Sunday, January 23, 2005

Ways of seeing

At church today Fr. Rick talked about the different ways that people see the world around them. He specifically mentioned an optometrist that experimented with the notion that how we see, the actual mechanics of each individuals sensory interpretation, determines a lot about who we are.

This optometrist was of the opinion that if two people swapped eyes, they would be unable to navigate the room they just entered because the simple fact of seeing is so different from one person to the next.

Is that true? Certainly people bring their own set of experiences, expectations, memory, and past history to every life encounter. But do we really see the world so differently?

Anyone who has ever hung out with my friends for any length of time can attest to the fact that we do approach the world differently. Is this a function of our personality, our education, or our expectations of ourselves, of others, and of the world that we want to see? Do we really see differently?

I do know that I (at least superficially) see differently than others, because I have periodic double-vision thanks to a right eye that won't stay still and wanders a bit. This disrupts ideal stereoscopic vision and results in image duplication. So, I see two of things when I stare. How does that affect the way I view the world and how it should be? If someone else borrowed my eyes, would they gain some sort of insight into my personality and my life? (This is all sounding a bit like Being John Malkovich, but I think similar questions are being raised.

I don't know. I suppose I just wanted to throw the ideas out there and see what other people thought. Church sermons (the good ones especially) make me get all introspective.


Ron Southern said...

Most of people seeing things "differently" from one another is psychological, you know that. Now, if someone stuffed a dog or cat's eyes in your head, you would see things differently!

Jack Thunder said...

i don't think the differences are physical, but we definitely see things fundamentally differently from one another. and it makes me . . . sad.
why people can’t see things MY way, i just can’t understand.
everyone is determined to believe whatever they want to believe. Americans, anyway. and so many of them are hellbent on being individualists, yet are consistently uncritical of the influences upon them. most of the time they see things according to their upbringing and early environment which have created deeply ingrained, inflexible worldviews. and, when they choose to listen to others (pastors, politicians, etc.), they seek out whoever tells them that 1) they are okay as they are and 2) other viewpoints are a threat to them. this feeds everyone’s sense of Entitlement, which is all people need to justify how they “see things.” whether it’s from Mel Gibson’s “The Passion”-induced Victim Politics or 1960s-style ‘the-personal-is-political’ Identity Politics, everyone gets to be as selfish, entitled, and stubborn as they want to be. you can’t take their Freedom!!!
hmm. i started off with a joke. sorry i can’t end on one. . .