complete or nearly complete lack of vision; visual acuity worse than 3/60
- In regione caecorum rex est luscus.
- In the country of the blind the one eyed man is king.
- Desiderius Erasmus's Adagia (first published 1500, with numerous expanded editions through 1536), III, IV, 96
- A similar (yet much earlier, dating to the 4th or 5th century CE) turn of phrase, and Erasmus' likely inspiration, appears in the Genesis Rabbah as "בשוק סמייא צווחין לעווירא סגי נהור", meaning "In the street of the blind, the one eyed man is called the Guiding Light".
- The pain was maddening. You should pray to God when you're dying, if you can pray when you're in agony. In my dream I didn't pray to God, I thought of Roger and how dearly I loved him. The pain of those wicked flames was not half so bad as the pain I felt when I knew he was dead. I felt suddenly glad to be dying. I didn't know when you were burnt to death you'd bleed. I thought the blood would all dry up in the terrible heat. But I was bleeding heavily. The blood was dripping and hissing in the flames. I wished I had enough blood to put the flames out. The worst part was my eyes. I hate the thought of gong blind. It's bad enough when I'm awake but in dreams you can't shake the thoughts away. They remain. In this dream I was going blind. I tried to close my eyelids but I couldn't. They must have been burnt off, and now those flames were going to pluck my eyes out with their evil fingers, I didn't want to go blind. The flames weren't so cruel after all. They began to feel cold. Icy cold. It occurred to me that I wasn't burning to death but freezing to death.
- Arthur Guirdham in The Cathars and Reincarnation, p. 89.
- As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
- Gospel of John 9:1-7
- Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.
- Gospel of John 9:39-41
- The only real blind person at Christmas-time is he who has not Christmas in his heart. We sightless children had the best of eyes that day in our hearts and in our finger-tips. We were glad from the child's necessity of being happy. The blind who have outgrown the child's perpetual joy can be children again on Christmas Day and celebrate in the midst of them who pipe and dance and sing a new song!
- Helen Keller, "Christmas in the Dark" in Ladies Home Journal (December 1906)
- We differ, blind and seeing, one from another, not in our senses, but in the use we make of them, in the imagination and courage with which we seek wisdom beyond the senses.
- Helen Keller, The Five-sensed World (1910)
- The problems of deafness are deeper and more complex, if not more important, than those of blindness. Deafness is a much worse misfortune. For it means the loss of the most vital stimulus — the sound of the voice that brings language, sets thoughts astir and keeps us in the intellectual company of man.
- Letter to Dr. James Kerr Love (1910), published in Helen Keller in Scotland: a personal record written by herself (1933), edited by James Kerr Love. Paraphrasing of this statement may have been the origin of a similar one which has become attributed to her:
- Blindness cuts us off from things, but deafness cuts us off from people.
- Helen Keller, FAQ at Gallaudet University
- Blindness cuts us off from things, but deafness cuts us off from people.
- I who am blind can give one hint to those who see - one admonition to those who would make full use of the gift of sight: Use your eyes as if tomorrow you would be stricken blind. And the same method can be applied to other senses. Hear the music of voices, the song of a bird, the mighty strains of an orchestra, as if you would be stricken deaf to-morrow. Touch each object you want to touch as if tomorrow your tactile sense would fail. Smell the perfume of flowers, taste with relish each morsel, as if tomorrow you could never smell and taste again. Make the most of every sense; glory in all the facets of pleasure and beauty which the world reveals to you through the several means of contact which Nature provides.
- Helen Keller, Three Days to See, (1933)
- Jordan rarely, if ever, goes out. "There's no point," he says. "One darkness is the same as another. The only way you can change the landscape for me is to bring in flowers - or pine cones - or fart, for that matter."
- Bernard MacLaverty, short story, "The Drapery Man" [p.36 of 'The Great Profundo and other stories', Penguin Books, 1989]
- An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.
