October 08, 2009

Gaining Depth Perception

I've been busy, but not as busy as last week. This week I have time to read, and I have been rereading Xenocide, the third book in the Ender series, which begins with Ender's Game. It is not my favorite in the series, but it is good. I got to a part where Olhado (whose real name is Lauro) was talking about what it is like to have no depth perception. Now, Olhado lost his eyes somehow, and one was replaced with a mechanical eye, and the other with a place to connect to the computer. He had wanted to show other people what he had seen, so he had chosen a computer hookup over depth perception.

So what he said was that it is like everyone is a cardboard cutout, and everything behind them is a painted background. I don't know what it's like to have no depth perception, but I do know what it's like to have almost no depth perception. Over the years, ever since I was very small my eyes changed. One became very farsighted, and the other became very nearsighted. There are advantages to this, but it's really better to have depth perception. So finally about a year and a half ago I went to the optometrist for some reason, and I found out my eyes are like that. I never realized it until I got glasses, but for most of my life the world had looked like a painting to me, I could tell how far away something was by its size or by where it sat on the ground, but nothing really looked 3D. Then when I first put on my glasses, everything popped out at me, like cardboard cutouts. And I realized that depth perception doesn't actually help you tell how far away things are very well. Oh well. At least I can see a bit better. My eyes have improved enough that I can see a lot better without my glasses, but I still wear glasses when they're not lost if I don't have a headache.

Today's observation? Orson Scott Card clearly has no idea what it's like to live without depth perception.

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