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What is an Eye? For What Purpose Do We Have Eyes?

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Written by   629
11 months ago

Few species of the animal kingdom are without organs for the perception of light. Only some of those living in perpetual darkness in caves or at the bottom of the oceans, or certain intestinal parasites lack them totally. Even protozoans (single-celled microscopic organisms) can have a light-sensitive pigment spot, sometimes combined with a refracting body (a lens) which allows them to perceive the difference between light and darkness.

Simplified, this is the basis for the eye as an organ of sight or vision: a photosensitive pigment and a lens. The function of the lens is to focus incoming light upon the pigment. In the human eye, which is far more complex than this, the pigment corresponds to the retina.

While a primitive eye can only discern light, direction requires a construction admitting light to enter from just one direction at a time. And for more complicated vision, a more complex eye is needed. Multiple receptor cells to get picture vision; accommodation of the lens (change of its shape to allow seeing at different distances]); regulation of the amount of light entering the eye (the iris changing the size of the pupil); differentiation of receptors to get colour vision; etc.

The human eye (and that of most other vertebrates) is a very complex organ, whose exact function is not yet fully understood. It is not a separate organ to be studied separately, but an integrated part of the nervous system and brain. The image we perceive is generated in and by our mind and is clearly related to imagination. It is resultant from stimulation of light-sensitive receptors, and the picture is our mind's interpretation of the related nervous signals. But the optic stimulation (the information entering through the eyes) is just a small part of what forms the picture – studies suggest it is less than fifty percent. The rest is invented by the brain, based on expectation, prejudice, and other factors having to do with a person's mind-set. You see what you believe, not the other way around. This can be illustrated by the blind spot. I explained it like this in “Brain & Horror Vacui (Fear of the void)”:

Open a book. Close your left eye and let your right eye focus on the first letter of a line. Let your index finger follow the line, from left to right. Keep your right eye focused on the first letter but let your attention follow the finger. You might need to try this a few times, because it is hard not to move the eye.

What you should see is that the fingertip disappears from sight when you are approaching the right end of the line. After a couple of centimetres, it turns up again.

You have experienced the blind spot, a small area of the retina, insensitive to light, where the optic nerve enters.”

What is strange is that we cannot see that it is there (without using a special trick). The brain fills the hole in vision with something it believes should have been there! What we believe we see is an illusion, but we are not aware of that!

Now let us look at this from another perspective. If it is beyond us to establish the extent of correspondence between the brain's interpretation and some sort of fundamentally objective reality (if such exists); if we know that the difference is considerable; if we know that much of what we see is not there; how much does the external reality contain that we cannot see? If I were to hazard a guess, it is more than what we can see. Our nervous system sets limits; and, in addition to that, our brain might practise a censorship we do not notice. As for our limits, we can exemplify with the spectrum. Only a very small interval is visible [see colour vision below]. Analogous limitations can be legion. There might be whole aspects of reality we cannot see. An ability to extend "sight" beyond the normal scope can be developed by certain individuals, by practice and discipline; in a few cases someone can be born with it.

Eyeless sight is a provoking thought, and there is ample evidence of its existence. Thoroughly examined cases are, for instance: the Russian woman Rosa Kuleshkova, who could read with her fingertips; a blind Italian girl who could see with the tip of her nose and her left earlobe; or two Chinese sisters who could read with their armpits!

[More about this can be found in: A. Ivanov, "Soviet Experiments in Eyeless Vision," International Journal of Parapsychology 6, 1964; Frank Edwards, "People Who Saw Without Eyes," London, 1970; David Eisenberg with Thomas Lee Wright, "Encounters with Qi," New York, Penguin, 1984.]

If eyeless sight is possible, what should we do with our eyes? Is seeing their only purpose, or can they also emit something? Judge for yourself. And remember that albeit colourfully embellished by imagination through generations, every superstition contains a grain of truth, a root of something perfectly real.

