The Nuance of Vision
Updated: May 9, 2020
I was going to school one day on my bus, and while staring out the window into the distance, I couldn’t stop thinking about something. I’ve always been told that the images we see are just reflections of what the sun bounces off of. Then I couldn’t help but wonder if we sometimes see different things—whether that be the setting itself, an object’s presence, what our minds are picking up on. That then led me to another thought (it was a long bus ride so there is a lot of time to go down the rabbit hole). What is everyone else seeing? What are people picking up on from where they are standing? What is making this experience? It’s all different because no one thinks exactly alike, but then that prompts the question, what is the difference between vision and seeing?
There is a big difference between vison and seeing. Vision is simple: its definable, it is something that can be measured. Vision is the use of one’s eyes to make picture of the life being reflected off of objects. It is something where when you go to the eye doctor, and they can assess the quality of your eyesight on a universal scale.
Seeing is something more magical. It is something that is so subjective that it can’t exactly be defined. It is a beauty that everyone possesses.
Right away, people may be frustrated at me for saying that. People may argue that it is unjust to say such a thing because it is offensive to the blind community. I beg to differ. I think that they have and equal opportunity at seeing, if not better.
Seeing is putting into context the experiences around oneself. It is drawing attention to certain details in order to be present. That does not mean that everyone needs to know the exact color, the exact measurements, the exact position of something. None of that stuff matters because none of that is memorable. If you were to reflect on a memory from five years ago, I am almost one hundred percent positive that what you remember has nothing to do with any of those specific details, but rather is a memory that is reflective of the experience and general picture that your mind created by what intrigued your senses. Seeing is realizing the importance of why your brain is drawn to something. That is why seeing is something that is so individual to everyone. I might go to a circus and see the giant bunch of balloons that are being handed out to kids. The person next to me might be color blind but take notice to the flowing movements of the acrobats. The person next to them might be unable to hear, but they still laugh at the comical actions of the clowns. The person sitting next to them might be blind but appreciate the circus musicality and taste of that well-known buttery circus popcorn. This could go on and on. Nevertheless, everyone under that circus tent is seeing the beauty of the show.
It is honestly amazing what one person’s mind can do with all the details around them. There was a moment in my life where I had temporary optical paralysis in my left eye, AKA I was cross eyed and could only see double images unless I wore prism glasses. Because it was such a strain, sometimes it was just more comfortable to keep my eyes closed. It was at that moment that I realized how much my other senses could pick up and allow me to see despite the visual darkness. My mind was quickly creating pictures of what was happening around me and what my thoughts were. I was seeing even though my vision wasn’t working.
When I think about the world today and seeing, I realize that sometimes vision itself is a block to sight. People without vision often have a better grasp on our world. They don’t automatically see or assume gender, color, religion, height, weight, any of that sort. Typically, listening is relied on, so the image they create is one that is respective of what people make of themselves.
Seeing is a powerful tool that manifests itself in all different ways. It is an experience of choosing what you want to observe in people, events, places. It is a creation where your senses are the paints on a canvas. It is an opportunity to make the world what you want to see it as. Vision is one thing that is good, but seeing is what actually matters. Perhaps real eyes realize nothing. Seeing is living; seeing is believing.