Here’s what it’s like not see the world the same way most humanoids do. I mean literally “see.”
The caption on this graphic was, “Can you find the man among the coffee beans?”
I give up after 3 days. The longer I look, the dizzier I get. Within 60 seconds, the beans start moving and resemble a bunch of swarming cockroaches.
So I send it around to a dozen friends, all of whom email back with the same message: they find him in a matter of seconds (and tell me where), and add assorted quips and insults about staying off the roads, the impact of too many youthful drugs, how lucky I am not to be able to see my own image in the mirror every morning, etc. You get the idea. And remember — there are my friends.
This happens all the time. First, I misunderstand simple directions. I look for a MAN, not a face, or a head. I try to fashion a vision the size of the graphic, where, if one stares long enough, a figure would emerge. Kind of like seeing the Big Dipper, or a Wittgensteinian duck/rabbit.
Second, I don’t know how to see. Most people simultaneously LOOK and SEE. My vision is delayed. It takes an extra moment for the shapes and colors of visual data that bombard my eyes to form reality. I have to think in order to see. It’s isn’t a passive process, and it takes time while my brain orders visual phenomena.
While this isn’t a result of Lasik gone bad, a rare fungus infection, a hole in the cornea, two cataract surgeries, and a detached retina, although those delightful experiences don’t help. It’s always been a problem. Evidently I’m born this way, or got dropped on my head (which might explain other character flaws, come to think of it).
If you point at something across the room, I can’t follow the line of sight to see what you’re pointing at. I get visually lost a few inches off the finger tip. Often I can’t find things, even if I know they look like, because they just blend in. As soon as you point them out, they’re obvious, but until then, no way.
So once I’m shown where to look, I see the little bastard’s head in the bottom left of the picture. Easy, right? You find him right away. Meanwhile, to me the beans still look like swarming cockroaches.
And on that comforting image, have a great weekend. But stay off the roads. I’m driving.