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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Do You See What I See?

Or hear what I hear?

Probably not.

When we studied the eye last year, we learned about all the parts of the eye and how they make it work. But, we also learned about how the optic nerve carries that raw information to the brain. It's the brain that tells us what we are seeing.

How do my experiences, prior knowledge, beliefs and feelings (or lack of any of the above) affect how I interpret the world around me?

Optical illusions work, not because the eye can be fooled, but because the brain can be fooled.

Think about color.

It's nearly impossible to share a color with someone without showing it to them. And how do we even know that they are "seeing" the same color we are, even if we call it by the same name?

The other day, the kiddos were painting some wooden snakes (the kind that slither when you flick your wrist), and Mary asked me to mix some "turquoise" paint. Turquoise. So, I took some blue, added a little yellow and some white and got what I thought was a pretty, dark turquoise color.

Mary: "That's not turquoise enough."
Mama: ?
Mary: "I wish we had that color." (points to the green painted head of David's snake).
Mama: "But that's GREEN." (note: our green paint had dried out, so David mixed just enough to use on the head of his snake.)
Mary: "Yes! That's the color!"
Mama: "Well, that's easy. I can mix that color." {grin}

I see a bright green, a little on the bluish side, she sees turquoise. Now I know how my hubby feels when I say the washcloth is "coral" when he insists it's red.

If I can't hope to even see what you are seeing, how can I expect to truly know what you are experiencing?

Each of us has a completely unique experience of life, and no one truly knows another's experience. Not even twins, raised in the same household. A thicker umbilical cord, having the first breath of air, having a strawberry birthmark over the eye...did any of these things make a difference to who these individuals are and how they perceive the world around them?

Compound that with the thousands of different possibilities in each day of our lives. God has truly created us as completely unique individuals---it is impossible for any 2 of us to be truly identical, even if we share the same chromosomes.

If I can't truly know the life experience of someone near and dear to me, how can I hope to know and understand the stranger walking down the street? Or sitting in the next pew?

1 comment:

  1. Interesting post.
    We just red the book, Hello Red Fox by Eric Carle and it ties in with this.
    Eric Carle has written about color and how the eyes perceive them.
    Here is a link to his work on this subject:
    Well, popped by from the Hip Homeschool Hop. You have a nice blog. Looks like you do neat activities with your family. Look forward to reading your blog pssts more in depth soon, too.
    Have a nice week and hope that you will pop by my blog,


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