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80 Percent of Brain Input Comes from Vision

Did you know that of our five sensory inputs (seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching), 80 percent of what your brain “knows” comes from your vision? This fact led A. M. Skeffington, a famous American optometrist, to say, “If a person cannot see 100%, they cannot be 100%.” Your brain is continually working to decipher and direct your body movement as your eyes perceive what is right in front of you.

A significant insight about eyesight hit me one day watching my wife paint a watercolor landscape. While she was turning some random pigments on her palette into a beautiful autumn forest, I realized that the landscape she was painting had three horizons. After a little digging, I learned that artists refer to these as the background, midground, and foreground planes of the painting. In fact, a landscape painting without one of these horizons becomes much less interesting. Why? Because it would fail to engage our depth perception and would be considered a dull work of art.

In a landscape painting, the background may be a blue sky, a beautiful sunset, or a mountain range. It's as far away as the eyes can see. Then there is usually a focal point of the piece in the midground that draws and keeps your focus, a deer, or a stream, or a tree in a field of wildflowers. Finally, you will notice that most painters create a further dimension by having an object in the foreground like a tree branch or the side of a house or a person. These objects are up close, right before our eyes. The artist must intentionally plan and design these three planes to simulate a peaceful or soul-stirring three-dimensional viewpoint.

In fact, the landscape painting simply reflects what is happening every moment your eyes are open. The ability for the human eye to focus in and out of distances is called “accommodation.” Your eyeball can zoom out and zoom in--say from looking at the sky, to looking at words on this page-in 350 milliseconds.


Will Mancini and Warren Bird, God Dreams: 12 Vision Templates for Finding and Focusing Your Church's Future (B&H, 2016), p. 52

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