The eyes have it (and how)July 12, 2016

JulEYE is a month-long awareness campaign, where the Eye Surgeons' Foundation want Australians to believe that the sight is the most important human sense. And the members aren't pulling a leg.

Some may wonder why this campaign is observed during the month of July. Not a few see the number seven as a lucky figure, but this is a coincidence. Let's rather look at the sensible reasons. The eyes enable us to appreciate the beauty around us. There's a thing called visual learning. A good eyesight can suggest a perceptive personality. If you're not convinced, then take a look at the all-seeing eye in popular culture. Here's a short list:

Un Chien Andalou (1928) by Luis Buñuel. One scene stood out in this short film, which was a man slitting a woman's right eye with a razor. Buñuel collaborated with Salvador Dali, so this surreal image certainly provoked the viewers. What would be the reasons? It could be the Spanish filmmaker's rebellious attitude towards authority. It would be his way of telling his audience to open their eyes to the truth. And the world was about to get back on her feet after the Great War. What happened next surprised them.

Alice in Wonderland (1951) by Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, and Hamilton Luske. Lewis Carroll confounded readers with this strange chapter narrating Alice's encounter with the Cheshire Cat. He would appear and disappear all of a sudden. And those eyes were the last body parts to vanish into thin air. It would tell something, but Alice (and the moviegoers) don't have a clue. Could the Cheshire Cat be a sadist in disguise?

Clockwork Orange (1971) by Stanley Kubrick. The poster would make some viewers stop and look at it intently. The all-knowing eye could represent authority with a smirk on his face. It would be a terrifying look into the distant future. It may be something else. The audience is wary of it, yet they are a bit too curious about it.

The Man Who Would Be King (1975) by John Huston. The temple carving (of the eye) was sufficient enough to warn two buddies of the fate awaiting them in the remote Kafiristan. But wanderlust can be blind.

Brazil (1984) by Terry Gilliam. It's rather strange that the all-knowing eye can take a form of a telly, which can cause a dull effect. What could be a better illustration of government control? Moreover, Terry Gilliam couldn't suppress his unusual sense of humor. An illustration of the eye wouldn't achieve the desired effect.

There's no shortage of eyes in literature as well. High fantasy readers know too well of the Eye of Sauron, which would keep Mordor in a perpetual state of malevolence. And it could penetrate anything. (Frodo would attest to it.) Horror fans wouldn't dare look for a pair of bloodshot eyes, which could mean two things. Vampires or werewolves. Last but not the least, comic book fans are curious about the Eye of Agamotto. Could it be inspired by a mysterious statue of a pagan deity in Africa? Steve Ditko has read too many books on ancient cultures, leaving his readers to make a guess. Happy JulEYE!

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