Howard Axelrod’s memoir, The Point of Vanishing (Beacon, 2015), was named one of the best books of 2015 by Slate, the Chicago Tribune, and Entropy Magazine, and one of the best memoirs of 2015 by Library Journal. His work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Salon, Harvard Magazine, and the Boston Globe. He is on the faculty at Loyola University Chicago.
Of the five senses, vision tends to get the glory. We hail great innovators as visionary, praise writers for their insight, and thank friends for offering perspective. We call prophets seers, but also admire daily perspicacity and seek to avoid myopia and blind spots. Just consider the words spectacles and spectacular, and you catch a glimpse—not a whisper, a glimpse—of the divergence between vision in the optometrist’s office and vision in our cultural construction of it. But while vision gets the glory, hearing has our trust. We want justice to be blind during court hearings.