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Which sense is most important to us? This week’s Wen’s Day reflection has me thinking about the book I’m reading – Blindness, by Jose Saramago. They say your eyes are like the windows into your soul, so I suppose its appropriate for my weekly reflection. I don’t usually read books that have been made into movies (unless it was after I read it), but this one seemed so intriguing that I just had to.
The book talks about the human characteristics that come out when we suddenly cannot see – specifically, when everyonesuddenly cannot see. I also usually don’t like books that use super artsy writing styles such as run-on sentences (I mean paragraphs), switching speakers mid-sentence, or not using any names… but Saramago does it so well that at times I don’t even notice something’s amiss. Maybe he made me blind to that fact (ha…). By the way, the book is rife with comments such as the one I just made – they provide the odd exhaling-through-the-nose laughs that we do when we read something funny but the context is anything but.
Blindness is not only a hard book to put down, it’s a hard one to get out of your mind. For the first 50 pages you start thinking you’ll go blind at any second. Then for the next couple hundred you start realizing how lucky you are to be able to do things such as run on the treadmill, watch sports, or use Apple products (none of which appear in the book, don’t worry).
Afterwards, you get philosophical. In what ways might a blind society be better? Nobody judges by looks, our other senses are enhanced… What would I do if everyone around me turned blind? Would I run away to a remote island? And my favourite: what if right now, our whole world was missing our 6th sense, and we are currently living out that scenario. David Wen in another parallel universe is typing right now about the book he just read where the whole world could not read each other’s minds, and he thought that was pretty wild.
I hope I didn’t give any of the book away – in fact, I’m not even finished reading it myself. Even so, I highly recommend it. It makes you see beyond what is physically there, to what lies beneath the surface – in society, in our relationships, and in ourselves.