Do blind people know what it’s like to see?

Home Forums Disabilities/Challenges Do blind people know what it’s like to see?

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  • #2984

    CP19379
    Participant

    I have always wondered if people who are blind since birth can actually understand what sight is. How can they possibly grasp what it means to see when they have never seen? I can’t imagine how I would go about explaining it, either.

    User Detail :  

    Name : CP19379, Gender : F, Age : 21, City : Montreal, Quebec, State : NA Country : Canada, 
    #30363

    Susan K.
    Member

    I am sighted but have read several books by the neurologist Oliver Sacks. He’s a fascinating writer as well as an outstanding scientist and humanitarian. He says that those who have never had sight have differently-developed senses and may even find sight disconcerting if they gain it later in life (perspective baffles them – distances, the height and depth of steps, etc.). You might want to read his book on this subject (To See and Not See, 1995).

    User Detail :  

    Name : Susan K., Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Christian, Age : 51, City : Rochester, State : NY Country : United States, Occupation : Writer/Consultant, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #15411

    Mike L.
    Participant

    Oliver Sacks addresses this issue with a patient of his that he wrote about in a chapter of his book, Anthropologist on Mars. The thing that stood out for me in that chapter is how the patient who had gained his sight had to learn to take in information non-sequentially. For instance, when navigating a furnished room, the blind person moves around objects one at a time. But after he gained his sight, the patient had to become accustomed to riding in a car and being able to see an airplane outside of his window. It was something he could not have imagined on his own, had he not seen it. This made navigating that same room as a sighted person something he had to relearn.

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    Name : Mike L., Gender : M, Race : Asian, Age : 29, City : Walnut Creek, State : CA Country : United States, Education level : 4 Years of College, 
    #15885

    Chip32129
    Participant

    I have a cousin who is blind since birth, and she has told me that the concept of sight is unknown to her. However, she does understand certain aspects of sight. For instance, she was taught that the feeling of cold is blue and hot is red, the smell of fresh cut grass is green, the feeling of the sun on a warm summer day is orange, the taste of chocolate is brown, the silence at the end of the day is black. This is the way she “sees” with her other senses.

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    Name : Chip32129, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Catholic, Age : 28, City : Detroit, State : MI Country : United States, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
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