At birth, sight is one of the least
developed of the senses. With a range of a few feet, the world is
the neural pathways that carry visual signals through the brain are not yet
developed. Around a month old,
the baby becomes transfixed on any any objects passed before its eyes, especially
those boldly colored, and by eight months its vision is fully developed.
Although the most
common way to see is with the eyes, there are other ways. For example,
the mantic vision of a seer; or, of a poet, the greatest, and one
of the earliest, of whom was named Homer. Perhaps born in Asia
Minor, present-day Turkey, sometime during the 8th Century, BCE,
Homer may have begged his way through seven cities, all of which
claimed him as their native son; of course, after he was safely
dead and famous.
The occipital lobe is located
at the back of the head. Simply mapped, light first enters the
retina of the eye, stimulating fibers of the optic nerve. These
fibers form a a chiasma, a crossing which then transmits the information
to the thalamus' lateral geniculate bodies, where the perception
of depth occurs, and then moves on to the occipital lobes' primary
visual cortex. Here light and shade are sorted out, and objects
positioned in space.
There are several
accredited theories as to who Homer was, one of which is that he
wasn't a single person, that the works were composed in different
eras, by several persons, not all of them men, the appellation "Homer" attached
to the collective, creating the legend of a blind bard, a genius
who composed The Iliad, and The Odyssey, two of the most renowned
epic poems in Western literature.
From the visual cortex, a portion
of the image, called the attention window moves to the temporal
lobe, where the interpretation of what is being seen begins. All
the other information heads for the parietal lobe, which associates
it with other systems, such as those responsible for movement.
However, as much as we presently know about the process of seeing,
there remains the mystery as to "why electrical signals arriving
in the visual cortex should be experienced as vision, while exactly
the same kind of electrical signals, arriving in another part of
the brain"are experienced as respective senses.1 In
other words, we don't know what "sight" is.
If these works
were made by several authors over a long period of time, and, as
some scholars believe, someone had to put them together. The question
that this theory asks is who was that brilliant editor, or editors,
and where did the name Homer originally come from? Was Homer the
scribe who wrote the words that a bard sang, signing his own name;
or was Homer the bard's name? "There are so many realities
that, in trying to encompass them all, one ends in darkness."2
(1) S.A. Greenfield, The Human Brain.
New York, 1997. p.52.
(2) P. Picasso. In, L. Simon, Editor, Gertrude Stein: A Composite Portrait. New
York, 1974. p.107.