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February 14, 2013 / Ronald Chapman

Seeing but Not Knowing

“Just a few days ago I heard a report on National Public Radio. A neurological researcher had a most remarkable result from an experiment with a man who had a brain injury that destroyed the part of the cerebral cortex that processed vision. He was completely blind.”

“I can’t recall why they decided to do the experiment, but they lined a corridor with obstacles like trash cans and floor fans. Then they had the blind man walk down that hallway.”

A look of mischief showed in de Franco’s eyes as he leaned toward Pitcairn. “Without any guidance the man avoided the obstacles. And when he was done, the researchers asked,

‘How did you do that?’”

“Do what?” he queried in response.

“How did you avoid the things we put in your way?” “I didn’t,” the blind man replied firmly.

Pitcairn was deeply entranced and leaning forward as well.

“Kevin, here is the piece of the tale you will undoubtedly be able to use.” A wry grin came to the priest’s face. “The researchers have hypothesized that deep in the old brain the man can see. But the conscious part of the brain does not know it. He can see but does not know that he can see.”

Pitcairn blinked several times as he pondered the implications. “Jesus,” he muttered before laughing in disbelief. “Tony, that’s more proof there really are things at work within us

we can’t begin to understand. Hell …” he shrugged sheepishly in acknowledgment of the word. “To not even know …” His voice trailed away.

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