A PHYSIOLOGICAL ENIGMA

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Prof. M.V.S. Nampoothiri, Vice president, Pampa Parirakshana Samithi Pathanamthitta

May be it is a childish puzzle that Nature has not provided the animals, especially the human beings with an additional pair of eyes at the back of the head. Perhaps such a provision could help us a lot in moving about freely and safely. An architect of incomparable faculties and astounding perfection the Creator, it seems could hardly ignore incorporating such a concept in the human corpus.

That men, and all animals for that matter are not endowed with the ability to move backwards and to the left and to the right with as effortless an ease as moving forward, may appear quite puzzling. Just imagine the mental tension and apprehension we confront while walking alone at night in a remote forest infested with wild life. Every moment we would be turning our heads backward, twisting our reluctant necks and looking back horrified, all the while fearing that some hungry man-eater is following us close on our heels. Just imagine that our eyes had been designed in such a way that they glow automatically when the sun begins to set. Then again it is baffling to imagine that an architect who could design the inexplicably complex brain, couldn’t conceive providing as commonplace a thing as a search light to our eyes that even the relatively dull headed man could contrive. The creator could maneuver the working of the human search-lights in such a way that they would go off at our will, when we don’t need them, or when we want to sleep.

Any way, what has transpired has already transpired and we are left to content ourselves with what we are provided with. However, I, for one, am not inclined to blame the Universal Creator for this apparent lapse. You can just think of the roadblock we would have been creating had we had eyes all around. Prompted and tempted by diverse attractions we would be zig-zaging, making us reach nowhere. We would be just like the child placed in the midst of a heap of toys. In utter confusion it will start moving in all directions not knowing which toy it should approach first.

It is imperative that our attachment to the past is adequately cut so as not to keep us entangled in the affairs of the past for longer periods. At the same time, He has designed our necks adequately flexible so that we can turn our heads and look back when we need to. It is essential that we have a historical sensibility to keep us informed of what happened in the past. But at the same time it is not wise to keep us exposed to the past for long as we do to the future. An all–time exposure to the past is apt to dampen our enthusiasm to face the challengers before us. Nature or Creator or God, as people prefer to refer differently to that Supreme Architect, is not an imbecile to forget to forge an additional pair of eyes at the back of the head.

We boast ourselves of being endowed with a legion of uncanny faculties when we compare ourselves with the lesser living beings. Alas! We are unable to see our own back without the help of a couple of mirrors held in appropriate angles in front us and behind us! And the mirror is something invented by the ingenuity of human brain. Can we imagine that this is another fundamental shortcoming of the architectural ingenuity of the Creator? I would answer this question with a big “No”. The only part of our body where our own arms cannot reach is the middle of our back. I don’t think it is a phenomenon to be construed as an engineering defect. When it comes to scrubbing the back of our body we have to seek a third person’s help, which signifies the importance of mutual assistance. “Scratch my back and I shall scratch yours” is a saying prevalent in the society where every individual member is considered dependent on others and vice versa.

Let us however hope that bio technicians in future, or those in the remote future will evolve an innovative technology that will help us look behind and reach our arms to the back as effortlessly as we caress our belly and chest. But is it not an affront to the original designs envisioned by the Creator? I am afraid it is. To err is human, but for Nature to err is out of question.

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