Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (10th Ed.) defines vision as:
1. the act or power of imagination
3. mode of seeing or conceiving
6. special sense by which the qualities of an object (as color, luminosity, shape and size) constituting its appearance are perceived and which is mediated by the eye
I appreciate that “vision” as metaphor is referenced first, and more, than vision as a physical sense. The ordering subtly hints at how broad and complex vision can be. Even the process of converting electromagnetic radiation into electrical signals is a lesson of complexity, in this realm, termed “transduction.”
Like the brain processes involved in receiving and interpreting touch, the system for vision is awesome. First, we take in the world upside down. Second, the right eye relays information to the left hemisphere and vice versa. So when light reaches the retina, images are formed that are upside down and left/right reversed (Okami, 2014). Third, the photoreceptors that engage in transduction, the rods and cones are in the fovea, at the back of the eye. Thus electromagnetic radiation has to traverse the entire physical eye before reaching the rods and cones. While not an efficient system, it works.
As electrical signals, the information goes to the thalamus where it relayed to the visual cortex in the occipital lobe. It is here where color occurs: the brain, not objects, have color. The color is based on the wavelength of light reflected from objects (Okami, 2014).
Dark matter is not visible. It is not like an atom or microbiome or genetic material that require a special tool such as a microscope to be seen and read. It is not like 3-D effects that may require certain glasses to be optimized to full effect. Dark matter really is not visible.
It is currently used in astronomy and cosmology help correct models used to determine gravitational effects, mass, and velocities. There were discrepancies until this dark matter, theoretically, resolves the discrepancies. It accounts for gravitational effects that appear to be the result of invisible mass. This matter, possibly real, possibly only theoretical, neither emits nor absorbs light
Wrapping my head around this concept of invisible dark matter that yet causes events to occur reifies how even what is not visible plays a vital role in our universe, in our lives. The following exercises focus on what is visible to the naked eye yet contemplate what is functioning that you cannot see. Also reflect on how your world would be different if you didn’t take in color or if you lacked sight and focused on other senses for navigation.
Concrete tools to expand vision
1. Visualize your life as a movie. What would the title be? Who would play you? What would some of the climaxes look like? How would you want the film to end?
2. Take advantage of your brain’s ability to take in wavelength as color. Today, play with color. Paint broad swathes of color on a sheet of paper, back of a cereal box, or canvas. Collect wildflowers. Write your next work document with a bold palette (changing to black as necessary before printing!). Send your email to a friend that recommends this blog in periwinkle blue or neon pink.
3. As exemplified in Webster’s definition, use vision as a metaphor. What is your vision for the next year: hopes, goals? What is your vision for the next five and ten years? What steps can you take today that move you towards, not away from, your vision?
4. Find your blind spot. To “see” the blind spot, close one eye and fix your gaze on the “X” with the screen about six inches away. Adjust this distance backward or forward until the red dot disappears. This occurs because it is here that there is an absence of rods and cones (Okami, 2014).