Visual Brain Evolution
By Ann Bliss
I am about to describe the journey of my infant brain as it is developing in respect to vision.
First there is darkness—well, not exactly black but more like a dark gray. Not a solid but a flickering gray. Then the gray lightens and morphs into fog or smoke. Like fog, it allows some light to pass through its ever changing vista. The smokiness swirls around and around, clearing and obscuring depending on its whim. Yes, that is it! It is very whimsical and alluring as well as magical. There can be no expectations since there is no previous knowledge of what will evolve next.
Solids will begin to appear next. And again, they are illusive and fleeting. They tend to dance around since there is no stability of images seen at this point.
Light wanders in and out. It appears for a second and then dances away. Sometimes the light has a bright glow and sometimes a white appearance. Often it is very bright and sometimes just part of the swirly, never-ending randomness of obscurity. There is no focus yet: no steadiness, no comprehension. Only wonder and the fascination of watching this interesting, fragmented, constantly moving tableau. Like a shattered mirror, the pieces are scrambled. There may be sharp lines between some and softness adhering to others. And like a mirror, there are reflecting and refracting streams of light. As the pieces are randomly moved about, so is the refractive quality of the visual image.
The evolving eye muscles have much influence on what is seen. As the muscles mature and strengthen, the eye is held open wider and for longer periods of time. This allows for more light input. The muscles surrounding the eyeball are also beginning to strengthen, which will lead to steadiness.
And what is happening inside the brain’s visual cortex? Neuropathways are developing. Synapses are forming. The optic nerve is receiving stimuli. There is not yet any interpretation, only a vague outline of what is to occur. Turning this filmy, smoky, swirling mess into reality is not yet achievable.
Sunlight will add more stimulation for the brain to absorb and weave into its framework. This new yellow-tinged brightness causes the pupils to begin to dilate and constrict. The head may begin to rotate trying to find the light source. It is very elusive: there one moment and gone the next. When the eyelids close, there may still be a very distinct remembered image of that point of sunlight. Blinking makes it appear and disappear, coming back sharply and receding with no rhyme or reason. The brain must learn to keep up with all of these new images. No interpretation yet . . . only visual sensation and wonder.
And then there are shadows. Only a few initially and more like undefined silhouettes just waiting for recognition and importance. The shadows are also very elusive: there one moment and gone the next; fully formed for a fleeting moment and fading back into themselves for future re-emergence.
If these images could be captured in a photo or painted with charcoals, the designs would be masterpieces. The elusive quality of the work would intrigue any passerby and be a subject of study for the scientist. It would be a semester curriculum in light for the artist and a course in gray scale for the photographer.
The elusive quality next develops into more of a known as there is an attainable pattern which can be separated from the rest. It is not yet graspable: not yet recognizable as anything more than merely fluff. This is not three dimensions but merely a projection with no discernable features. Nor is there any depth. There are no neural pathways constructed for depth or recognition. They will come later, for the brain is still in its infancy and the hemispheres are not fully developed. It is like a shell awaiting its inner structure. This evolving edifice will only be constructed when the intelligent brain knows intuitively that it has a Herculean task to accomplish. It is the most intricate of creations with the most complicated wiring schematic ever designed. Layers and layers of pathways interwoven into a labyrinth whose streets are all unique and randomly dispersed. Vision is not only experienced through the eyeballs but through all of the nerve endings and senses. The neurons and their synapses connect, forming long routes and pathways. The brain is ever changing and molding itself for its lifetime of plasticity.
Since birth, Ann Bliss has had a vision challenge. She remained a low vision person until age 19 at which time she became totally blind. During most of her lifetime, Bliss raised a family and owned and operated a mail order catalog company dedicated to providing products for visually impaired persons.
In 2004 after selling her business, Bliss embarked on a healing journey endeavoring to self-heal her vision. As a result of that process, she has become an intuitive healer with a large client base and a published book: “Infinite Hope.”