- 1914: "If…we were to go back to…'an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,' there would be very few [Honourable] Gentlemen in this House who would not…be blind and toothless." — George Perry Graham, during a debate on capital punishment before the Canadian House of Commons. Official Report of the Debates of the House of Commons of the Dominion of Canada, Third Session-Twelfth Parliament, Vol CXIII, p. 496, February 5, 1914.
- 1950: "An-eye-for-an-eye-for-an-eye-for-an-eye … ends in making everybody blind" in The Life of Mahatma Gandhi by Louis Fischer (1950), though Fischer did not attribute it to Gandhi and seemed to be giving his own description of Gandhi's philosophy.
- 1958: "The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind" in Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story by Martin Luther King, Jr., 1958.
- 1982: "An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind" in the 1982 film, Gandhi. In a 1993 biographical article about screenwriter John Briley, Jon Krampner wrote, "…Gandhi never said it. Michigan graduate John Briley put those pithy words in his mouth." From "John Briley '51 - Epic Screenwriter", Michigan Today, March 1993, p. 12.
- 2006: There is a quaternary source in Yale Book of Quotations (2006), in which editor Fred R. Shapiro states that the Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence stated that Gandhi's family believes it authentic, but did not provide any further reference and provided no year, place or body of work.
- 2006: Discussed in The Quote Verifier: Who Said What, Where, and When, by Ralph Keyes (2006), 1st ed., p. 74.
- 2010: Research detailed by Garson O'Toole in "An Eye for an Eye Will Make the Whole World Blind" in Quote Investigator.
- O loss of sight, of thee I most complain!
Blind among enemies, O worse than chains,
Dungeon, or beggary, or decrepit age!
- O dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon,
Irrecoverably dark! total eclipse,
Without all hope of day.
- Judas: All your followers are blind
Too much Heaven on their minds
It was beautiful but now it's sour
Yes, it's all, all gone sour.
- Perhaps only in a world of the blind will things be what they truly are.
- José Saramago, Blindness (1995), p. 126.
- He that is strucken blind cannot forget
The precious treasure of his eyesight lost.
- There's none so blind as they that won't see.
- Jonathan Swift, Polite Conversation (c. 1738), Dialogue III.
- Sometimes I think I would love to see … just to see the beauty of flowers and trees and birds and the earth and grass. … Being as I've never seen, I don't know what it's like to see. So in a sense I'm complete. Maybe I'd be incomplete if I did see. Maybe I'd see some things that I didn't want to see . . . the beauty of the earth compared to the destruction of man. You see, it's one thing when you are blind from birth, and you don't know what it's like to see, anyway, so it is just like seeing. The sensation of seeing is not one that I have and not one that I worry about.
- Stevie Wonder as quoted in Stevie Wonder (1978) by Constanze Elsner, and Jet Vol. 53, No. 22 (16 February 1978), p. 60
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations Edit
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 72.
- Oh, say! what is that thing call'd light,
Which I must ne'er enjoy?
What are the blessings of the sight?
Oh, tell your poor blind boy!
- Colley Cibber, The Blind Boy.
- None so blind as those that will not see.
- Matthew Henry, Commentaries, Jeremiah XX.
- Dispel this cloud, the light of heaven restore;
Give me to see, and Ajax asks no more.
- Homer, The Iliad, Book XVII, line 730. Pope's translation.
- If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
- Matthew, XV. 14.
- These eyes, tho' clear
To outward view of blemish or of spot,
Bereft of light, their seeing have forgot,
Nor to their idle orbs doth sight appear
Of sun, or moon, or star, throughout the year,
Or man, or woman. Yet I argue not
Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a jot
Of heart or hope; but still bear up and steer
- John Milton, Sonnet XXII, line 1.
- And when a damp
Fell round the path of Milton, in his hand
The Thing became a trumpet; whence he blew
Soul-animating strains—alas! too few.
- William Wordsworth, Scorn Not the Sonnet; Critic, You Have Frowned.