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I Can’t Understand What I’m Seeing

Darkness creates problems for all of us when we are in an unfamiliar place trying to find our way without proper illumination to see. When a person lives in darkness physically or spiritually, learning to “see” if given the opportunity is not as simple as it sounds.  Sight works for us because our minds have been recording what we see since our first days of life.  What comes through our lens now triggers the files of data that relate to that object, place, face, or whatever it is that we are trying to view.

In his book, CATCHING THE LIGHT, quantum physicist Arthur Zajonc wrote of what he described as the “entwined history of light and mind” (correctly described by one admirer as the “two ultimate metaphors of the human spirit”). For our purposes, his initial chapter is most helpful.

From both the animal and human studies, we know there are critical developmental “windows” in the first years of life. Sensory and motor skills are formed, and if this early opportunity is lost, trying to play catch up is hugely frustrating and mostly unsuccessful.

Prof. Arthur Zajonc writes of studies which investigated recovery from congenital blindness. Thanks to corneal transplants, people who had been blind from birth would suddenly have functional use of their eyes. Nevertheless, success was rare.

In 1910, the surgeons Moreau and LePrince wrote about their successful operation on an eight-year-old boy who had been blind since birth because of cataracts. When the boy’s eyes were healed, they removed the bandages and, waving a hand in front of the child’s physically perfect eyes, asked him what he saw. “I don’t know,” was his only reply. What he saw was only a varying brightness in front of him. However, when allowed to touch the hand as it began to move, he cried out in a voice of triumph, “It’s moving!” He could feel it move, but he still needed laboriously to learn to see it move. Light and eyes were not enough to grant him sight. How, then, do we see? What’s the difference between seeing and perception? What is light?

Referring to one young boy, “the world does not appear to the patient as filled with the gifts of intelligible light, color, and shape upon awakening from surgery,” Zajonc observes. Light and eyes were not enough to grant the patient sight. “The light of day beckoned, but no light of mind replied within the boy’s anxious, open eyes.”

Zajonc quotes from a study by a Dr. Moreau who observed that while surgery gave the patient the “power to see,” “the employment of this power, which as a whole constitutes the act of seeing, still has to be acquired from the beginning.” Dr. Moreau concludes, “To give back sight to a congenitally blind person is more the work of an educator than of a surgeon.” To which Zajonc adds, “The sober truth remains that vision requires far more than a functioning physical organ. Without an inner light, without a formative visual imagination, we are blind,” he explains. That “inner light; the light of the mind” must flow into and marry with the light of nature to bring forth a world.” (Copied). When one has walked without the LIGHT of God’s Word, will, or ways because that person walks in darkness, we need to understand that they are not always rejecting Christ just to be obstinate.  It is more likely that they have no “record” in their mind of anything spiritual. Thus, it takes time for them to “see” and then “comprehend” the need they have for the LIGHT of the LORD. Some come to Christ instantly because of God’s Spirit working on them for some time.   Others will come to Him if we don’t lose heart in sharing because they don’t respond quickly.  There are many that would like “to see” Jesus if you and I would determine to simply and faithfully take them into the Light.