Blind Vaysha

Blind Vaysha

Blind Vaysha is an eight minute animated film from Canada. It tells the story of the title character, who has a quite peculiar supernatural power (or really disability).

With her left eye she sees the past, and with her right eye she sees the future. Never does she see the present.

The amount of time past or future is not consistent. That is, if she looks at a house, with her left eye she might see it as it was a few minutes ago or many years ago (or not see it at all, because she’s looking to a time before it was built), and with her right eye she might see it as it will look a few minutes from now or many years from now (or not see it at all, because she’s looking to a time after it is gone).

Obviously her perceptions are utterly chaotic when she has both eyes open, but even closing or covering one eye is only a modest improvement. Imagine trying to cross the street, for instance, when what you’re seeing is some past or future version of it.

This isn’t a science fiction story where we’re supposed to take it literally and imagine what it would be like to live like her, what the consequences would be, etc. In that sense, it’s probably not even coherent. For example, it is said that when various suitors approached her to ask for her hand, she was puzzled why toddlers (if she looked with her left eye) or elderly men (if she looked with her right eye) would so approach her, and so she turned them all down. But if you think about it, there’s no reason for her to be puzzled that they look so young or so old unless she herself is somehow unaware that she’s always seeing the past or the future, but that’s not the case since it’s explicitly stated that she’s fully aware that that is how she perceives the world.

So really it’s not about that. Presumably it’s just a symbolic story meant to convey the moral that it is unwise to live too much in the past or too much in the future, that in doing so you miss out on life, which always occurs in the present.

Because it’s not as if she just sees differently; for all intents and purposes she’s blind. As I indicated with the example of crossing the street, this is a person who really wouldn’t be functional if she relied on sight.

It would be kind of cool, I suppose, to be able to turn that power on and off selectively—even more so if you could control how far in the past or future to see—but she can’t. She’s stuck with eyes that provide only irrelevant perceptual information to her 99% of the time.

So the moral is a valid one; you really ought to primarily focus on the present in your life.

Of course you can go too far in that direction too. There’s a place for memories and a place for anticipating and planning for the future. Eliminate those from your life entirely and you’ll be at least as messed up as she is, just in a different way.

The animation style of Blind Vaysha is artsy and only loosely representational. (“Linocut” is the name for this style, or so I read online later.) I assume that makes it artistically superior to straightforward animation, and it’s kind of interesting-looking, but for me it just makes it a little harder to follow what’s going on when the drawings are intentionally obscure like that.

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