On Giants' Shoulders

Monday, February 07, 2011

How Do You See the World

A little over a week ago I had to go to the eye doctor to get tested for new glasses (old ones had a broken ear piece). It was an interesting process, new eye doctor, computer mapping of the inside of my eye, etc. At one point I commented that with my alternating eyes I didn't have very good binocular vision, and the eye doctor corrected me, "you don't have any binocular vision." It's really odd because I see the world differently than people whose eyes work together apparently. I have pretty poor depth perception as a result. So it's hard to park a car, sometimes hard to even thread a needle. However, I see, well, the way I've always seen. I didn't know for years and years and years that I didn't see just like everyone else. It causes all kinds of odd problems. I have a very difficult time reading a number that has multiples of one digit in a row. The other day I was trying to type out an e-mail address and had a terrible time figuring out if it had two lls in one of the words. I sometimes have to take a pointer and point to each separate letter. It's the reason I can see the ends of the lines of the eye chart and not so much the letters in the middle.

I think that sometimes the way we see the world in other ways can be just as deceptive. Our culture teaches us to see the world from one perspective, a Muslim culture, or a truly Christian one would see it from a very different perspective. Now the dictatorship of relativism would say that all of these ways are just different ways of seeing that there is no one true right way. Yet the serious Muslim, the serious Christian, or even the serious atheist would disagree. Either some of these things are true, or they simply are not. My way of seeing with my eyes is a distortion of what is really there. It isn't that my way of seeing is just as valid as anyone else's way of seeing. I am at a disadvantage because I can't tell whether there's enough space to park between two cars, unless there's actually more than enough space. I'm at a disadvantage because trying to back between two cars in the driveway inevitably brings me too close to one in an attempt to avoid the other.

In the same way, if the way we are seeing the world philosophical is flawed it may have even more eternal consequences for us.

I've been involved of late in a difference of opinion with some people. It doesn't matter how logical my argument, we just come at it from two different points of view. A lot of the time I feel like my pragmatism is battling against a warped sort of idealism. I think I'm seeing clearly, but so do they.

The way we are seeing, and whether we are truly seeing clearly makes a big difference. From the outside no one can tell that my depth perception is absent. It's not like my blind niece, who clearly can't see (although sometimes one would think she could, with all that she's able to do). I wonder whether the same thing is true sometimes with people who aren't able to "see" clearly on other issues. Perhaps there's a sort of depth perception missing. Or maybe it's me that's lacking binocular vision there as well. My family gets pretty sick of my lousy depth perception. People get really tired of having to do things like back my car out of a driveway crowded with vehicles. I get pretty tired of having to ask for it. I get pretty tired of having to explain a legitimate factual point over and over again to someone who's holding onto a prejudice. Patience is a virtue, however, and sometimes it takes a lot of patience to help someone see a different view of the world or to understand their's. Sometimes, someone just has no binocular vision.


At 3:37 PM, Blogger Benedict Girl said...

it's ok, you park fine in front of my house! :) haha though I have noticed on occasion your tea cup drifts further and further away from the target of the tea cup when trying to place it on the table. I'd trade a bit of binocular vision every once in a while though if I could knit as well as you do while reading at the same time! Thats too cool!

At 7:01 AM, Blogger Liz said...

I park fine in front of our house only because there's a completely open spot I can just drive into. You can get to be that good at knitting with practice, but I'll never have binocular vision.


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