December 21, 1970

A Low-Power View

Author Affiliations

University of Cincinnati College of Medicine Cincinnati

JAMA. 1970;214(12):2185-2186. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03180120057011

In an article entitled "The World Through Myopic Eyes," Trevor-Roper' endeavors to show how certain poets, writers, and painters were influenced by the shortness of their sight. Lord Byron might well have agreed. It was he who observed that Lord Russell's essays on London society were too microscopic for his mind, and advised, "He who would take a just view of the world must neither examine it through a microscope nor a magnifying glass." Perspective is prejudiced by unduly close proximity, as Byron said.

The technique that defines by refining does little to encourage Weltanschauung. That a few are able, nevertheless to maintain a steady view of microcosm and macrocosm is one of those exceptions that illustrate the rule. Low-power and high-power viewing are extremes; there are of course many positions in between. But microscopical contemplation has been a favored method of science for a long, long time.

While serving