Peripheral vision is defined as the ability to see objects and movement outside of the direct line of vision. Peripheral vision is what we see, but what we can’t see clearly. The peripheries are those unclear, blurry, fluttering shapes and images that we see out of the corners of our eyes – the person sitting next to us in class, oncoming traffic, whatever.
I’m speaking too literally. I’m thinking not of actual peripheries, but more so figurative ones. Not the person approaching us from our left, but instead religions, views, lifestyles, sexual orientations, gender identities, ideas…
Let me deconstruct a bit.
Our direct line of vision is like the mainstream; we don’t have to seek out the mainstream, it’s in our face. I’m going to use an old and tired (but easily understood) example: Britney Spears. Miss Spears, whether we like it or not, is in our direct line of vision. We don’t have to deliberately look for information about her to find it – it’s at our fingertips. Britney Spears is in our direct vision.
Our peripheral vision, on the other hand, is not so easily accessible. We have to seek it out, research it, or deliberately turn our heads to see it, so to speak. It’s not Britney: it’s Brandon Teena, vegan restaurants, gender neutral bathrooms, or a place where every voice can be heard.
There will always be peripheries. Even if you could turn your head around 360 degrees like the Exorcist girl, you’d still be missing something on the sidelines. But perhaps the peripheries need our attention?
It wouldn’t hurt to turn our heads every once and a while.