Blurred Vision

In a world where we use our pocket sized phones to take instant pictures, it’s easy to assume there is no need to learn about apertures or even focusing. Just notice something that grabs your attention and click. Attention grabbing seems to be the force that propels us, keeping us flitting from one distraction to another. It used to be that grabbing one’s attention meant that someone’s  curiosity and interest could be stirred and then engaged and focused. Grabbing one’s attention was a prelude to a deeper encounter. More and more, it seems like grabbing attention is an end in itself. No need to focus much any more. Something else will grab our attention in an instant.

Of course, attention grabbers have always been around, but our capacity to focus and sustain attention seems to be diminishing, as more and more of us seem to be constantly distracted. Like a person who struggles with sustaining attention in several domains– most notably in academic and other executive type pursuits as well as social ones, but may be “hyper-focused” in highly specialized activities–our culture seems to be struggling, even disabled, by our current disorder. This attention grabbing and emphasis on distraction is being played out most cynically in Congress. The focus on governing has been lost to attention grabbing. We need to refocus.

I have often suggested in my comments on culture, education, and policies, that we can think differently and be more creative in all those domains. As a culture, we are losing focus on what matters because we have blurred vision. Many on the right and the left have 20/20 hindsight. They refer to earlier times when their visions produced focused agenda that had clear (positive) results (while the other side clearly had negative results). Now, in a divided country, it’s as though there is either a right eye or a left eye, and to use both might cause us to become cross eyed and more visually impaired, rather than binocular. Binocular vision gives us depth perception–the ability to see in three dimensions. Just as we need to adjust our eyes to different light conditions, we need to adjust our eyes to the conditions that darken our lives today and that cause us to lose focus . Crafting lenses that allow us to see more clearly close up as well as in the distance must be usable for both eyes. (Some of us like progressive lenses, but at least bi-focals are in order!) Some would say that the right and the left each have clear vision, but the eyes don’t function together and thus leave us impaired.

Blurred vision is cloudy. It is unfocused and can lead to confusion and potential danger. Corrective vision allows us to refocus and yes, to see better. We have been myopic, and allowed our attention to be grabbed continuously as we have lost focus on policies that enhance our lives and improve our culture (and education). We need to correct our vision in both eyes,not merely try to weaken the other. We need greater perspective and depth to enhance our vision and sharpen it. Attention grabbing won’t go away, but we can strengthen our ability to focus on what is central and necessary, rather than on what is peripheral. Perhaps, in order to correct our blurred vision and see more clearly, we will have to get a new prescription. It’s important to have regular examinations. I think some of the prescriptions we’ve tried are past their expiration dates.

2 thoughts on “Blurred Vision

  1. Great post! The current political climate certainly reinforces the notion that many in our country had better get to the optometrist for an eye exam. But sadly I think we have some hearing problems, too. The lines between fact and fiction, blurred by the media and over-population of talking heads, may prove to be the downfall of our wonderful democracy. I think we need a thorough examination.


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