Spatial Inference ~~ The Detective Skill of The Blind
From my blind friends’ description of the experience of taking transportation vehicles, I got some understanding about their situational spatiality.
When traveling to the destination, their habituated body recognizes the familiar settings to help them complete the journey.
One description is typical; I transcribed it as follows:
“If there was no one in the bus station I could seek help, I would use hearing perception to identify the engine sound of the bus I wanted to take on. (Because different companies had different buses with different engine sounds.)
After getting on the bus, I tried to remember the terrain the bus went through. I could get clues from the bus passing through special terrain such as passing a bridge. The engine noise of the bus became louder because of the climb, and I could also sense that the other side of the traffic flow was going downhill.”
These engine sounds and terrain fluctuations are easily overlooked by sighted people. My friends’ descriptions of multi-sensory experience trigger me to ponder. I think the sighted person also needs the diversified sensory stimulus to improve multi-intelligent performance.
Furthermore, for someone who want to help blind people, he/she should first understand the genuine needs of a blind person.
Some of my friends pointed out that when they asked for location inquiry from pedestrians, the answers they got sometimes puzzled them.
This is because most of the time the pedestrians would enthusiastically give the directions to the destination for the blind.
But what the blind people really want to know is the present location.
Blind people are different from sighted persons.
So, when a sighted person wants to help a blind person, he/she can’t use the thinking pattern of a sighted person.
The external and actual manifestation of empathy is to put yourself in others’ shoes for a different viewpoint which refers to putting oneself in the position of others and being able to understand or feel what others experience within its framework, and then to think about what you should to do.
What the blind people really need is that they want to know where is the present location of their positions, and then they can establish a mental map using the clues from other people’s instructions. If sighted people just give directions, the blind people will get confused.
Another point worth noting is that blind people face the same situation when they are situated a spacious area. They feel that a spacious, smooth space is dangerous for them. Such an environment lacks any clues for positioning. They cannot perceive such space due to the lack of any cross-reference system.
Originally published at http://poeticmindfulness.wordpress.com on February 28, 2021.