Subjective Refraction of the Mind
Posted by Justin
This is a continuation of the blog post published in the fall of 2013 titled The Educational Phoropter where I’ll attempt to convey the possibility to create a standard curriculum of learning that can facilitate a mindset that will assist in clearing the mental fog for as many people as possible while preserving natural human rights as they are best understood in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Those of us who are lucky enough to have vision correction available to us when it’s needed may be familiar with the term subjective refraction. The definition of subjective that may be best suited for this analogy is by Merriam-Webster and can be found here 4 a (1): modified or affected by personal views, experience, or background. Refraction also defined by Merriam-Webster in a 3rd instance means: the action of distorting an image by viewing through a medium. Our personal views, experience, and background is the medium that can distort our perceptions of ourselves, other human beings, and nature itself.
The personal views, morals, life experience, and backgrounds of all people, when taken into consideration of its entirety, opens a spectrum of possibilities farther than the imagination can conceive. If comparable to the electromagnetic spectrum, visible light constitutes a small part of the spectrum; and this is where optimal conceptions, 2 a, the capacity, function, or process of forming or understanding ideas or abstractions or their symbols in the best possible way, may become individually manifest. Just like the goal for the optometrist is to refract the light going into the eye to a standard clarity of 20/20, the curricula I speak of refracts the thought process to a standard clarity of conception; while necessarily adding information to aid in the development of the individual and their social relationships. Jeremy Rifkin’s The Empathic Civilization short animation for the RSA does a great job of explaining how empathy is actually “soft-wired” in the brain and is imperative in overriding malicious secondary drives we all have.
In Donder’s method (sphere-only refraction), the individual is tested one eye at a time at a distance of 20 feet from a Snellen eye chart by reading a vertical column of letters until they first miss a letter. The Snellen eye chart and test would be replaced by tests and revelations of educational background, moral beliefs, knowledge, ignorance, and experiences of the individual. Testing one eye at a time provides a more precise measurement for that eye. Likewise, one area of mental focus should probably be handled at a time to invite the same accuracy.
In the video The Secret Powers of Time by Philip Zimbardo again, for the RSA, there are 6 “time zones” that people live in: past positive, past negative, present hedonistic, present fated, future this-life, future life after death. Determining which “time zone” an individual is currently living in is important to decide the degree of emotional fortitude possessed and which pathways of subjective refraction are optimal. I imagine the older the adult, the more difficult dedication to learn new information will be.
Education is indeed a life-long process, whether we accept it or let new unknowns induce fear and doubt. This system of prescription should adapt with the needs and ambitions of the individual; never to stagnate an individuals growth or esteem but facilitate the desire to cooperate at higher achievements until Contentment requires it not. The children would be the first to benefit where the joys of accomplishment and learning new things come easily; especially when shared with reciprocation from others. The Will to contribute to society may in fact last longer in an individual’s life within a cooperative learning environment/workplace of mutual advancement rather than a competitive learning environment/workplace where maladies can be made desirable.
Subjective Refraction of the Mind and the prescription of an individualized curriculum can be as effective a tool to provide direction to one’s life just as the phoropter is effective in liberating those in need of vision correction from an intimidating and blurry world.