Screens really are everywhere these days; Forbes reported last year that we spend up to 12 hours a day looking at them. When they were those chunky cathode-ray tubes, it was just one, maybe two, per household, and the idea of a portable telephone with a mini-TV on it was unthinkable. Then came personal computers, chunky to begin with as well, and that heralded the end for us all. Maybe Y2K was never about a glitch that would cause the entire digi-world order to collapse, but a failsafe we needed to activate—and, now, we’re two decades too late.
While our eyes have never before been so in demand, it’s also true that humans have always relied on vision. This perhaps explains why sight, and its role as our species’ primary sense for navigating what exists, has gained such profound metaphorical significance: seeing clearly, being a visionary, being observant, having perspective, seeing the big picture. No wonder that one of our most cutting criticisms—which weaves an unfriendly ableism into its conception of inferiority—is blind. Related phrasings share this semantic slippage: myopic, short-sighted, unfocused.
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