A profoundly insightful perspective on human perception by my friend Paul Pinfield. I look forward to more of his articles.
We Humans Haven’t a Clue!
by Paul Pinfield
The anthropcentric demeamor of humanity to all creatures on this small planet is causing great suffering to others and blighting our capacity to recognise, let alone understand, the other worlds that exist parallel to our own within this realm we abuse so comprehensively.
Imagine for a moment losing your eyesight. It’s seldom truly dark, right? Given time to adjust, the dull glow of an LED, or the filtered and reflected light of a street light will usually give some relief. But take yourself into the earth, deep into a tunnel, turn off your headlight and wait… nothing….. at all, ever comes. The absolute and complete negation of one of your senses. From now on every unfamiliar action will be fraught with the possibility of serious physical injury. Your capacity to communicate by written word and through body language.. gone. We can imagine to some small extent the obvious implications but we truly have no way of knowing how life would be different. How the loss of sight might affect other senses, relationships, habits, earnings, travel, love life. It’s a mystery we’re not qualified to judge.
Musician Stevie Wonder, when asked if he might not have preferred to have been born blind, as opposed to losing his sight, said no.. he at least had some conception, albeit from distant memory, of what a tree looks like. Now stretch again, to the concept of never having seen, to a realm still further removed from our experience and understanding. How can we possibly imagine what constitutes reality for one totally blind from birth?
A Raccoon has tactile sensisitivity in its hands ten times our own.. the Eagle, twenty times the visual acuity.. an injured Scarlet Jellyfish can return to the polyp state and regrow again into the healthy adult.. Frogs can register the passage of a single photon of light.. Whales and Dolphins sleep on one side of their brains at a time….. and this could get to be a very, very long list!
Humans don’t have the best sense of anything. Every element in our skill set would be considered rudimentary by another specie. And we are constantly becoming aware of the superhuman capacities of Others. Ultraviolet sight, sub and ultrasonic communication, iris pulsing, direction finding. Imagine having an on board GPS! In much the same way that we cannot comprehend what is must be like to lack a familiar ability, we can have no conception of what it is to be possessed of an entirely unfamiliar one.
And yet we doggedly refuse to acknowledge this in others, preferring to measure all things from the single, manifest paucity of human understanding. We consider ourselves the fount of all wisdom, with the power and authority to make life/death decisions for Others who we don’t know, whose difference we refuse to recognise, much kess celebrate, and who we are unwilling to invite to the discussion table, or seek ways to do so. Imagine now (last time!) being blind from birth and, through surgery perhaps, suddenly receiving the gift of sight! Consider the wealth of new possibilities, the enhanced ability to avoid danger help others to do the same and the breadth of new horizons, visual, conceptual and spiritual,