He made them imagine that the earth – four thousand six hundred million years old – was a forty-six-year-old woman – as old, say, as Aleyamma Teacher, who gave them Malayalam lessons. It had taken the whole of the Earth Woman’s life for the earth to become what it was. For the oceans to part. For the mountains to rise. The Earth woman was eleven years old, Chacko said, when the first single-celled organisms appeared. The first animals, creatures like worms and jellyfish, appeared only when she was forty. She was over forty-five – just eight months ago – when dinosaurs roamed the earth.
“The whole of human civilization as we know it,” Chacko told the twins, “began only two hours ago in the Earth Woman’s life. As long as it takes us to drive from Ayemenem to Cochin.”
- The God Of Small Things
Of all the eyes in the animal kingdom, the human eye is the most striking. It is a jewel matched by few, one that can produce the colors of the ocean or the darkness of space. In a way that is far from being understood, the human eye is not solely meant to see – it is also meant to be seen. Even in our closest hairy relatives – the apes – none like it exists.
In those primates, the colorful iris is not surrounded by the white sclera that we have. The eyes are toned to the skin, a dull and matching color scheme that keeps them from being detected. In a study done at the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology, scientists tried to observe the reason for this difference. The hypothesis held that the human eye had evolved for non-verbal communication, most likely stemming from hunting trips and advanced communication before advanced language.
As they predicted, when a human experimenter motioned in certain directions with his head, eyes closed, the apes looked in that direction. When they simply looked in that direction without moving their heads, the apes did nothing to follow their gaze. In infants, the results were reversed. The movement of the head was inconsequential; innately, something told the young children to follow the eyes for the clue. Without the eyes, their perspective was lost.
And, as it goes, the eyes of those experimenters and babies and apes are the same eyes that are constantly feeding the brain millions and billions and trillions of units of information, whether it is colors or shapes or beauty or danger. Similarly, those eyes represent something our planet is becoming increasingly more aware of each day: perspective.
On a tangible level, the actual eye is a metaphor for the entire idea of perspective.
Evolutionists claim the eye is so intricately evolved and advanced and multi-purposed because millions of years of “upgrades” in our species. God fearing people would describe the eye as so intricately created and advanced and multi-purposed that it could in no way be formed by anything “of this world.” It’s mechanisms and micro-functioning is in some way beyond our understanding. Here, we have an idea that is agreed upon; the eye is complex. However, the interpretation of that idea has two opposite perspectives. The side that you choose to believe is irrelevant, the conundrum is the point.
Even in this moment, your perspective could be challenged. Even something as simple as north and south is a matter of perspective. The thought that the south is underneath us is nothing more than a societal choice. It does not lack coincidence that in almost every instance the equator separates 3rd world countries (in the south) and 1st world countries (in the north). The men who made the map simply saw themselves as superior, and then went on to place themselves on top. How can we have an up or down or a north or south when our north and south poles are equally frozen? When our planet is titled and rotating and floating through infinite space? From perspectives outside our planet, the United States could sit on its head with South America staring down at it from the “north.”
Even while learning a new language, assigning a new perspective may open the door to simplifying the task. Why is it that people may struggle with new vocabulary but can still name players on a football team or brands and colors of make-up that may seem obscure to others? Sports fans can tell you 300 players in a league, their height and weight, what college they went to, what their number is, where their parents played ball, and in many cases their statistics. But assigning another word like casa to mean home causes them trouble, mostly because their perspective on learning a new language is that it is a difficult challenge.
When people talk about souls, what lies beneath the skin or in the heart or in a place in the mind that is ethereal, they talk merely from perspective. If ten people have cancer and they all pray to God to live, and then nine die, the one who survived will stand up and yell “God saved me!” How can this person believe anything else? They were terminally ill, they asked someone for something, and it came. But the nine who died have no voice. Even more, the person whose mother died in that group of 10 will have trouble believing in this God especially if no effort of communication is made in the alleged afterlife.
Still, the people who do believe in the Soul or in God may not be experiencing something different from you, they may just see it in a different manner. What if an everyday occurrence for you was an act of God for another? Is their appreciation something to be admired or shamed?
Similarly, one’s reality cannot be questioned as real or fake or made up or embellished. If a person swears on his or her own life, even takes his or her own life on the notion that they “spoke to God,” their reality is no less real than ours. What they believed is what they die knowing. Until we’ve spoken to God, or found proof that he does not exist, we cannot know. Until they have had the incurable, hollow loneliness that comes from seeing the world as a place where there is no order, they cannot imagine a thing that hasn’t been touched by something greater than us. To judge the other perspective is to dismiss the foundation of one’s own beliefs.
We live in a world where the grass is always greener on the other side; where one man’s opinion and views are based on a combination of environmental conditioning or ties to kin and religion. Either you believe what those closest to you tell you and never look back, or you experience the world with as much of an honest eye as you can and try your hardest to do what is right.
Still, when it comes down to decisions on who to associate with in your life, who to vote for in the next election, or even Supreme Court cases, we are forced to make opinionated choices every day. On a much deeper level, these decisions are founded by one abstract idea: perspective.
Perspective, to me, is the sum of the events in a person’s life and the effect those events have had on how that person sees the world. Much to our chagrin, no man or woman can ever see the world through the eyes of another. And in our everyday life, we may pass hundreds if not thousands of sets of these eyes, all completely unique and all telling a story that we have never heard. As in most animals, when the eyes are illuminated, when light shines on their perspective, they glow. And as with this world, one full of religion, politics, ambition, failure, love, hatred, war and peace, when honest light shines on the perspective of others, the truth may glow. We must force ourselves to live in a way that is conscious of these other eyes, of their glow, of their perspective, and of how our actions might affect their quality of life. As humans, we have been given the gift of these special eyes that can see more than just colors and shapes; we have been given eyes that are meant to be seen by others. It’d be a true failure if we missed the chance to find out what they have to tell us.