We write mostly about what we know. Or what we don’t know. What we imagine or what others tell us, in their words, some fictional, others not so.
Last week I had a trippy 15-minute high-tech operation to implant a new lens in my eye. Tonight I watched, with this new bionic eye, the story of Rocky Braat. Somehow I’d like to tie the two ends together to meet somewhere here on the page, both stories swirling through my thoughts.
How infinitely fortunate I am to have access to such care (cataracts are the leading cause, and unnecessarily so, of blindness in the world). A few calls. A few visits. Zip-zap. Fixed. My vision was basically perfect before the cataract made everything seem under a curtain of vaseline or under a wave. Now, though, it is amazing. Crystal clear. Sharp. Defined. A miracle. Perfect.
Or is it? Do we strive here too for perfection? What is perfection, anyway… particularly when applied to our senses? Uniformity?
In my job I spent many hours in highly controlled Kelvin booths reviewing color proofs. With the arrogance and ignorance of youth, I thought that my own perception was accurate, real. I was definitive in my comments, “Too warm, too cool, boost this color and that. Watch the register.”
A fly sees the world one way (freaky!), an eagle another, but I for one thought that all those of a species, including our own, saw basically the same…at least until we got old and needed glasses, which I didn’t. Ha.
I spent the first few days after the surgery as though I were seeing for the first time, fascinated. Covering one eye, then the other. Trying to describe what I saw. With the “new” eye I see things sharper, yet the colors are markedly different, the whites so very blindingly white, the blues deep and endless. One eye sees softness, the other crispness and contrast. My perspective is not only new, but is different from one eye to the other. My brain is busy processing both images separately and then combining them into my new reality. No one else sees as I do, and no two people see alike. Nor did we ever.
We don’t see alike, we don’t hear or feel or smell the same things. Our senses aren’t black/white, on/off. Even at their best they are different and when they are gone there are infinite degrees of loss, not like the suddenness in Saramago’s “Blindness” or the film “Perfect Sense.”
Our limitations and our freedoms are rooted in not only our own perspectives but in how we deal with those of others. Life is matter but it is truly our perception of this matter, whose subtleties remain mysterious, ephemeral, unquantifiable, affected by atmosphere, by our brains, by our hearts.
In this world where we like to be able to measure and judge, to qualify and quantify, this may seem disturbing, yet it is precisely this that gives it such beauty! If we are stuck in our own perspective, certain that it is the only one of value, then it becomes a rut which suffocates. If, however, we open our perspective to include the myriad paths of others, as many as there are people or more, then the world is infinite. How do you see it? How does it feel? Describe it for me. Ahhhhh, yes.
But let me not forget Rocky Braat.
Steve Hoover’s unforgettable documentary, Blood Brother allows us to see through the eyes of Rocky this other world, how harsh and despairing, how joyful and full of hope. It’s all about perspective, how the light hits our eyes and how it travels to our brains and if we let it into our hearts or push it away.
It’s all about love, really, and you don’t need a bionic eye to see its beauty.