Why VT? – Part 2 – A Blind Man’s Paradise
The blind have always been quite intriguing to me. In fact, if moving on from my current career is ever in the cards, a job in assisting the blind is most likely where you’ll find me. Some may find this idea a bit comical, or even ironic, considering much of my adult life has been spent in the business of other people’s vision, but my fascination and admiration for people who interpret, adapt, and survive in a highly visual world without the benefit of vision continues to grow. No, maybe they cannot drive a car or catch a ball, and they may not visualize in the same manner as a sighted person, but they have fine tuned their other four sensory inputs at a level that most of us cannot even comprehend, and use this information to maintain a perspective about themselves and the world around them. I happen to find that fascinating.
As an experiment, consider being seated in a chair and our vision suddenly removed by way of blindfold. For the first few minutes, it would cause little interference in our way of life because we still have a perspective on our world. Extend the same blindfold experience out for 12 hours, and suddenly our world may feel akin to quicksand on a rainy day. We rely on our vision so heavily to understand our surroundings, to maneuver through space, to react to stimuli, and to interpret our world. This process is where sight becomes vision, and vision influences perception. And perception is everything.
Don’t believe me? Try blindfolding yourself for an afternoon and experience it for yourself. It’s amazing how quickly we become anxious, irritable, and agitated. I’m sure some people may cringe just thinking about it. Your vision offers important input for almost everything you do and interference to that system of information collection is not welcomed.
With all of this, it is interesting to me that so many in the world still promote the idea that vision is unrelated to reading and learning – that the two concepts remain mutually exclusive. If such a fallacy were true, we may be left to ponder why human beings have vision in the first place, or why we all don’t read using the Braille method. If our eyes aren’t important, why not read with our fingers? How can what you see, how efficiently your eyes collect information, our understanding of that information, and how we respond or react to the input have anything to do with our performance? A blind person’s response might be simple:
How can it not?