Living In A One-Dimensional World


Cube When we make our debut in to this world most of us are born with the gift of sight. This is something we typically take for granted. Our sight provides us with information about the world around us. We can estimate how far away something is or how deep something is by looking at it. We can see how high to step to climb the staircase to the second floor of our house. How is this possible? Because we see the world with depth – in 3 dimensions.

What if you were born without depth perception? What if your world had only 1 dimension? What if you could not tell how far away something was, or how high to step to climb the staircase? You would probably find yourself bumping in to things or stumbling over things. You would probably not be able to do simple things like catch a ball, or climb that staircase without stumbling the first time.

The worst thing about being born without depth perception is not knowing about it or understanding why you run in to things or stumble over things. Why do other people do things with such ease when you have such difficulty?

I did not find out that I had no depth perception until well in to my adult life. How did / do I manage? Through the years I have developed coping mechanisms. When you don’t know you don’t have depth perception you just learn to deal with your environment in any way you can. I can’t even begin to explain how I cope. I can tell you that it took many years to develop these coping mechanisms.

How do you explain to someone who sees 3 dimensional that you see only 1 dimensional? I try very briefly and simply say that my world is flat. Most cannot even grasp the concept.

Have you ever been to a movie playing in 3D? I naively thought that if I were wearing a pair of those special glasses that I would be able to see 3D like everyone else does. NOT. It’s not possible for me to see 3D period. How do I know? I had the best neuro-ophthalmologist in my area examine me and confirm everything I am telling you now.

The only time this condition really causes me problems is when I have to explain to the driver license officials that I cannot actually perform some of their eye tests.

In the end I live my life like everyone else, but with a few exceptions. If I get a headache, I tend to bump in to things because my coping mechanisms do not function as well. Seriously… it would be comical if it weren’t so frustrating.

Welcome to my world. 🙂

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  1. findingourwaynow says:

    I can't even imagine how hard that would be. I applaud you for finding ways to manage. I was just thinking, without depth perception I would be unable to do my illustrations. That is would be awful.

    • Geek Girl says:

      Coping mechanisms are great tools. You need to bear in mind that I was born this way. I didn't have it and then lose it. That would be tragic. I have never had it so I don't know what it would be like to have it. Everyone has limitations. Mine just happened to be a bit unusual. 🙂

  2. patweber says:

    I never knew there was such a – what is it – a disorder? Can you go out of your area for another prognosis? I only ask this because my young husband who has had 2 open heart surgeries, 2 times of stints, 3 times angioplasties, decided to get in as a patient at the Cleveland Clinic, renown for their work with the heart.

    • Geek Girl says:

      It is not a disorder. I was just born that way. There is nothing that can be done. It is not like the issues you are describing. Besides, I think I would have a HUGE problem seeing in 3D when I have lived my entire life without it. 🙂

  3. Bethany Lee says:

    Wow, I didn't know this about you. But then, how could I?
    It's interesting how you didn't even know you hd it till you were much older. You never even questioned it. And then you created coping skills, I bet those coping skills, to you, were just natural too.
    You could turn this into a good thing: Maybe one of your sci-fi books you write could be about a community on a far off planet who only see in one dimension. Since you know about it anyway . . . 🙂

    • Geek Girl says:

      There she is! Bethany – my source for good ideas! Love it! 🙂

  4. JeriWB says:

    I like Bethany's book idea. It would also be interesting to research how depth-perception or lack thereof affects creativity. Those who are missing what others have often end-up being unique thinkers. I've always been fascinated by how language shapes our world, but have never really thought out how depth-perception does.

    • Geek Girl says:

      The easiest way to think about this is to think of a blind person. All their other senses kick in and in the end, some of them 'see' better than we sighted people do. However, I do like the idea that I may be a unique thinker. That would be very cool… 🙂

  5. namirusso says:

    As Bruce Lee said, "Don't pray for an easy life, but the strength to endure a tough one," and THAT you have done. How do you parallel park?

    • Geek Girl says:

      Parallel park?I avoid it if at all possible. If not, the space needs to be big enough or I won't even try. Too much risk of hitting the other cars.