People with their five (5) nominal senses functioning normally take them for granted. For this exercise, I imagined what if we put ourselves into the situation of people with disabilities? Let’s start the exercise with a question:
This was actually one question that was asked in a class of creative writing when I was taking up my MA in UP Diliman (which I didn’t get to graduate from). How you want to answer it, is really up to you. What’s important is that you have to make a blind person experience the color blue.
Of course, I will not leave you guys hanging just on that thread.
We experience reality through our senses. Hence the term, “making sense of things.” Our senses act as a filter of information, and we process these sensations and connect them through words. (A further study of this could be through linguistics: [link]). Now with experiences connected with words, would it possible to do the reverse? Here’s more or less my answer to that question back in grad school:
Blue is the breath of fresh air inhaled on the beach. Blue is the feeling of running stream across your hands. Blue is crashing of waves against the shore. Blue is the refreshing taste of water.
Then it struck me. I was re-experiencing reality through my other senses as to how my sight would introduce me to the experience of the color blue. The sky is blue, then I feel the fresh air. Water is blue when I touch the stream, hear the waves, or perhaps drink a cold glass. Inversely, maybe we could make the other people “experience” blue by relating with the other senses. I went through smell, touch, hear and taste making up for sight.
If you got to do Creative Exercise 2, then this could come as a takeaway from that. What’s the experience we associate with the color blue? Visually we may see blue, but what are the secondary influx of reality that comes to our other senses? Just like in basic algebra, we are solving for X given all the other numbers constant. In effect, we are somehow approximating our visual experience of blue, by making up with all the information our other senses tell us. It’s just like how the blind would have that heightened sense of hearing.
What’s our lesson from this? We are basically reconstructing a “realization.” Giving a missing element in the concepts we make, we could somehow reconstruct that based from the present elements we have. This would be further discussed when we talk about breaking up an image into its elements, then solving of any missing pieces.
The main inspiration for this exercise came from Helen Keller. I know I hate quoting from Wikipedia, but no other links are decent enough to work with this much detail about her. She was the first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts college degree. For her to achieve such was just an icing on the cake. The real feat came in learning how to communicate despite a supposed huge gap in her senses. If people like her could express themselves despite the handicap, there’s no real reason for us normal-folk to lag behind. Over and above the imagination, it’s the expression that comes crucial next.
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