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Neuroscientists teach us otherwise

A common misbelief is that our senses enable us to see the world exactly as it is. Neuroscientists teach us otherwise. Explaining our ability to see, neuroscientists recognize that the brain does not simply convert raw data acquired through our retinas into clear pictures. Rather than “translate,” the brain “re-creates.” Beginning at birth, we learn to make sense of the sparse information adult eyes provide – about one-tenth of what a smartphone camera captures – and bind it with data from various parts of the brain, to produce our perception of the world. This creative function is illustrated, by the fact that we have a blind spot in our retina. Yet, we do not walk around with a black hole in our vision, because the brain is filling in the missing parts.

Similarly, the evangelist Mark understood that learning to see in faith is also a long process. He often depicts disciples as spiritual newborns, inadequately processing the “Jesus data” their senses are acquiring. The blind man at Bethsaida, however matures quickly, and with Jesus’ second touch sees everything distinctly: presumably not only with physical eyes but the eyes of faith.

The spiritual journey is challenging one. Along the way our perceptions of Jesus are sometimes muddled and confusing. No matter what our age, however, we can still mature in spiritual vision. The Holy Spirit heals the holes in our spiritual vision as we emphatically pray for God to ‘enlighten the eyes of our hearts.”

Hear our prayer, O Lord: bless, protect and sanctify all those who bow their heads before You.

Blessings to all. M +

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