Time to focus or time to scan?

We can only think of one thing at a time. Perhaps this is a mortal disability. Or maybe it’s a blessing while being mortal.


Studies have shown that when you’re presented with a different image for each eye, your mind won’t fuse the two together, instead your mind chooses one, and even alternates between the two images — this is called binocular rivalry 
“The brain has difficulty integrating the two eyes’ incompatible signals. When the signals from the two eyes are different enough, the brain resolves the conflicting information by suppressing the information from one of the eyes,”
Researchers showed subjects a pattern of vertically oriented green stripes in the left eye and a horizontally oriented set of red stripes in the right eye.
“The brain cannot fuse them in a way that makes sense. So the brain sees only horizontal or vertical,”

Figure 2: Examples of dichoptic stimuli that provoke binocular rivalry. (Reprinted from Tong et al, 2006. Copyright 2006, with permission from Elsevier.) [Wikipedia]

I’ve always heard that you can’t think of two things at the same time — you can’t have fear and faith at the same time. Our minds only focus on one thing at a time. It’s as if your right eye sees faith, and your left eye sees fear — your mind will alternate between the two, and eventually choose one — fear or faith.
We have a choice in this case though. We can choose to have both our eyes focus on faith.
Drop the fear.


I know it’s not easy, but once learned, we have more faith in this truth. Remember, F. Enzio Busche’s experience with the evil spirit — he could have no fear, only love.
We can’t follow two masters either.
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (Matt 6:24)

But, Sometimes it’s better when you don’t focus on one thing

When my son was taking driver’s education — behind the wheel training, his instructor taught him to never focus on one thing. He said, you need to continually scan the area — and he demonstrated:
“there’s a kid getting out of the car on the right side; there’s a ball rolling over on the left; the light up ahead is turning yellow, and the guy behind you is not paying attention.”
If you focus on any one of those things, your mind will lock in on it, and you will not see the other dangers. You could very well miss the ball rolling into the street if you fixate on the kid getting out of the car. Scan, scan, scan. Look at escape routes, know what’s happening all around you.


While it is important to focus and embrace faith, at other times we must scan and not focus. Many times, we fixate on a doctrine, or previous understanding of a scriptural teaching, making it impossible for us to receive new revelation. Sometimes people fixate on the Word of Wisdom, or their interpretation of it and then judge others. Like when Pres. David O. McKay said, he wanted Coca Cola in his  cup — much to the surprise of the young man serving him.

  • Michael Towns

    Another great post! I am so glad you’re on my blog list. I absolutely love the story about Pres. McKay and the Coca Cola! There is a danger in focusing in too heavily on one doctrine to the exclusion of the others. We miss the symphony because we only want to hear the oboe.