In a dark time, the eye begins to see

In the field of ocular physiology, there’s a concept called adaptation, which is the ability of the eye to adjust to various levels of darkness and light. 

It’s a complicated process that involves body parts like pupils and rods and cones and photopigments. 

Let’s focus on one particular element of the vision process. 

The fact that our eyes adapt to bright light over a period of five minutes, but total dark adaptation takes many hours. 

Isn’t that interesting? It’s just the way the human body works. Nature is smarter than us, and it has its own tempo and flow of which we are only a small part. 

And so, no matter how many articles we read about hacking our night vision by wearing sunglasses, eating blueberry jam, exercising the retinas, sleeping with eye patches, avoiding direct exposure and popping zinc tablets, the smartest thing we can do is let our eyes adjust to the darkness naturally. 

Acclimation through simply relaxing in perfect darkness for twenty or thirty minutes. And trusting that our eyes will soon open to more radiant visions of life. 

This concept of adaptation also has implications far beyond that of the human nervous system. There’s also the challenge of adjusting to the darkness from an emotional standpoint. 

Because people have a tendency to try and taste the light before their time has come. Before they’ve mined the darkness for all the gifts it contains. 

Moore’s influential book on finding our way through life’s ordeals puts it best. 

If you give all your efforts to getting rid of your dark night, you may not learn its lessons or go through the important changes it can make for you

The goal, then, isn’t to panic and start scrambling our way back to the light, but to develop a spirit of adventure that allows us to feel at home in the darkness. 

Knowing that the things we uncover in that dark place might change us forever. 


How much beauty might you be missing out on by trying to accelerate your night vision?

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Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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