Right now I’m listening to The City and the City by China Mieville. It’s about two cities that share a physical space in two different dimensions – sort of. I still haven’t figured out a good way to explain their presence.
Since the two share space, people from one city can often see things from the other. But all are trained from childhood to “unsee” anything that happens in the other city. If someone tries to interact between the two, he could be arrested.
The concept of “unseeing” caught my interest. I wondered how the people in those cities did it. Then I took a plane trip this past weekend for a conference. I realized that I “unsaw” my fellow travelers. The couple trying to quiet the screaming baby on the plane? I ignored, or “unheard” them. I can’t describe anyone I sat by on the plane or followed in a coffee line.
That’s when I realized we “unsee” all the time. Mieville is making a point of it. It sounds difficult, but we do without thinking.