The biologist George Wald once compared his work on an exceedingly specialized subject, the visual pigments of the eye, to ‘a very narrow window through which at a distance one can see only a crack of light. As one comes closer the view grows wider and wider, until finally through this same narrow window one is looking at the universe.

Rachel Carson, Silent Spring (1962)

Quote by George Wald, in context:

Years ago I used to worry about the degree to which I had specialized. Vision is limited enough, yet I was not really working on vision, for I hardly made contact with visual sensations, except as signals, nor with the nervous pathways, nor the structures of the eye, except the retina. Actually, my studies involved only the rods and cones of the retina, and in them only the visual pigments. A sadly limited peripheral business, fit for escapists. But it is as though this were a very narrow window through which at a distance one can see only a crack of light. As one comes closer the view grows wider and wider, until finally through this same narrow window one is looking at the universe.”

(Unsure of original source; quoted here)

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