This is a writing in which I wanted to investigate the possible misusing of our human visual capabilities as they would have been evolutionarily intended. A parallel critique of human misusing of memory in the modern age was published previously and fits as a nice counterpart to this piece (as does the “neolithic injuries” writing).
Consider three things, the two pictures below, and, thirdly, your active gazing at these two pictures:
Our two eyes, separated on our heads enough to give us subtlety different viewing angles of perception, allow a sense of three dimensional depth where both eye focuses overlap, which is typically right in front of our faces. Having this depth perception is certainly useful, and in the context of our mammalian origins is a gain that is paid for in sacrifice of a wider panoramic view that would be afforded dogs and other animals that have their eyes turned laterally outward much more.
We aren’t making use of this valuable depth perception when we are focusing our vision on framed two dimensionalized planes that we’ve been normalized to—a computer screen or a flat boring road outlined by a car windshield are just such examples. These two separate phenomena oddly share in common a great deal of black background and then depend on a great deal of light (often artificial) to illuminate; both are also oddly related to transportation, as screens transport images that aren’t otherwise readily available, and cars transport human cargo. We are under using (and misusing) our eyes and may be losing visual functionality (through eye and/or brain atrophy) if they aren’t getting enough proper three dimensional exposure.
The modern world has two dimensionalized so many of the visual encounters we habitually have, and that might be having profound effects on our eyes, but also on our larger interactions with the world. We may be unthoughtfully seeking to make more of the physical world fit in with this simplified relation to visual space, because we would literally have headaches or other discomforts were we to accept and cultivate more dynamic three dimensionalized space. Perhaps we are even becoming three dimensionally blind? This two dimensionality may “stimulate sleepiness” (an oxymoron?), as a two dimensionality is encountered naturally during sleep when our eyes are resting to a darkened eyelid. Or one of the many inversions of this could be true: this could be a contributing factor to widespread insomnia epidemics due to not having gotten enough three dimensional visual exposure during our waking hours, and our brains aren’t ready to shut off when they need to.
Maybe the drawing of humans evolving more kyphotic (hunch backing) needs to include a single cyclops eye… Homer was prophetic!
*I was going to entitle this “The Planed Middle And The Voluminous Borders” as a way of describing the framed picturesque view of the world many of us might be artificially accustomed to, but I thought that might hint (and confound) towards a metaphorical exposé about how marginalized radicals at the margins of society are actually more dynamic and more alive. I welcome you to take your mind there and use this as a leaping off point, for that is an exciting use of thought to tackle the new levels of mediocrity that make our world less livable, literally in every sense.