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An insight into eyesight (1)
The electricity suddenly went off throwing the room into darkness. My eyes could not penetrate the darkness and I could see absolutely nothing! Why? Without light there would be no sight! What time of the night? I couldn’t say. The last time I looked at my watch, it was 10:34pm.
Accompanying the darkness was the stillness of the night. For a moment there was eerie silence. Seconds later, sounds I would not normally have heard came alive, punctuating the darkness. Inspiring music from an orchestra of invisible insects; the rustle of leaves; the whistling palms and odd noises here and there filled the air. Even in darkness, nature's beauty is alive if you choose to listen.
This brief, but not infrequent, encounter with darkness stirred up some thoughts in my mind and gave me an insight into eyesight. These precious little eyes of mine are indeed a pair of extraordinary structures.
What is the nature of light? Why is light necessary for a person to see? How does this small eye work? What happens when it stops working? When do you say a person is blind? Is blindness the end of life? How does a blind man cope with life?” The questions came in torrents.
Even as a medical doctor with a good grasp of structure and function of the body, not a day passes by that I do not marvel at the creation called “human being” and its various organs.
But as an ophthalmologist, I am extremely fascinated by the eye. The more I know about it, the more captivating it becomes; the more I see in my daily clinical explorations, the more its mysteries become more difficult to untangle.
I marvel at the intricate interrelationship between the various parts of the body; how they communicate with each other; how one part, sometimes because of its excesses, induced by greed or selfishness, causes the other parts to suffer. How the ineptitude or thoughtlessness of the brain could result in unmitigated disaster for the entire body and by extension for a host of other humans.
One part of the body which earns my profound respect is the heart. It works relentlessly day in, day out, unmindful and absorbing all the insults thrown at it and never giving up until the very end.
In those dark moments, the memory of what these little eyes of mine had seen and read hunted me; how “human beings” hacked down their neighbours who had not offended them in anyway; how men grabbed all the money set aside for workers’ pensions and left them to suffer and die; how politicians looted the treasury while the custodians of law and justice looked the other way and corruption nearly became a virtue.
I recalled an incident when a blind young man challenged his friend in an argument, “Corruption made me blind and your father was a part of it.” Taken aback, all present asked him to clarify what he meant.
“I have never met his father but he had the misfortune of being the Field Vaccination Officer when I was a baby. Someone who was supposed to have bought the vaccines pocketed the money and they injected us with dummies! So nearly all the children had measles and I was one of them. The attack left me with just one eye.
"A few years ago I lost my other eye in circumstances too painful to recall. My father had not received his pension for six months and had to buy prescribed medicines at a roadside shop because he couldn't afford the inflated cost in the General Hospital. They turned out to be fake and didn't work. I was plunged into darkness! Isn't it correct to say corruption is the other name for darkness?"
Just then my friend from the adjoining room called out, “Ben, what is oju kokoro?” His voice jolted me back to reality. The electricity was back and he sat glued to "African Magic."
“Oju kokoro, literarily means, “one cannot take one’s eyes away from something – covetousness, greed or acquisitiveness.” Insightful! Corruption emanates from the eye, bringing darkness and often death! Insightful!
Why can’t we learn the lesson of altruism and peaceful coexistence exhibited by the various parts of the body and live in harmony with each other? Live and let live.Share