SEEING IS FEELING
In “Blind Kids Gain Vision Late in Childhood While Giving a Lesson in Brain Science,” Pawan Sinha describes his work in surgically curing cataract-caused blindness in children in India.
Sinha's comments on “intermodal organization”—in which information received through the eyes is correlated with that received through the other senses—reminded me of Annie Dillard recounting the story of the first successful cataract operations in Europe in her 1974 nonfiction narrative Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Quoting an English translation of the 1932 book Space and Sight, she wrote: “Before the operation a doctor would give a blind patient a cube and a sphere; the patient would tongue it or feel it with his hands, and name it correctly. After the operation the doctor would show the same objects to the patient without letting him touch them; now he had no clue whatsoever what he was seeing. One patient called lemonade ‘square' because it pricked on his tongue as a square shape pricked on the touch of his hands.”
“When Animals Mourn,” by Barbara King, discusses evidence of nonhuman mourning, including in cats.
Our cats, Simba and Nala, were littermates and for 14 years were never more than a few feet from each other. Nineteen months ago Simba had to be put down.
Nala immediately began to have spells of howling every day. She goes from room to room, calling in each. The raw anguish in her tone is unmistakable.
If she perceives a threat, she claws frantically at the bed coverlet where Simba would burrow for his naps. I often lie in bed reading my current magazine, which I rest on my raised knees: the two of them would crawl under my knees and cuddle there. Nala now checks into that empty space, emits one of her anguished howls, leaves and glares accusingly at me.
It is dangerous to draw conclusions from anecdotes, but Nala richly meets the criteria for grief given in the article. She is, unmistakably, mourning for her brother.
“People Kill with Guns More Than Any Other Weapon,” by Mark Fischetti [Graphic Science], illustrates statistics that show that in the U.S., guns are used more than other weapons in killings and that people are most often killed with them by others whom they know.
I would like two things to address gun violence: 1) Better education required for gun owners on how to effectively store and operate their firearm and on when it is appropriate to use it. 2) Better requirements and solutions for the safe storage and possession of a firearm.
I'm not talking about a full ban but about making it a requirement that those who own a firearm have a full and working understanding of it and its consequences.
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