Minor, but useful, digression: Saccades are the quick, ballistic movements that your eyes make whenever you are reading or taking in a new scene or just looking around. You can see this when you watch someone else’s eyes and how they move about. This does not happen when you are tracking a continuously moving object (or move your head with your neck while keeping your vision fixation on something). The interesting thing about saccades is that they are happening all the time but we don’t notice. Our brain somehow inhibits the ‘visual smear’ that would result from the eyes moving from one place to another. Our eyes basically just ‘arrive’ at a new fixation point and our experience is that there was no jump at all.
So what the heck was happening with my eyes? I don’t know. I thought perhaps the inhibition of the smearing was itself slightly inhibited so I was seeing the appearance of movement in the opposite direction of my eyes. Another possibility is that my eyes were somehow globally taking in parts of the environment, like raindrops (that I could not see overtly) and somehow attaching to them; when I shifted my vision from these ‘set points’ they were used as a very brief anchor in my visual space. Consequently, it appeared as if flashes were moving away from my new gaze direction when in fact I was just looking past ‘set points’ that created the illusion of motion. I thought this might occur because the distribution of the flashes could be like how raindrops would appear if quickly viewed.
I really have no idea how plausible either of these scenarios is, but I do know the experience was interesting and amazing as it is extremely rare to be aware of the fact that your eyes are shifting when you examine an environment or scene. Of course, this would probably only be desirable temporarily as it would be quite negative if one was continually made aware of such shifts.
It makes me wonder if, on some level, I was able to see myself seeing.
Any thoughts? (No, I wasn’t on drugs :P)