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January 21, 2020
Yes, I know. I must be about the 20 millionth person to write something about the year 2020 and 20/20 vision. Who can resist? I certainly cannot, partly because eyesight is a touchy subject for me. My own is, to use the technical optical term, lousy. I have already done about all I can for it. Now that I have new lenses from my cataract surgery, about all I can do for my eyes themselves is to keep having my retinas checked in case they start to detach and I need more serious surgery. But there is still something I can do for my vision, though not my actual eyes.
Last year I saw a low vision specialist, who told me about various devices that can help me read more easily. There is also computer software that can allow me to use my voice and ears for the process of writing, which is of course very important to me. But so far I have not contacted the person who can actually provide the necessary equipment and show me how to use it. Why not? Well, I am a habitual procrastinator in general, and in this case there may also be an element of fear. Fear that the devices may not do me enough good. Fear that I may not understand them well enough to take full advantage of them.
This is where main point of this blog comes in. Given the serious limitations on my eyesight, I am very aware of my need to supplement it with other abilities, whether physical, mental or emotional. I have already started learning how to improve my use of other physical abilities. My ears and sense of touch are reducing my dependence on my eyes.
There are other ways to perceive things besides physical vision. There are other kinds of vision besides the physical senses. There is the ability to see possibilities and imagine alternatives. Low optical vision is pushing me to develop higher mental and emotional vision. But this is not something that only people with bad eyesight need.
We all need to see the realities behind what meets the eye. Optical vision only shows us what is in front of us right now. We need our minds and hearts to see the unintended consequences and long term effects of what we do or fail to do in the here and now. Seeing the icebergs today does not show us what will happen to sea levels as they melt.
The fossil fuels we see coming out of the ground do not tell us the effects of pumping more and more carbon into the atmosphere. The bottom line on a developer’s spreadsheet does not tell us the ultimate effect of clearing more and more land and replacing more and more vegetation with cement. We need to develop our long-term vision of what is not yet visible to the eye. But we do not need to do it just as individuals. We need to do it as societies, as nations, and as the human race.
So what is my vision for 2020? I wish it could be more optimistic. But what I think I see is the failure of the effort to remove a reckless, erratic, and dishonest president from office. A totally unpredictable struggle to nominate a candidate who could beat him at the polls and, if elected, move the country onto a less dangerous course. Looking over the candidates, I see some who might move us in an equally extreme and dangerous course. I see some who might not be able to handle the rigors of a nationwide campaign and some whose electability might be jeopardized by voter prejudices. I can only hope that the election will bring a clearer and, hopefully, more encouraging vision of the future. It is easier to see where you are going when you know where you are.