Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Seeing Clearly Aside

I don't know why, but an article I read years ago in "Whole Earth Review" popped into my head a couple of days ago and has been rolling around. The article was on night vision, or more accurately, seeing at night. The article went into detail about how rods and cones work (don't remember any of that stuff) but what it comes down to is that during daylight, one's vision is effective at seeing whatever it is that one is looking at. I look at my child's face or the computer screen or a bird in the sky and I see each of these things clearly (well, with my glasses, anyway). At night, though, looking directly at an object makes it less clear. At night, one's peripheral vision works more effectively than direct vision. From a historical/evolutionary perspective, one does not usually need to look directly and intensely at a particular object at night when one is running to hunt or escape or even just sitting around a fire, one needs to be able to see the big picture well. At night, one sees an object best when one does not look directly at that object but to the side of it, seeing it in the periphery. Interesting, eh? And obvious, although not something one usually thinks of until it's brought to one's attention.

The WER article went on to tell how one can improve one's night seeing by gluing a foot-long stick to the bill of one's cap so that the tip of the stick is about nose level, and staring at it's tip while walking at night, allowing one to learn to rely on one's peripheral vision.

So, this has been rattling around in my noggin; a lesson of some sort, but I know not what or why. For sure, some serious metaphor potential here. Maybe it's about learning to use intuition instead of logic. Or maybe it's time to take a walk in the moonlight. I don't know but I thought I'd share.

No comments: