Thursday, March 26, 2009

Regarding a movie: “Blindness”

Enlace a entrada en español.

A digression on the “Myopia series”.

Some days ago, I went to watch a just premiered movie “Blindness”. I will leave my personal criticism out since this blog is not about movies or books. But as a plot, for those people that have not read the book of the same name by Jose Saramago (from which the movie is adapted), or have not watched the movie, I will tell you briefly that it is about how panic and paranoia invaded a whole city when, one by one, all citizens are victims of a sudden blindness called “white illness”. The human behavior and condition give an exorbitant turn.

This novel/movie shows clearly how men are used to vision and how they give it very little importance when they own it. People that are born with vision, they do not know what they own. Fortunately only 3% of the world´s blind population are children. All of our daily activities require a good vision, from the time we wake up in the morning and we look at the watch, until we go to sleep and prepare the alarm clock for the next day. “Time concept” is very important for a blind man, that without light, has to learn to distinguish in what moment of the day he is, surrounded by that constant darkness –clarity-; in the case of sudden blindness, this causes a disturbance in the human biorhythms, and he does not know when he has to eat or to sleep.
A team of neuroscientists of the Visual Neuroscience Training Program at Johns Hopkins Institute, Baltimore (USA) has discovered (December 2008) a small number of light sensors (nerve cells) in the retina of our eyes, that communicate with the brain through very tiny and slow signals; and, unlike cones and rods, these cells contain MELANOSIN, which are not used for seeing images, but to monitor light levels in order to adjust the body’s clock and control constriction of the pupils in the eye (among other functions).

Ask yourself, what activities, simple or complex, you perform throughout the day WITHOUT THE NEED TO USE VISION… NOTHING, even when we dream, we see images. Many jobs such as computer users (a very high number of people, even those that work at home, and it is increasing), surgeons, taxi drivers, bricklayers, architects, dentists, plumbers, etc., need to have vision 100% of their time, or rather, we are used to use our vision 100% of our time.

At school, the reading and writing learning process of the children requires that 100% of the information that arrives to the brain gets in through the eyes. The school learning is purely visual. Really MEN ARE MAINLY VISUAL; human evolution has created us this way, it has created us such dependence on vision that when something like this happens and the adaptation of environment does not cause the immediate development of other senses, the first reaction of our brain is to change our behavior. In the case of the novel /movie, the change is not positive, but like in war moments, catastrophes, etc., it is proved that the human condition does not always offer its best face.

There are many people that do not like the changes in their life, regardless of whether these changes are controlled as uncontrolled (book: “Who moved my cheese”); but when you lose something that the rest of your life depends on, such as vision, this involves a change in your thinking, your habits, your hobbies, your plans and definitely your whole life.

One defect of our human condition is that WE DO NOT APPRECIATE WHAT WE HAVE.


This post is only an approach that I wanted to show you, in order to appreciate your vision and take care of it. Asking yourself: “What if I’d done this or that…”, always happens, but it can be late!!!!

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