The concepts “perspective“, “music“, “flavor“, “home” and “God” do not need to be explained for most of us as we see or experience them multiple times in our daily lives. It’s not rocket science, but how would you describe these concepts to someone that has never felt them or has no reference points that can guide them to understanding the concept. Look at these cases below and have some time to think before continuing to read:
- meeting a blind person since birth, and he asks you to describe what “perspective” is in “art”.
- coming accross someone born deaf, and you are asked to define “music“
- chatting with an anosmic person and she wants you to tell her all about “flavor“
- being abducted by nomad aliens, who do not have the notion of “home“. How would you persuade them to take you home?
- you are a preacher and you somehow time travel to the stone age and meet a bunch of cavemen… Tell them about “God” and preferrably convince them.
Perspective – About two decades ago, we teenagers did not have mobile phones. We were “social” but lacked “media”, so we frequently gathered face-to-face and had these brain teasers as challenges. The first one was “How to describe perspective to a person born blind”. The best way, we agreed upon was to use another sense other than seeing to describe it. As the most developed sense in blindness is “hearing“, we decided to use that to explain the concept.
The Method: Switch on the TV, pick a channel with a weak signal (preferrably one with white noise), volume up, guide the blind person towards the TV, ask them how loud they can hear, take a few steps and repeat the process, go to another room (a distant one) together and ask about the loudness of the sound again, tell them that the closer an object is, the bigger it seems… Just like the “white noise” of the TV set. The closer they are to the sound source, the bigger the object is…
Music – Explaining the concept of music to a deaf person is no different. But, here, we picked another sense (touch) to explain the concept since vision would not work.
The Method: Switch on a music set that is connected to huge amps, tell the deaf person to touch the amp with both hands, play a song with a repeating melody in high volume, sit back and relax as the vibrations will do the trick…
Flavor – Anosmic people cannot smell nor taste flavors, so this one is going to be tricky as this time it’s two senses that are useless. I think it’s best to use “touch” one more time.
The Method: Prepare a table of various food with different flavors, seat the anosmic person, tell them to close their eyes, feed them with one hand, touch them with the other hand in different ways (a gentle caress, patting the head softly, a back rub or a slight slap on the cheek) for each flavor and ask them how it feels. For sweet flavors, do the pleasent touches, for bitter or sour ones, do the not-so-pleasent strokes… For leek, punch them 🙂
The last two concepts; “Home” and “God” are challenges for you to tackle. Think about them for some time, then leave a comment on this post. I’ll reply every comment!
Thanks for reading…