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The sculpture above (with its glaringly empty eye socket) reminded me that yesterday, just as I was brushing up on sympathetic ophthalmia, I checked my yahoo email, and a reader sent me a biographical essay mentioning the visual problems of Paul Linebarger, aka Cordwainer Smith:

Linebarger was reared in a High Church Episcopalian family. Alan C. Elms’s sketch of the older Linebargers does not lead one to believe either was particularly devout. Paul’s father was evidently rather overbearing and placed many demands on his son. His mother was apparently rather self-centered and controlling. At the age of six, young Paul was blinded in his left eye as a result of an accident while playing, and the resulting infection damaged his right eye as well, causing him distress throughout his entire life. A sensitive, introspective, and apparently rather lonely and sickly youth, Paul Linebarger was to develop into a remarkable scholar, thinker, and writer.

That looks like a classic case of sympathetic ophthalmia, which isn’t really an infection, but a poorly understood immune reaction:

Sympathetic ophthalmia is a potentially blinding, immune-mediated, inflammatory condition, which usually follows severe trauma to one eye. It is the fellow to the injured eye (the sympathizing eye) that is affected by the disorder, and the risk of the condition is approximately one in 500 severely traumatized eyes. The traumatic ocular event must be a penetrating or rupturing injury of the eye, typically involving a large laceration, which involves the region of the ciliary body of the eye. The immune system is then exposed to antigens in the eye, which had never previously been “seen,” and subsequently mounts an inflammatory response to the fellow of the injured eye. The immune-mediated attack on the fellow eye may be relentlessly progressive, despite all attempts at control, with eventual complete vision loss.

Which means that often for the sake of the good eye, the bad eye has to go. (The procedure is called enucleation — not to be confused with this kind of enucleation.) Leave in one lost eye, and you can lose both.
It just never struck me as fair that a blind eye could lead a good eye to ruin, but I guess I shouldn’t confuse value judgments with human physiology.
The result might be the “visualization” of values.
MORE: Here’s Paul Linebarger/Cordwainer Smith on truth:

Propaganda vs. Truth. How can I tell the apart? The answer is simple: If you agree with it, it is the truth. If you don’t agree, it’s propaganda.

OK then?