I love the story behind this song. Lyle Lovett asked a boy if he could have anything what would he want, and the boy replied, “A pony…oh and a boat.” If you could have that which you most want, would you come up with anything more imaginative than the stand bye’s of peace, love or money?
I was listening to a peace on NPR, and they mentioned a question used for a creativity-standardized test given to kids, “How would your life be different if you had a third eye?” I know it is a question for kids, but I thought it was a cool one. I started to think about what might be different. First, I began to think about how our eyes already take two images of the same sight from just slightly different angles and transmit the data back to our brain which merges the two images into a single image for our mind to interpret. What a marvelous job our nervous system does taking in this myriad of signals and interpreting it.
One of my first symptoms of the flare, which lead to my diagnosis of MS, was double vision. I couldn’t even see well enough to draw up A’s medications, and it wasn’t until A inadvertently covered one of my eyes as I carried her down the stairs that I realized all I needed to do was close an eye. What if the third eye could allow for a “best two out of three” approach? If one grew near sighted, was damaged, or for any reason was not sending good data, maybe our neurological system could simply take it out of the loop. Think about the possibility for ocular transplants. People would have more spares.
Of course treating a third eye like a spare tire of the nervous system is not very creative. So why would we need the third eye pointed in the same direction? If we could alter the look of our heads, we could arrange them to give us a panoramic view of our surroundings. If we were set up with eyes to see in a closer to 360-degree arc, would our feet and shoulders change over generations to allow for a wider “front” where we do most of our actions? If one thinks our neural network is crazy now, just imagine what it could be.
That’s all well and good if fanciful, but what if I said I already have a third eye. So do most people reading this. Of course, since it is intended to be science fiction, what if I said I have an eye able to see across time: a little bit of the past and future?
Do you sense a leading question? How do you sense it?
For me, it is my mind’s eye, able to remember the past, imagine and predict the future. I can picture walking with my grandpa and my dad. I can even see what each of us is wearing. Right before I close my car door, I can predict what will happen in the future when I open our front door. Our dogs will all go nuts, and K will start saying “Hi” over and over, louder and louder until she gets an answering “Hi.” I can even imagine how nice it would be to be to have a way to preserve the wonder of everyday moments forever in my mind.
When O and A tell me something is impossible, I often show them my cell phone saying this cell phone can do so many things and has access to so much knowledge unknown when I was kid. Had I been shown one as a kid, I would have thought it a prop from Star Trek, a show imagining a future exploring the stars. What we imagine and desire may, and probably will, one day be reality…but only if allow our mind to reconcile the signals from our third eye.
I think this is why I refuse to believe there will never be a cure for MS. I can imagine a cure for my condition even if I separate out curing the disease from healing its damage. At the minimum, I can imagine a scenario where my nervous system learns to follow the axiom, “If you find yourself in a ditch, your first step should be to stop digging.”
Nervous system, please stop digging that I may one day climb out.