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Thursday, July 29, 2004
I found myself sitting just east of Logan Pass in Glacier National Park admiring the vista to the east. Or at least I was trying to admire it. For some reason the view wasn't all that inspiring. Then I got to thinking, all the vistas I had seen on my trip were the same way. I'd just walk away from them feeling like I had missed something important. I heard the joke but wasn't getting the punch line.
Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Real-life vistas are historically alien to me. Growing up in flat farm country (Western NY) provided me with limited vista viewing opportunities. So in what form were vistas presented to me? Vistas came to me via television, postcards & picture books, all in 2-dimensional form. So how can one fully appreciate a vista if it's only in 2-dimensions?
I believe my past has conditioned my brain to "see" real-life vistas in 2-D. My eyes are telling my brain 3-D but my brain is interpreting the feedback as 2-D. No wonder I would come away from a vista somewhat dissatisfied. So with that knowledge in hand, I now find myself constantly reminding my brain that yes, you are really looking at the "real-deal". It has depth in addition to length and width.
You know, there must be a lot of folks like me. Our world is a somewhat near-sighted world. Think about your day. How far do you typically focus your eyes. If working in an office, perhaps across the cubicle expanse to the building's opposing wall. If at home, maybe from the couch to the television. If in the yard, perhaps as far as three houses down the street. And if reading a book, probably no more than 18 inches. By and large we use out near-sight quite frequently and or far-sight pretty infrequently.
What impact does that have on us? As a species I think it's safe to say we evolved in an environment that required far more use of our far-sight. Could it be that being more near-sighted and less far-sighted has ramifications beyond the obvious physical mechanics of sight? How about its affect on how we view the world metaphorically? Does our near-sightedness swing our focus of the world too close to ourselves, influencing and feeding our selfishness and self-worship? Do we lose sight of the fact that it's a big world out there and we ourselves are rather insignificant when looking at the big picture?
I wonder about folks who live in environments that provide a multitude of vistas. Such folks exercise their far-sightedness frequently. Are these folks less selfish, more forgiving of their limitations, and more in tune with the big picture of life? Do they find greater peace in their daily activities? Do they feel better connected to the world around them?
So many questions. Think about them. You may have a revelation of your own.