will we evolve to forget?

will we evolve to forget

Snapchat are about to launch sunglasses that capture video of what you see.

Your brain already does that.

Many of us think visually. We see ourselves in our experiences. We recall memories this way; in our “mind’s eye”. We even create imagined futures by running video or slide shows of what might happen. Our imagination is cool.

If we start replacing the need to do this because technology does it for us, might we evolve to lose the ability?

Evolution of course takes time, but there is already evidence that more people are becoming nearsighted because of recent changes in patterns of behaviour. A new paper published in the journal Ophthalmology looks at worldwide trends in myopia (nearsightedness) by doing a meta-analysis of 145 studies involving 2.1 million total participants. It predicts that by the year 2050, 4.8 billion people will be nearsighted. That’s 49.8 percent of the world’s population. The theory is that this is because of increased close work in the office, use of handheld devices and because less time is spent outdoors.

So what next? No need to visually recall our experiences; just download what we saw from our sunglasses?

Now that’s a dark thought to dim the brightness of anyone’s day.

‘aim long,’ she said

Minke whale feeding off Boston MA

Whale watching off Stellwagon Bank, near Boston, today.

One mammal watching another.

There was a four to five foot swell at times, and our hostess on the boat had warned us of motion sickness before we set off. ‘Aim long,’ she suggested. ‘Your fellow passengers will approve.’ A couple did indeed succumb, although I can offer no testimony to reach.

I wonder what the whales thought?

Three boats homed in on the feeding ground, each boat laden with humans, eager to see these beautiful, majestic sea beasts. Around a dozen Humpback and Minke whales homed in on the boats, eager to see the ridiculous humans, clicking their cameras, pointing in excitement and wretching into their feeding grounds.

The sea birds, flocking around the open jawed whales, hoping to snatch a fish, seemed not to be interested in watching either mammal. Both just a food source.

We watch each other too. Mammal to mammal. Human to Human.

Sometimes overtly, sometimes surreptitiously, out of the corner of an eye. Sometimes in the flesh, sometimes online. We check out looks, clothes, what’s being said. We watch family behaviour and eating habits too. And all the time we judge. Sometimes consciously, often without realising it.

I wonder if the whales judge us?

Part of me hopes they do.

destination unknown, journey blind…

image

When I join a motorway, board a train, get on a bus, I don’t notice where it ends, where it terminates. I merely check if it’s going to my stop. Perhaps you do the same?

Some days, I get a bus from the train station in London to work. I know which buses go there. I have made this journey for several years. I pay scant attention to where the bus is headed though, beyond my disembarking point. It trundles off, my use of it complete. My journey is bounded by what I know. By start and end. By familiarity.

Earlier this week I was working elsewhere for a few days and discovered the same bus went there; I just needed to stay on it for another twenty minutes.

Now my normal journey has more context  I can imagine the onward journey in my mind. I still don’t know where the final destination of my bus is, but more is known to me and so strangely the bus has more life, more character, more relevance. I am somehow more connected.

Life is like that.

We know where our next port of call is. We become familiar with the small repeat journeys we make. But we find it hard to see beyond; to see the context of the whole journey, to see where we are headed. To know a destination.

I am travelling abroad now for seven weeks. I have a planned route and know where I will end up. Yet I don’t know where I’m going still; in that the terrain is all new, the environment totally strange to me, everything is to be discovered on route. Nothing is familiar. Nothing on repeat.

Sometimes life is like that too.

we often say…

we often say

Looking across valleys. Looking out to sea. Looking at a sunset or a sunrise. Looking at mountain ranges. Looking from on high, across a landscape, we often use the phrase…

“What a beautiful view”.

What is it about large spaces, wide angled perspectives, panoramas that draws us to admire the view?

And why, so often in our lives, do we get close up? Rather than stepping back and seeing the context, the flow, the connections, the breadth, the beauty of the whole. Instead, we focus on a detail. We get transfixed by one aspect. We lose sight of the bigger picture, literally.

 

without sense, no sense

image

and those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.

Friedrich Nietzsche

We make sense of our world. With our senses. Same word.

When we remove a sense, the sense we make is different. Developing our ability to use them all in harmony is useful. Don’t just listen, when you can feel what is being said. Don’t just see, when you can hear with your heart.

Make all the sense you can.

17:9 vision

image

I have reading glasses. I have reached a certain age and my body’s ability to contract the muscles in my eyes sufficiently that I can focus close up, has all but gone.

I used to have what is referred to as 20:20 vision. I don’t know what that means really. My long sight is still superb, but gone are the days I can read the ingredients on a jar without help.

I’m typing this on my phone, so find myself peering down my nose through my reading glasses, looking up and over them when I need to, to see what’s around me or to pause to think.

Two seats away, a man is in reverse. He has glasses too, but is clearly short sighted and is peering over his spectacles at a phone held three inches from his nose. He pushes his glasses up to see me.

Across the train gangway, two men are watching programmes on their tablets. One, a subtitled film. His device is on his knees and he is watching through spectacles. The other, watching Top Gear, has no visual aids but is holding his tablet less than six inches from his nose,

My point is, how we see clearly is different. As it is in our everyday lives.

Some struggle to see what’s under their nose. Some see the bigger picture, but the close up details are blurry. Some like to examine closely. Some only see what they want to.

In life, we don’t have 20:20 vision. We can see some things clearly. Others we are blind to. Even in ourselves. In the mirror, if you will. We are just as blind to others too.  To their value, their outlook, their thinking, their struggles, their joy, their feeling, their intent, their magnificence.

We all need glasses… we just don’t know it.