Focus

I finally got new glasses, after a couple of years of financially-induced nakedfacing. It’s kind of amazing being able to see again. It feels like a superpower. It feels like, within the constraints of a couple of inches of glass in front of me, I can see everything. It’s actually a little bit disturbing to think that all of this was going on all along, there in front of me, like invisible bacteria covering a freshly washed dish.

It’s strange the way we don’t notice how our capabilities shape our perception until those capabilities change. As I became able to clearly perceive things more than 10 feet away from me, my sense of peripheral space became less acute, I began to be surprised when I noticed people and objects to my right and left, things that I previously would have noticed much earlier. Because I am so used to myopia, my relationship to space has become one of vague motions, a worldview of information constructed by inferring the relationships between things I cannot perceive clearly. There’s the classic concept of the blind person who has their other senses enhanced as they are forced to depend solely upon them, and I think the same thing happens to all of us, based on our capabilities and capacities, to lesser or greater degrees.

Our limitations define our aptitudes, and become foundational points of our identities. When I play games, I tend to be the one who notices things – and, lest it sound like I’m bragging, I should note that this is distinct from the one who makes good decisions based on that information, the one who successfully infers what things signify or, even, the one who cares about the things that he notices. What I want to convey, though, is the idea that in this case my lack of long-range focus means that I have a sort of diffuse form of attention which makes it somewhat more likely that I will perceive things that aren’t directly in front of me.

Within this context, I start to wonder about my resentment of time, whether it stems from a conceptual antipathy to things which are distant. I wonder about whether my inability to focus my mind on a single task for very long is conceptually related to my inability to focus on an object very far away. I wonder how much the symbolic logic of focus, distance, attention, periphery, have shaped the way in which I conceive of and understand the world, if this correlation of traits means something, if and how much of my identity has been subtly and subconsciously shaped around this relatively minor, fun and quirky disability.

I wonder, then, if so, what does it mean to put on a pair of glasses, and why accompanying exhilaration and joy at my newfound abilities there is an undercurrent of discomfort. Will it help me look past today and into tomorrow? Do I want to perceive that kind of distance?

We shall see.

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