Is Humanity Blind?

Is humanity blind?  In asking the question I'm not referring to the limitations of our eyes, I'm speaking metaphorically.  But since I brought up the limitations of the eyes, here is a quick review.  1) Peripheral vision mis-perceives distance, I first discovered this while doing outside crescent kicks in a row with a person on either side and my eyes cast straight ahead.  If I don't make students look to the sides before kicking, chaos ensues.  2)  Motion and color are learned functions of the imagination.  This is so hard to conceptualize because we learn to see color and motion so early, but when children are born blind and gain sight through a surgical opperation after the age of 3, they don't see color and they don't see motion.  In place of color they see complex patterns of reflected light.  In place of motion they see something akin to stop-motion- objects get larger and closer but aren't 'seen moving.'  Weird huh?  3)  Tunnel vision is in focus, everything else that we think we see in focus is imagined.  You can test this by staring at one word in the middle of the page and attempting to read with your peripheral vision.  4) I'm betting readers can contribute many other examples of human sight inadequacy.

A reason for all the spinning and head turning in Baguazhang is to train the eyes to see without focusing.  Welcoming the blur, as it were.  Thus reducing the effort and time normally wasted convincing ourselves that we are not blind.

And on that note I have a few items from the News for my dear readers.

First off, Why Placebos Work Wonders from the Wall Street Journal.  Before you get your hopes up, the article does not convincingly answer the question and it says noting about Nocebos.  Depending on where you happen to be standing in the 'what is medicine' debate you may be shocked to learn that sham acupuncture out performed real acupuncture in one of those double blind thingamajiggies.  Just hearing about it is enough to give me a hot flash!  Also, a study suggests that the more indulgent we think we are, the less we will eat.  If I were juggling just now I would have drop my balls.  After reading this article you may drift beyond the  question of whether humanity is blind, and might find yourself wondering whether we exist at all.

And off to a good start, why not ask; is humanity deaf? Can anyone actually hear the difference between a modern violin and a Stradivarius?  I got a good laugh when the maestro compared the double blinded musicians to people trying to distinguish a Ford from a Ferrari in a Walmart parking lot.  Umm dude, them Walmart parking lots is pretty big, and I think I could tell a Ferrari from a Ford upside down in a ditch, with earplugs, a blindfold, a shot of whisky, and in my pajamas. (Perhaps the NIH will fund the study?  If not then surely the NEA.)

Meanwhile, Tai Chi folk have known for some time that our stomach is a brain.  This science-blog is choca-block with links pointing to the notion that Your Gut Has a Mind of It's Own.  I should be heartened by this news since it suggests a host of new angles with which to approach the idea that Tai Chi is medicine.  I guess my serotonin levels are flagging.  Perhaps I should be doing Tai Chi before dinner?  As an aside, it occurs to me that the movement of (from?) one person's dantian could sync up with the movement of another person's dantian to create mood and other outlook changes.   There are many studies looking at how we coordinate movement and breathing (sic) unconsciously, it's not so far fetched.

Perhaps you still believe that despite the fact that we are blind, deaf, and emotional robots, we still might have that old saw free will?  Turns out what we have is free won't.  Here is another study showing that violent crime is linked to brain injury.  It's a bit off topic but this summary of the debate about the drop in violent crime is a good starting place to throwing up your hands and declaring with fervent lusty abandon, "I just don't know!"