By Josh Chalmers
The channel tunnel is a feet of engineering, at 115 meters below sea level it stretches 31.35 miles and carries trains traveling 99mph. When you start to think about that, your mind may wander (like mine) how they managed it… For one thing, it cost £9 billion (around £20 billion today), it was thought up in 1802 yet it took 186 years for construction to begin (1988-84) and it took 13,000 workers to do it. This tunnel has since revolutionized the way we cross the pond and was imagined in a time where horse and cart was the standard method of transport. Due to the way my mind works, I then started to consider the thought process that leads to such a thing being built and whether or not it is tunnel vision…
The literal definition of tunnel vision is “defective sight in which objects cannot be properly seen if not close to the center of the field of view.” My interpretation of this, in our thought processes, refers to how narrow-minded we are when approaching a problem. This does not mean that being narrow-minded is bad, in fact, it can have an array of positive connotations. Consider, for example, someone wanting to learn an instrument, the notion of tunnel vision would allow said person to become fully absorbed in developing the skill, without the distractions somebody less focused may be constrained by. I would attach the word obsessive to this way of thinking, the ability to shut out everything in the pursuit of a particular goal. I would add that this same person would approach mathematical problems with more ease than somebody with a broader mental focus.
Despite the quirks of having this focal switch, there are some serious drawbacks to consider that hold more importance, particularly to the roundness of character. Those who do not have this ability to tune out the world as they dive into whatever task is required of them, have the ability to pluck and incorporate different bits of information from elsewhere in their life, which contributes to the bigger picture. This understanding of the way life works for others allows for something particularly valuable, Empathy. This is something that I believe is imperative to advertising, it is clear that some people at SCA are more concerned with whether they offend people than others, a disregard for those that could be offended is where problems arise. Maybe we do live in a society where political correctness is too prominent, believing this does not grant you the ability to mock particular cultures that you have made no attempt to understand. In essence, what may be a laugh to you, may affirm someone’s fears that they are not an equal in the place they call home. I for one do not want to let my aspirations create a tunnel that prevents me from really relating to people.
Marc made a point today about tunneling away with an idea, everything is peachy when you’re on the right path however if you are on the wrong one you end up digging you’re own grave. It can often be hard to determine which way you have gone unless you have some guidance. This suggests that having tunnel vision can be a great thing but only when you have deciphered exactly where to.