Saturday, August 3, 2019

The Space Within :: Education Medicine Learning Papers

The Space Within My second-grade teacher was a second-rate poet. For one of our elementary school's semiannual pageants, our class was supposed to represent colored pencils. Definitely silly, but we were much better off than the kindergartners, who had to portray paste. All we had to do was wear different colored outfits and recite the little verses our teacher had written for us, one pertaining to each color. I was black. My stanza went something like this: "Black is the color of night,/And of the pupils in our eyes,/And our eyes are the windows to our souls." Not exactly earth-shattering poetry. I still remember it, though, because at the time it set me wondering. It was the last line, really. If souls have windows, knowing people is easy. Anyone can see into a window, if the light is right. I thought maybe, if I looked deep enough, I could see all the way to the bottom. I could know everything about someone just by looking. I could know everything. I'm not sure when I first became obsessed with knowing what was inside people. I remember that one of the first fictional characters I ever identified with was a man in my book of Aesop's fables. He complained that the gods should have made human beings with windows in their chests so that their thoughts could be easily read. I couldn't have agreed more. All I wanted was to know. It infuriated me to no end that I could see the world, and I could see what other people looked like, but I couldn't see what the world looked like to other people. I didn't care that everyone's eyes saw essentially the same things. The things themselves were not important. It was the way they were seen that mattered, the way they got twisted around inside other eyes. For Christmas, when I was nine, I asked my mother for telepathy. What I got was a book about palm reading and a trip to the movies. Before we walked into the movie theater, my mother told me she was going to test my telepathy. "I want you to look at the people in the movie. Look in their eyes," she said. "Look very closely. See if you can tell me what they're thinking." I did my very best, watching intently as set after set of two-foot eyes fluttered across the screen. I was surprised at how easy it was.

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