The human eye is a fascinating organ whose function relies on frantic movements designed to keep the visual field fizzling. Why? Research suggests that the rods and cones (the visual nerves) inside the retina respond to binary signals. They turn on when light hits them, telling the brain what they have perceived — bright color, dim color, shade, movement etc — tracing out a specific set of visual information, after the transmission of which they subside and rest.
To come alive again, rods and cones need a new stimulus, a different batch of light to sensitize them into action.
This means an eyeball needs to remain in constant motion, restlessly hunting for variations in light.
Ocular movements known as OMT’s (ocular micro-tremors) are involuntary muscle movements designed to facilitate this process. They keep the eyeballs moving, sending light around the sockets, stimulating as wide a range of rods and cones as possible. Even when you think your eyes are fixed on a specific object, they’re jumping around unobtrusively, keeping their rods and cones activated. If they didn’t — if they remained fixed solid on an object — you’d go blind in a haze of limbo.
This obviously puts life under new light. Restlessness is not such a bane after all. Calmness is an illusion. Even in the face of apparent harmony, what is most impressively present is that which maintains a level of activity at all times. That which never stands still, which forever seeks and registers.
Or, like a famous person once said, reality is shaped by constant surveillance. Stay put for a moment and what was once clear and present disappears right in front of you. To keep track of the world around you you need to constantly monitor it.
The trick is to do this unobtrusively, using micro-tremors.
Intrigued? Watch this space for more.
From the collection of writings EON: THE ANGRY COMING OF AGE