Depth Perception

One thing I can’t figure out is our stereoscopic vision. I have read a bit about this subject and understand that our two eyes combine their separate images into one three-dimensional picture. This makes sense to me. What I don’t understand is how this helps us to perceive depth.

When I close one of my eyes, I do not see a flat world. Things still seem to have depth to me. I remember reading in a children’s science magazine about an experiment to prove depth perception exists. It asked the reader to try and catch a softball with one eye closed. I tried. I did it without any problem at all. I reread the article and noted the science behind the depth we perceive in our vision. I read it again but couldn’t understand it. It clearly stated that it was very difficult to catch a ball using one eye to see it coming. I caught a ball that I threw myself. I caught a ball that my brother threw to me, and I only needed to use one eye to do this.

This weekend, at our Easter dinner, this discussion came up again. Everyone in attendance seemed to agree with the science. I asked them why I could always catch a ball with one eye closed and no one was able to answer me. One guest, instinctively picked up something near him and asked me to close an eye. I did. He tossed the wooden block across the room to me. I was sitting on the couch with one eye closed and reached up and caught the object.

“See,” I said. Maybe I just have the ability to catch things. Maybe I am an oddity. Maybe I wouldn’t be able to catch it if I was further away, if the lighting was different, if I was in an unfamiliar space, etc, etc, etc. Who knows? All I know is that I have tried this experiment at different times and places in my life and I have always been able to catch something with one eye closed.

Does this mean that we don’t perceive depth with our eyes like scientists have “proven?” And what does science actually prove? New theories push aside old ones all the time. I don’t put much faith in scientific knowledge. I know that we live in a scientific world but I also know that science isn’t our best tool to understand everything. I think we have lost a lot of natural knowledge about the world and rely too heavily on science. But the one thing, I do know, without any questions, is that I can catch a ball. That’s comforting right?

2 responses to “Depth Perception”

  1. Science is a tool. That’s it. It is one tool in a toolbox of many different things we can draw from when we need to solve a problem or think about the way the world works. I think we rely on the hammer of science far too much. By doing so, we pound and pound away at something and we still don’t seem to have a complete grasp of what it is we flattened. We can figure out a lot of things we haven’t been able to if we stop using science as a crutch and try using some of the other tools in our toolbox. I have theories on this that I will be sharing in the next few weeks. Stay tuned.