There is a widespread notion that certain individuals. by looking at someone, can bewitch, injure, or kill that person. Such an individual is said to have the evil eye, something of which the holder himself can be completely unaware. Should he know it, he would become utterly dangerous. This idea is (or at least was until recently) common around the Mediterranean, and further into Asia, Eastern Europe, and among people of Celtic origin. The tradition is very old; the Greeks of antiquity called it "baskania," and it can be further traced back to old Babylonia.

In Islam the concept is well established. The Prophet himself is reported to have said:

"The influence of an evil eye is a fact; if anything would precede the destiny it would be the influence of an evil eye [...]."

(Sahih Muslim, Book 26: No. 5427)

Certain traditions (e.g. old Iceland) relate stories about great sorcerers who were able to kill with their eyes.

An example of the evil eye among the Celts can be found in the story of the second battle of Moy Tura, an old Éireann (Irish) legend. It tells about a war between the Tuatha Dé, under their hero, Nuada of the Silver Arm, and Fomor, under its wizard overlord, Balor of the evil Eye. Jim Fitzpatrick relates this story excellently in "The Silver Arm" (1981), and illustrates it beautifully too, in a style mixing contemporary action with something unquestionably Celtic.

Nuada is killed, and another hero, Lugh, comes to avenge him. He faces Balor's evil eye:

"Suddenly the eye stared wide, and from deep within it, blazed a flare of white light that pierced the shadows of evening and swept from side to side across the battlefield, destroying everything within its gaze."

Balor is defeated, but his eye burns a hole in the earth. There, according to the story, one can still find a lake, Loch na Súil, the Lake of the Eye.

Vladimir Leonidovich Durov, a famous tamer of animals, claimed that he could transfer thoughts to animals. In 1923 and 1934 a huge number of experiments were done under scientific supervision. The results were such that even the most obstinate sceptics were convinced.

Although the equipment of the time was by present-day standards comparatively primitive, it was shown that during the sessions Durov's brain emitted radiation.

One of Durov's ideas was that eyes emit rays. A hypothesis scientists at the time were unable to prove. Later Soviet research, however, documented (they claim; I have been unable to find reliable documentation on this) the radiation. On the other side, the rays, which were directed by the emitting eye, were absorbed by the pineal gland of the receiving person.

The eyes of certain animals (e.g. cats and whales) seem to emit light in darkness. This is because the choriodiea (a pigmented membrane normally blocking reflection) in their eyes is covered with a layer of light-reflecting cells, "tapetum lucidum". This has to do with their ability to see in darkness. It is no genuine emission, since it is light that has entered the eyes which is thus reflected.

Speaking about eyes and their ability to receive and maybe emit something, it is easy to forget one function all of us use every day, emitting and receiving something that cannot be quantified or scientifically measured: eyes as a means of emotional communication. When your eyes meet those of another individual, there is an immediate exchange of emotional information. Even without words you can express anger, fear, love, hate, joy, sadness, humour, recognition, interest - even indifference; eyes can be used to dominate, threaten, invite, accept or reject...

An old saying claims that eyes are the window of the soul. I would say this depends on how you define the soul, but they certainly reflect something of your inner self, and they emit that information to the environment or selected parts of it

But not all information is emotional. Your eyes show whether you are ill, tired and sleepy, or alert and fit. Your iris might reveal much more than that. If we accept it as a holographic microsystem of the body, we can use it to map your exact present and past health status. This is what iridology does.

(This article is based on material previously published in Meriondho Leo and in my e-book “From Vision to Visual Music”, 2017.)

Copyright © 2012, 2017, 2021 Meleonymica/Mictorrani. All Rights Reserved.

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Fascinating indeed.

"And remember that albeit colourfully embellished by imagination through generations, every superstition contains a grain of truth, a root of something perfectly real."

Someone who lacks a lens,
due to surgery or accident or other incident,
may have the ability to project UV from the interior of the eye.
Investigation should be simple to reveal this.

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11 months ago

Yeah, research on this would be interesting.

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11 months ago