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Thoughts on Vision

A world pulse member posted an interesting blog about vision. What does it mean to have vision that others do not share? What happens when you see social injustice that others do not? When you see the world for it can be and not as the status quo says it must be? It means frustration! I have felt this frustration as well. I believe it also means perspective, and we can tap into perspective to harness the challenge of exclusion for the aim of inclusion. How do we do this?

As a vision scientist, I know for fact that the world we see is shaped, quite literally, by the stimuli, thoughts, and experiences. Our visual system is dynamic, and subject to influence. The visual system is always recalibrating- if you have ever painted a room in your home a color that grew on you over time, that was physics and your visual system mechanics at work. The great thing is, these principles extend into the social arena as well. We have the capability to surround ourselves and others with an array of images that will influence norms. Our norms become our beliefs and values, and our values guide our lives. We can literally use visual physics to shape the social behaviors of people to be less racist, sexist, and more sensitive to the cultural heritage of another person. This is fantastic! Where is the challenge?

The challenge is in doing this, every day, to billions of people. The challenge is teaching the power we all have, especially girls. The challenge is in inclusion and not accepting those who do not want a world of equality. In this frightening challenge, I am leaping ever forward into the unknown (to me) to change the world with an image, a smile, a conversation, a blog. I do not know if it will work or always what I am doing, but I have to try. I hope to find courage and voice through this forum. I hope to contribute to a world where women are not seen as targets but as human beings, where ethnicity is viewed as a source of celebration and not a reason for injustice. I hope to join you in your journey, and I invite you to join me.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Girls Transform the World Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring girls greater access to education which will transform their lives, their families, and communities. The Girls Transform Campaign elicits insightful content from young women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as women, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
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Comments

amirchima's picture

Awareness & Education

Hi Leedjia,

I really enjoyed reading your post. I agree that changing the stimuli everyone is presented with can lead to change. Continued awareness and education for all is an absolute must to defeat biases and opinions that can taint our vision. We are all influenced by the norms and values we are raised with. The process to influence that change is a long journey, but can only be achieved one step at a time.

Thank you again.

Amir

Diane Ezeji's picture

From frustration to celebration

I really like what you had to say about the frustration of seeing an injustice that others don't seem to be aware of or are not concerned about. It makes me think though that every major societal change probably started with one or 2 people who were able to visualize something different from the status quo. I'm sure these people faced great frustrations, persecution even. Just read what happened to Galileo when he proposed that the earth rotated around the sun. But once the truth is released, once the thought is voiced, it can no longer be undone. A few opened minded people might think it over and agree, then a few more, until change takes place on a societal level.

Diane Ezeji

Leedjia's picture

Thank you!

Thank you for reading and responding! I am grateful!

I am curious- Galileo, he was eventual made blind by his work, and the thought of loss scares me. I have already lost some of myself in my pursuits, how do you balance the risk with desire? How do you know if you will be okay? This is something I have not yet found an answer to. But I keep going in hopes never to find out...

I love what you have said- the truth can not be undone. That is powerful.

What new norms are possible!

:)

Diane Ezeji's picture

Balancing risk with desire

My guess is that you will have to keep answering this question of how to balance risk with desire throughout your life as various factors will affect your answer. If you are young and single, versus married with children, if you are in danger, or if you are free to speak your mind, will affect your answer. At some points in time we may have more energy and strength, at others we may need to pull back and take care of ourself.

I guess what strikes me most about Gallileo is the pressure he received by those in power to deny the truth he was telling. They put him on trial and threatened him into recanting or face excommunication. For me, this is hard because I want people's approval and acceptance and you don't always get that when you take a stand. I grew up in an environment where religion held a lot of power and I survived by just keeping my thoughts to myself. I never would have presented a divergent idea for fear of rejection. Gallileo must have been a strong person.

We don't know that we will always be okay. Whether it is due to the risk we take, or whether we try to remain safe and invisible, life happens. We might tell ourselves that we will be okay and then life can spring some surprise (good or bad) on us and we just have to adjust and adapt. I used to believe that if I was a good person that I would be protected from bad things. That God would "owe" me protection, in a way. But 6 years ago I lost custody of my son in a nasty divorce. I was devastated and felt like I couldn't go on. But I did go on. I had to because I still had my daughter to raise. I still feel a lot of pain over it, shame and guilt and grief. Going through that really changed who I am as a person. It has made me more compassionate. It has made me re-think my values and how life works. I still don't have the anwers. In fact, as I get older I have more questions. I am turning 48 this weekend. So hang on tight life is a mystery.

Diane Ezeji

Pushpa Achanta's picture

Interesting perspective

Thanks dear Leedjia for these meaningful words. May your spirited actions be fruitful.

Warmly,
Pushpa

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