Many answers to the question of Why do so many people wear glasses? have been proposed, but the underlying assumption in all of them is that myopia is a bad thing. Perhaps this was true a millennium ago, when corrective lenses were unavailable and poor eyesight kept a person from functioning properly. In the modern world, this is no longer the case. I'm not particularly happy about having to wear glasses for my daily activities (and contact lenses are even worse), but I must admit I'm glad to be nearsighted.

The visual stimuli the average human is exposed to have increased dramatically in modern times, both in magnitude and intensity. The sensory experience of something as commonplace as driving in rush hour traffic is utterly unlike anything a medieval person who wasn't a professional warrior might experience in a typical day. Urban living is a neverending barrage of sensation with a very low signal to noise ratio. The suburbs are even worse, adopting the sensory bombardment of cities without the mitigating effect of actual culture. It seems impossible to avoid it without the extreme measures of isolating oneself in a rural cabin without electicity or running water (and writing awkward manifestos about one's disillusionment). I know I sure as hell wouldn't want to live without air conditioning and integrated circuits. The technology itself is wonderful, but no one yet has found the cure for the epidemic of Spam that seems to be riding on its coattails.

So where does myopia fit in with all of this? Simple. When tension becomes overbearing, I can just take my glasses off and get some some semblance of tranquility. Perfect vision is a good thing, perhaps, for the few whose hyperdriven personalities and physiologies are well-adapted to this world, but I know mine aren't, and I'm glad to have the virtual escape button that myopia provides. It works best when outdoors, ideally on a sunny day (of which there are plenty in Florida). I remove my "corrective" lenses and another world emerges. Colors are as vivid as ever, but the detail of objects has vanished. My surroundings become peaceful, and under the right conditions, beautiful. The broadband input of my eyes has slowed to a 56K, and I can actually appreciate what I see, devoid of the frenetic bustle that pervades my 20/20 reality.