and how it felt to take them off to walk home.

"Walking home from the gym this morning, I decided to give my eyes a break, and pocketed my glasses for the trip home. I was prepared to be incapacitated. I know how poor my sight is.

Instead of being paralyzed, though, I was plunged into a beautiful world. I could make out only those things that were closest to me; anything further than a few short feet was drowned in a brilliant puddle of color. "

At the end she notes: "I want to say I saw everything with new eyes, but this would be trite and untrue. I saw everything with my eyes, and it was good,

I couldn't live like this, certainly. It's only because the path was familiar that I was able to navigate so easily. Still, though, the perspective this experiment gave me was wonderful. I took off my glasses, and was in the world again.

Perhaps there is a moral after all. Perhaps clarity is not always obvious."

I was struck for several reasons, but it reminded me of an "experiment" my grandmother mentioned (in the late 19sixties) when she got her first pair of bifocals. She said she would sometimes walk home from the bus stop after work, deliberately looking through the obvious line between the two prescriptions. At first, it made her dizzy, but she repeated the "experiment" over and over. She said it gave her a different perspective, blended some things together, helped her notice different colors and aspects about the world and reminded her about how many different ways there were of seeing, feeling and thinking about things.

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