There are things you just don’t see, things that are for you effectively not there in the real. Scotoma medically refers to an area in the filed of vision which is somehow lacking, degenerated or completely missing as opposed to a normal field of vision. It comes from the Greek word skótos and means darkness. It is for all intents and purposes a bind spot. We all have it to a certain degree because the eye had to make room for the place where the optic nerve exits the retina, so this place has no photoreceptor cells, making you blind to a part of your field of vision. You don’t notice this inbuilt blindness since you have stereo vision and a brain eager to compensate so it,  for the lack of a better word,  simply imagines, makes up and makes you see what it presumes should be there, It fills in the gaps according to experience and presumption.

But scotoma is not limited to the physical structure of an actual eye alone. It’s a term used metaphorically to denote blind spots in general be it perceptual, cognitive, world view, knowledge… You don’t see the world as it is with the set of values and behaviors you’ve been taught or acquired by now. You see its fragments and fill in the gaps, because every “I am…” closes you into a smaller box from which you see less and less. Tied to a certain notion of us, we begin to adopt a specific vocabulary to describe the world around us. That for which you have no conceptual representation in language disappears from the (real or symbolic field) field of vision. The English speaking world has literally lost the ability to see a shade of blue, because there is no word for it. It was expunged from existence and experience because there is no way to grasp it so it has just been attributed to some other folder and piled in together with another blue. This is just a small taste of how powerful we speak ourselves and world into being and why learning to speak and understand concepts verbally is a way to widen your field of vision. Along the same lines, you cannot introduce full blown consumerism into the cultures that have no words or concept of “spend” as we do.  There is also a protective coating nestled within personality that protects you from shame (even from yourself). The brain doesn’t want you to feel stupid and ashamed before the ego you’ve constructed as “yourself” and will change the way you see reality in order to fit your presumption and confirm it. As within, so without. Have you ever searched for your glasses for hours on end while mumbling you lost them. The worlds become real and the brain will want to confirm what you’re saying to yourself and you seriously won’t see that the glasses are on your head, even if you pass a mirror and look directly at your reflection. For the brain it is more important to confirm the current reference frame and confirm you’ve lost them than to allow you to recognize how silly you are.

Scotoma is very much applicable to language, world view and beliefs we accept as real. Not being able to speak or conceptualize something makes us blind to it even if it is right in front of our nose. We won’t feel we’re clutching the keys in our hand, the nerves will really stop sending signals if we’re convinced we’ve lost our keys. What we believe to be true becomes true by a feedback loop that want’s to confirm its own bias. Be careful what you accept as real. Every time you think you’ve got a final and the only correct answer your world shrinks and the blind spot expands. Some are inevitable, most can be avoided. Open your eyes and work on your verbal skills. The language you use to speak to yourself and others matters and will change an outcome of a life.