Friday, March 26, 2010

Myopia in war

I think I'd be interested in reading a history of myopia in warfare. Would an ancient Greek go off to battle even if he couldn't tell a Spartan from a Persian from more than 20 feet away? Or would a guy like that (which is to say, a guy like me) just be left at home to tan hides or something? Maybe he'd be used as an advanced scout, in the hopes he'd just get caught and killed off. Maybe he'd just be likely to get run over by a chariot before he even left home.


Soldiers wore spectacles in the Civil War. Was this eyewear expensive? What if it broke? Did they tell those guys not to shoot, because it was a waste of ammunition?


In Afghanistan and Iraq, how quickly do broken glasses get replaced? Pretty quickly, I bet.



  1. I think ancient people with myopia didn't even know about it and thought the world (including Persians) just looked that way.

    I think in the Civil War if glasses broke, they just kept on fighting. If they were lucky enough to survive, then they'd get them fixed back home. If not, it didn't matter anyway.

    I also wonder if this is even worth thinking about...?

  2. Even worth thinking about? Judy, you'd be shocked by my mind. I think about this sort of thing a lot. I also think about where I would live if I were the last person on earth. I also think about what I would do if I were the last person on earth and a killer robot were chasing me. Could I teach myself how to pilot an aircraft? I suppose I’d have to start with how to do my own sutures and how to maintain and shoot a firearm. I think about how weird it would be if fish could swim in the air around us. I spend considerable time imagining what the land around me looked like 150 years ago and 1000 years ago. What would it be like if I were the first white man that the American Indians ever saw—could we communicate peacefully? What would we do if dinosaurs were still around? Suppose ice sank? How could we grow plants and trees on top of every building in the city? What makes my mind my mind and not someone else’s mind, and why am I aware of it, and do these questions fail to get to the root of the issue?


I'm eager to hear your thoughts!