Blind Spots

“There is a blind spot in the retina, the place on the nasal side of the eyeball where the optic nerve leads out of the eye and into the brain. Without this connection, the eye could not pass information on to the brain. Yet because of this connection, there is a spot in each retina that contains neither rods nor cones, and therefore cannot perceive light at all. Each of us has our blind spot; without it, we could not see.” –Ben Bova, The Story of Light

Ever since I read this quote, I’ve been haunted by it. It’s completely captured my mental focus this week. I am person who loathes ignorance, especially willful ignorance. I feel a strong compulsion to learn and continue to educate myself in a broad range of interests. I hate the idea that I might not be able to learn everything, even though I acknowledge I’ll never study myself into omniscience like God.

Here’s what I wrestle with: what constitutes a mental, or spiritual blind spot? Is there such a thing? If there is, would it be something I could perceive myself? Or would someone else have to tell me where they were? And is a blind spot in these areas able to be actual ignorance, part of the general human condition, instead of self-willed ignorance? And what good purpose would such a blind spot serve? How does it (or would it) help me mentally see?

With the way that my brain processes images, I’m unaware of where exactly my physical blind spots are. Every time I go to the eye doctor for new glasses, they try to explain where my blind spot is, but I can’t tell where it is. It’s an unconscious thing for me, and that blind spot is not under my control.


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