We are creatures who have built in a set of blinders to everything.
What a generalization! It begs for quick messages of dispute and disagreement but let me try to explain.
Let’s take the universe. On a quiet, pitch black night away from man’s incessant battle against the dark, a glance up to the heavens reveals a brilliant and multi-hued kaleidoscope of lights and patterns. The eyes, which at first were blind from exposure to artificial light, soon become aware and sensitive to the smallest glimmer, a twinkle here and glimmer there of stars not even visible walking down a well-lit street. The miracle of the infinite becomes lost by the blinders created by our pushing back the night.
Then bring our sight back to the world; to nature and all its abundance and variety; to the colors, sounds, smells, and tastes of the world’s presentation of life in the raw. The fright of night created blinders to keep it at bay, the blinders of too much to take in and compartmentalize nature makes us put on blinders to our 360 degree view of the beauty and ferocity of nature.
We contain ourselves within recognized borders both international and national. We refine our view down to states, counties and cities, and become a community sharing values and struggling against the tide of too many differing views and perspectives. We long to belong to a group of people “just like us” who have also donned on the blinders of community and group to scare away the panic of uncontrollable mankind. We put into boxes (houses) those we feel close to or trust, to stave away the ferocity of mankind; to make the world and all its subsystems seem more manageable and less fearful, and to remove distractions from our smaller part of the bigger world.
But then we decide we need to still stay in touch or perhaps escape to realms unknown by turning on the television. We escape into scenes which when presented on TV are perhaps frightening or uplifting to allow ourselves some semblance of control of what we can view and experience. We put intentional blinders on taking control of our destiny by grabbing the remote, viewing certain programs; or maybe we actually allow the advertisers and programs to control our behaviors and dreams. It’s hard to tell when we slap those blinders on.
Then we go further and isolate ourselves through computers making our view of the universe smaller and smaller. Next stop, smartphones and smartwatch where we are so engrossed with the virtual happenings (and in some cases the false happenings) of everyone else that we forget we are also part of the story. We put blinders on to those around us, to quiet times, to looking up and noticing the stars. When you have high-definition blinders on, it is easy to get lost in the myriad of distractions so readily available at every turn.
So finally we arrive at the actual input device that we have placed blinders on: our eyes. To control horses from being distracted and keep them going
forward, blinders are placed by each eye. They can only look forward. If a sound occurs to the left or right or behind, they have no visual sense of what caused the sound nor whether the sound needs to be paid attention to for safety and survival.
Our eyes have become conditioned to be drawn to the quick, noisy, distractive world of smartphones, televisions, and national/international borders that we rarely look around at the world and almost never look up into the black of the sky to see those pinpricks of lights that sparkle in the night.
Are blinders useful? Sometimes. Sometimes addressing a set goal requires putting on blinders to all of the other to-do’s that may distract us. Sometimes we need to envision the finish line and discipline ourselves on not looking backward to see how far we’ve come.
So sometimes they are of benefit but only when we intentionally manage them. When the choice to use them is a moment-by-moment decision as compared to a habit we’ve grown so used to that we do not even recognize which set of blinders we are wearing.
I don’t know. Perhaps my set of blinders is set too small to really see the big picture…the larger story of which I am a player. Time will tell.
Time also to move away from this set of blinders measuring 13” diagonally and look up to see who is near, experience the quiet, observe what sights, smells and sounds assail my senses, and acknowledge the role I play in the bigger story…to open up my vision to see the glory of the stars.
Photos sourced from Pixaby (11/2/2016).
A closer look at the blinders we wear.