Seeing from the Blind Perspective

Today I continue on the theme of blindness.  When I first discovered that my friend had no perception of light and dark, I was intrigued to find out what she ‘saw’ when she closed her eyes:  Was it black?  Was it white? Was there colour? 

Her response made me take a step back …

No! There is just nothing!

Yet, as we talked about colour and shade and clothes and house decorations I was staggered that she had the most amazing concept of colour and co-ordination.  She could go into her wardrobe and pull out clothes that matched and then go to her jewellery and find an appropriate necklace and earrings.  Now to me, it didn’t matter whether what I saw as green related to how my friend saw green, or whether it was anywhere near the same shade or colour.  I was confronted with was a lady who, when she closed her eyes (or kept them open for that matter) could ‘see nothing‘ yet could perceive in her mind colour matches and co-ordination to fine degrees of detail. 

And my surprises weren’t over! 

As a musician I was used to playing in bands where we could sit and jam and create new songs.  We would come to a stop and everyone would sense it at the same time.  But in most cases there was some eye-contact which indicated that ‘something was about to happen’.  My friend had none of those benefits and yet was able to jam with the best of them (partly helped by perfect pitch and extraordinary sensitivity and skill on the piano) and could finish with the rest of us, right on the button!

I was learning very quickly that creativity was not confined to those of us with the benefit of sight.  My friend would describe pictures that she saw in her mind, musical pictures that were stimulated through conversation, sounds, taking a walk … many things.  During discussions new light would be thrown on old problems simply because she was able to see things from a different perspective.  And it was amazing how many times those ideas were the key that unlocked the door to new discoveries and new ways of doing things.

I was struck how differently we could see situations; metaphorically and physically (though she had a slight disadvantage!) and yet how synergistic these views often were.  They weren’t ‘right’ or ‘wrong’; they complimented each other, rubbed against each other, challenged each other and in so doing released something new.

I know that my perspective on life has been greatly enriched by knowing this friend.  I hope that each of us can find something fresh from relationships that may have become stale or contentious because of our different views. 

Perhaps if we saw the potential rather than the problem we could all benefit.

I think for my next post I’ll do a ‘live’ interview with my friend so that she can speak to us all directly, in her own words.

About waywood

Hi & Welcome to my thoughts. I share subjects that are important to me. As you’ll notice, these subjects can be quite broad & varied. I like variety; I like breadth & I like a challenge. I am passionate about helping others overcome their fears, grow in confidence & succeed. Although many people would label me as an achiever, I have battled low confidence, low self-esteem & a couple of nasty, long periods depression over the years. I can’t say, “I know how you feel” but I can hopefully empathise & offer some of the things that are helping me to turn my life around. Please feel free to comment, share & enjoy. Take care, best wishes & keep well Stuart
This entry was posted in arts, blind, blind myths, blindness, clothes, color, colour, coping with blindness, creative, creativity, friends, Friendship, inspiration, living with disability, music, opposites attract, playing music, true stories, trust, visual impairment and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Seeing from the Blind Perspective

  1. Cyndy says:

    It’s oddly difficult to describe vision when one is born blind. Take for instance my own case, I have a disorder called Achromatopsia that in the most basic sense doesn’t allow for the perception of color. But that isn’t to say I literally see in black-and-white – in fact, it’s very difficult for me to see things like black-and-white films, etc. However, even though I’ve never seen color, my limited vision is still quite vibrant and full of contrast.

    Which, I guess, could be summed up by saying that vision is not the same thing as perception. Perception is learned.

  2. Great post. Unfortunately, most people see the DIS-ability before they see the ABILITY. Music is one of many areas that the blind excel in. The Carroll Center for the blind hosts an annual live concert featuring blind musicians. Of note in our last concert is Cydnie Breazeale-Davis of The Cydnie Breazeale-Davis Trio who is deaf-blind. Many people don’t know that as many as 10% of the blind are also deaf. Cydnie is an amazing keyboardist who was trained at the Berklee College of Music.

    You can read more about our annual concert on our website:
    http://www.carroll.org/2007/10/22/the-alumni-second-annual-live-concert

    Or even watch video from the concert:
    http://www.carroll.org/2008/01/07/2007-alumni-concert

    Or take a look at some photos:
    http://www.carroll.org/wpg2?g2_itemId=116

  3. Pingback: Snow: Blind Man’s Fog? | Stuart Wood's Weblog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s