Seeing In 2D (1 Corinthians 13:12)

“He has an unusual condition, he can only see things in 2D.”

My daughter was telling me about a condition that her friend had. As a physician, I was chagrined that I had never heard of this disease. “So what are you saying, everything looks flat?”

“It’s hard to explain.” My daughter began. “He has no depth perception. The only way he knows something is behind another object is if the image is cut off by the closer object.”

I was fascinated by what my daughter told me and I immediately researched it and discovered this condition is known as stereoblindness. It is caused by a misalignment of the eyes, preventing the brain from fusing both images as one. I soon learned this condition afflicts some well-known actors like Johnny Depp and Judith Dench. Perhaps even more surprising, the great artist Rembrandt was suspected of having this condition. In a letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2004, a group of Harvard researchers examined 36 self-portraits by Rembrandt and showed that his right eye was deviated in all but one. Follow up studies have confirmed that stereovision may be more common in artists. As one artist, turned neuroscientist, attempted to explain his own experience. “But I always found it easy to draw not because of dexterity, but because when I looked at a scene the relative size and spatial relationships of objects seemed obvious and related immediately to their representation on a flat sheet of paper.” (Source NY Times)  Not all artists have stereoblindness and if one acquires stereoblindness later in life, it does not necessarily mean they will gain an aptitude to be an artist. 

This condition may be acquired after birth, secondary to an injury or disease, and in these cases, the afflicted understands what is different and lacking. However, If someone is born with this condition, they will never know that what they are seeing is not what everyone else sees. They learn to adapt and compensate for their condition in a manner that would be completely foreign to someone with normal vision. Stereoblindness does not necessarily impair one’s vision, it allows one to see with a different perspective. 

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

1 Corinthians 13:12 (NLT) 

Regardless of whether we see in two or three dimensions, we all see and interpret things with an incomplete understanding of how this world works and how we should view it. God will someday bestow upon all believers in Jesus Christ an even greater ability to see things with a new perspective, one that no one can begin to imagine or describe. We may gaze at a beautiful sunset, marvel at the delicate beauty of a flower, or be enraptured by the complexity of a living cell. How could any of these spectacles be even more visually astounding? How indeed! This is only the beginning! God has so much more to show us because He desires for us to delight in Him and His Creation. 

Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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