Two Old Codgers

How the World strikes us

Bill and I were nattering about seeing. Seeing is something we do without thinking, the eyes

are open and you see but we decided there was more to it than that.

As we talked I reckon we discovered nothing. I don’t mean we didn’t discover anything - I mean we discovered ‘nothing’. Bear with me and just go along with this thought.

You are looking down the street. Buildings, traffic, street signs and people. Your eyes allow you to see something like a horizontal 120 degrees. Because you have two eyes, the centre of your vision is the sharpest and clearest whilst the outside edges are less clear.

Try this, move your head
AND eyes slightly to the right so that this screen is at the left hand edge of you vision. Without moving your eyes, how easily can you read what is written? You will find that you have to move your eyes so that words are centred. Again, look at the whole screen and there are lots and lots of words but as we start to read (Do it slowly) the eyes, or perhaps it is the mind, pick out each word individually. It gets worse! If you see a strange word you will pick out each letter individually.

But back to our street view, as we look our eyes catch sight of a clown.

‘Catches sight’ is a phrase we use but what does it mean? For me it means our eyes move in our head and the sharpest part of our vision is centred on the figure. The brain does even more, it concentrates on the clown. As he comes closer the area of attention narrows even further. We are still aware of everything in the street but it as though we are selecting out the one eye catching individual. As he comes nearer we probably scan him from head to foot - funny suit, fluffy boots and bright red hair.

We can’t reproduce in a photograph how we perceive the street scene but it is as though the image is slightly fuzzy, not as bright but the thing which caught our eye stands out.

Watch what happens as he comes closer and eventually walks past us. Our eyes follow him but then he moves out of our field of vision into ‘nothing’. Mentally we assume he is continuing on his way but visually he has moved into nothing. No blackness , no grey mist, just nothing.

If I close my eyes it goes black, however I cannot describe what is outside my visual range, it isn’t black, it really is ‘nothing’. Our clown might lodge in our memory banks but will quickly drop out of our immediate interest as we look once more to the busy street until our eye catches something else.

One of the old chestnuts is “Would you rather be blind or deaf?”. I think most people would
White stick
say they would rather lose their hearing. There seems to be an inherent fear of losing sight. However it may be worth thinking about. I have no answers and hope I never experience either.

Going blind means you never see a loved ones face, the smile of a baby, a wonderful sunset, even favourite TV programmes or movies - so many things we enjoy.

On the other hand if I go profoundly deaf I will never again hear a songbird, a wonderful piece of music, the sound of someone saying “I love you” and perhaps most important of all I would never again sit and talk with my friends.

Old men talking

Once again, no answers - just questions but we hope it makes you think!

I also found 'The eyes have it' fascinating. As I slowly lose my hearing, I've begun to change my thinking on which of my senses are more important to me. If I were to lose my hearing completely, I would be unable to take part in almost all my favourite interests in life - talking, counselling, listening to and playing music, hearing nature's finest when I'm out walking and more. I don't want to lose my sight either but if push ever comes to shove, I think retaining my hearing might edge it.
Makes you think!!

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