Why Can't We Walk Straight?

Try this: Put a blindfold on someone, take them to a park or a beach or a meadow and ask them to walk for as long as they can in a straight line. Then watch what happens:

So why, when blindfolded, can’t we walk straight?  NPR reports on a variety of experiments conducted over the last 80 years, exploring this human tendency to walk in circles.  The report also references a recent study by Jan Souman, a research scientist in Germany, who  ran similar experiments in Bienwald Forest…without blindfolds. As the subjects walked, Jan mapped where they went. Here’s a sample of his results.

The two red dots mark the start of several walks. He ran these experiments over a series of several days.  His conclusion?  Even without blindfolds, humans tend to walk in circles, depending on the weather.  When the sky was cloudy and visibility low (blue lines), the walkers (labeled KS, PS and RF)  were unable to stay straight and began to turn.  When it was sunny (yellow line), the walker (labeled SM) was  able to keep a steady and rather lengthy straight line.  His conclusion?

Humans, apparently, slip into circles when we can’t see an external focal point, like a mountain top, a sun, a moon. Without a corrective, our insides take over and there’s something inside us that won’t stay straight.

You can read much more about the experiments here.  But could I suggest to you that there is a simple spiritual application here as well?  We all slip into selfish, sinful circles when we don’t focus on an external point beyond ourselves.  Without a divine reference point, our carnal insides take over and there’s something inside us that won’t stay straight.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also  lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us  run with  endurance the race that is set before us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the  author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him  endured the cross,  despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  (Hebrews 12:1-2, NASB)

Do you want to avoid walking in self-destructive, sinful circles? Focus your gaze on the Son.

One comment

  1. Powerful point. Thanks, Jason.