In the Kingdom of the Blind

“In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king”.
-Desiderius Erasmus

I’ve seen or heard this saying thrown around a lot lately, and it’s starting to bother me. Maybe it’s because so many people I know agree to the point where they take it as scripture (or think it actually is). Maybe because it was a question on a leadership personality test I had to take for a class. Maybe because I don’t think anyone actually thinks about it.

Or maybe it’s because I’m a writer and my brain immediately creates a kingdom of “the blind” and inserts a one-eyed man into it.

Then I think “Calm down there, guy (my brain calls everyone “guy”, even me), some 15th century Dutch philosopher said it. He probably meant blind to mean ignorant.” Then I think of internet commenters and it’s STILL wrong. Probable even MORE wrong.

In the kingdom of the literal blind, the one-eyed man would rely on his half-vision when no one else has to worry about it. In this kingdom, color doesn’t matter, light doesn’t matter, and literally any appearance of any kind doesn’t matter.

Have you ever bought something because it looked good, then taken it home to find out it’s a piece of junk?

The one-eyed man would make this mistake when the blind people wouldn’t.

If the kingdom is one of darkness and so the people evolved to ditch their worthless sense or they were born with sight and then lost it because of the darkness and it was never allowed to develop (which happens if a baby is not able to develop their eyesight out of the womb but having it blocked off).

The one-eyed man would be at a disadvantage, especially if he was a foreigner. Even if there is enough to see in the kingdom of the blind, it operated without any attention to that. Without anything being created or used for a visual audience, there would be no benefit to having “one eye”.

Forgery would be more difficult, finding your way around would be harder, but maybe finding and killing people would be easier? Of course, if you kill them all, you’re not a king. (You’re a god, according to Jean Rostand. You could argue that killing everyone in the kingdom makes you a “conqueror”, but I’d argue that a conqueror needs someone to conquer FOR, just like a king, and they were often the same thing throughout history all over the world.)

If it’s the kind of world where a half-sighted person could come in and wipe them all out, chances are they have really good defenses against sighted people who come in trying to kill them all.

Equally, if you think of blindness as ignorance and sight as enlightenment, you have a problem.

Have you ever argued with someone who is ignorant on the topic which you are arguing?
Have you tried showing evidence after evince and then realized that they’re really just hell-bent on sticking to their ignorant argument?

If not, have you MET the internet?

‘nuff said.


I guess what I’m saying is that “In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man ain’t shit.”

Or even,

Your natural gifts don’t make you better than anyone else, and their natural gifts don’t make them better than you.



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