What I find remarkable about my impaired eyesight is that I was entirely unaware of my inability to see. In school, for example, my teacher would write on the blackboard, and my fellow students and I would watch the board as she wrote and copy the words into our notebooks. All along, I thought I was writing what I saw her write. Years later, however, I realized that I was writing the words not as I saw her write them, but rather as I heard her say them aloud as she wrote. My brain and other senses were compensating for my imperfect eyesight.
Before I wore glasses, my vision was not based on the sharpness of what my eyes were seeing. My brain was pulling together information and detail from past experiences to create a sense of “seeing” in the current moment.
The experience of “seeing” is about more than vision. It is a process that begins with focusing on and comprehending visual information and then interpreting that information to make assumptions and conclusions. Seeing is something that depends not only upon the current information we are viewing, but also on information from a greater context, some of which might not currently be available at a given moment.
My ITP experience, like that first pair of glasses, expanded my horizons. ITP has enabled me to see the world and notice new details that I might not previously have noticed. ITP has also helped enrich my perspective of the world through collaborating with others, and catching new glimpses of the world through the eyes of my collaborators.
Detail is always a subset of a larger picture. When I see a blur, as I did without glasses, I can see only the big picture, but not the details. My ITP experience has provided me with the ability to examine problems from a number of perspectives – from the big picture down to the intricate details, and the links between the physical perception and the psychological process – and create solutions through collaboration, technology and creative problem solving.