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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Hearing and Other Faculties

When people invite God in by the front door, it's a sure sign that they've already given logic and reason a sound boot out of their house by the back door.

Recently I was reminded of this principle by seeing on either IFC or on one of the Sundance channels a documentary called "Sound and Fury." This film explores the advisability of getting cochlear implants, especially in children, to give them some degree of hearing. Some of the parents, speaking from their longtime security in the non-hearing world, were adamantly against allowing their non-hearing children to enter the hearing world by means of the implants. And one woman thought to shut off all resistance to her argument by saying that, after all, her child's impairment was an "act of God."

We have to assume, however, don't we, that that same God gives the great majority of people the means to hear.

But this same woman had already ruined her credility by firmly stating that she didn't care about music, because she had never heard any.

I have long admired people who can communicate through signing. Fate placed me in positions throughout the first half of my life where I continually saw, on streetcars and buses in Washington, D.C., students from the Gallaudet School for the Deaf, talking with what seemed to be purely the movements of their hands, lips, and eyes. And in this film I could see the eloquence that even tiny children can impart by the myriad and extremely fast movements of their hands and facial features.

Still, I have to wonder why deafness isn't considered a life-threatening condition. What happens if a non-hearing person happens to be standing under a safe dropped from several floors up, and they can't hear the warnings of horrified onlookers? At least one thoroughly scary incident like that and probably others that I have managed to block out have happened in my life. Is such a crisis unheard of in the lives of everyone else?

Meanwhile going without music is probably a greater affliction than is going without sex.

Now that's an unpopular idea for you!

Yet ...of all the losses of the faculties that threaten a person in my stage of life, deafness is the one that I fear the least, probably because my hearing is the sense that has been abused the least and consequently it's the one that I feel will be the last to weaken. My date of birth had a lot to do with that. I happened to arrive long before it was considered cool to put one's eardrums in danger of being burst by super-revved-up amplifiers.

All other things being equal, I think that, instead of the ears, losing the use of one's feet and thus the means to get around on one's own is second in seriousness only to losing the use of our eyes.

We take our feet for granted, and not till something takes us off them, even for just a short while, do we really give them the enormous appreciation that they deserve.


Blogger andante said...

While I'd hate to lose the use of anything, I recently had eye surgery and pretty much lost the use of my eyes for several days. There's nothing like temporary loss to make you appreciate what you have.

But for the life of me - I can't understand a parent not wanting the best the world has to offer for their child.

5:21 PM  

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