Historical Considerations

The eyes are the human windows to the world. Most of the sensory input to the brain is through the eyes. For centuries, the eye has been considered the essence of the person, representing the "I." In mythology and the writings of ancient times, the eye is an organ associated with mystical powers.

The eye has long been associated with mythical gods. In ancient Egypt, the eye was the symbol of the Great Goddess. The Eye of Horus was believed to protect against all evil and to ensure success. The ''evil eye'' from the myth of Medusa was an expression of envy and greed (see Fig. 3-3).

Another interesting association is the subconscious linking of ''eyeball'' with genitalia. Blindness can symbolize castration because testicles and eyeballs have the same shape and are important in the development of the sense of identity. This linking goes back to the legend of Oedipus, who pierced his eyeballs when he discovered that he had been married to his mother and had killed his father. This can be thought of as an act of self-castration, as well as a means of cutting oneself off from all worldly relationships. Throughout literature, the blinding of an individual was frequently a form of punishment for lust. The age-old notion that masturbation causes blindness further reinforces this close association of organs.

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