A fascinating test was recently done in which a confirmed blind gentlemen (blind, as in totally unable to see) was given a series of tests involving his walking through various obstacle courses along with being able to give his insight as to the emotional reaction on people’s faces.
Understand, the patent had a previous ability to see, but after having suffered a series of strokes which permanently damaged the portion of his brain involving sight, he was legally and completely blind.
So how was he able to go about his business and do his thing (albeit in a somewhat limited means)?
The patient possessed a rather unique development known as ‘blindsight”; a condition in which the patient suffers the loss of being able to cognitively ‘see’ things – as in being able to consciously and willfully see objects, people, places, things, etc. – but yet was not able to cogitate input data (so to speak) – i.e., what his eyes were seeing – as normal people do.
As the researchers at Tilburg University in the Dutch Republic (where this study was done) pointed out:
Because his stroke damaged only his visual cortex, his eyes remain functional and as a result can still gather information from his environment. He simply lacks the visual cortex to process and interpret it. Sight has changed for TN (the patient) from a conscious to a largely subconscious experience. He no longer has a definitive picture of his surroundings, but he has retained an innate awareness of his position in the world. He is, to some degree, able to see without being aware that he is seeing.
This begs a number of questions, not the least of which is: how prevalent is this condition?
We note in this case how the ability of somebody who is legally blind was able to (with limited means) function, but one cannot help but ask are there degrees of this condition? In other words, our brain functions as a means of interpretation of objects / events taking place via our eyes: arguably, would this not suggest that how our brain is ‘programmed’ or ‘wired’ also determines how we see the world – and to a far greater impact than was previously realized?
Sounds rather obvious, but with this ground breaking study it opens a whole new realm for the field of psychoanalysis in that we truly see the world as we wish it to be: this may explain why there is folk in this world who simply aren’t able to see things as you or I may see something – because they truly and literally cannot!
So the next time you encounter somebody who is being somewhat inflexible in their belief structure, show a little sympathy toward them: perhaps they are truly and simply blind to the world around them and need a little guidance and/or insight.
For more on this fascinating study, check out this link: