A Thousand Words Are Worth More Than One Picture
I am sure you have heard the phrase, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
It isn’t true for 285 million blind and visually impaired people on the planet according to the World Health Organization. This is a lot of people who can potentially feel isolated especially in a world of Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and on and on.
I admit it. I feel angry, isolated, excluded, and invisible. I feel like I might not exist since I don’t take selfies and send them all over the planet. I can be in a room with dear friends and completely miss an entire thread of conversation because that conversation centers around something everyone sees but me. It does not occur to people that I don’t have a clue what they are talking about.
I have learned how to work with my feelings of isolation. I have learned to find my center, reframe the situation, and to enjoy being together and alone simultaneously. This type of episode usually gets me thinking about how much people rely on their vision to the exclusion of their other senses.
The saying that blind people have heightened senses is a boring story to me, and that is not where I am going with this. What fascinates me is this question: where have all the beautiful, poetic words gone? Are people losing the brain capacity to connect their vision with their mouths? I am increasingly noticing how addled people get when they are asked to describe what they are seeing. They see it, take a picture of it, Tweet about it, Facebook, and Snapchat it. The vocal chords are bypassed.
It is evident that this is a pain point for me, and I expect it is for many blind people. I ask myself, what can I do to help myself? How can I teach people to create new brain pathways that will make describing easier and more natural? I think describing is an innate ability for some, but I also think it is a skill that can be learned.
I can imagine a workshop where people have to speak everything they are seeing. It could be an intensive training for people who live with and love blind people.
What do you think?