Archive for December, 2017

Stone Deaf?

Often when the world runs into a deaf person the first few questions are related to finding out if they are really deaf?  Initial questions tend to explore how do you communicate if you cannot hear and thus:  Can you lipread?  Is it hard being deaf?  Once those kinds of questions have been explored the next area is how deaf that person may be.  Thus begins an effort to label the experience of being deaf to the degree of loss that the deaf person may have and one of the potential misnomers is ‘stone deaf’.

It will be true, to some extent, that the deaf person has limited external access to sound. It may be helpful to equate the experience of not hearing as being stone deaf.  However, we are making the assumption that stone cannot ‘hear’ and is inanimate.  There are cultures and societies in the world that would strongly disagree with that assessment.

It is my opinion that regardless of how much external sound a person can access it is likely that all of us have access to a noisy inner life involving our consciousness.  Even in deep sleep, there are things going on internally that keep us consistently receiving stimulus of some sort via dreams and other internalized mental gymnastics. From this context, it would appear no one can make the claim they are stone deaf.

It may be possible in brief instances, in deeply religious followings or through meditation to gain a tenuous ability to detach from the self long enough to enter voids equivalent to being in total silence. Other than this all of us remain busy hearing ‘voices’ the entirety of our lives.

Perhaps when we meet others different from ourselves physically,, socially, and culturally, we might respond in a deeper way.  First,  by not comparing each other to what we can do.  It might work better to ask others what they feel, experience, see, and know, and how they respond to their lived experiences.  That may potentially offer a better way to understand each other through the experiences we have while living through those experiences.

Then, no one would be stone deaf.




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